A “Best Spiritual Book of the Year.”
Spirituality & Practice

AWARD WINNER
Religion Gone Astray: What We Found at the Heart of Interfaith

Probes deeply into the problem aspects of our religious institutions to provide a profound understanding of the nature of what divides us.

Pastor Don Mackenzie, Rabbi Ted Falcon and Imam Jamal Rahman

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6 x 9, 192 pp | 978-1-59473-317-8
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Welcome to the deeper dimensions of interfaith dialogue—exploring that which divides us personally, spiritually and institutionally.

“We believe that interfaith dialogue holds the key to a healing that calls us back to purpose and to meaning. We have risked confronting aspects of our traditions usually hidden, and the consequences have been deeply life-affirming. We risk becoming vulnerable as we share awkward and even unacceptable texts and interpretations, but it is this very vulnerability that allows our dialogue to move forward.”

from the Introduction

Expanding on the conversation started with their very successful first book, the Interfaith Amigos—a pastor, a rabbi and an imam—probe more deeply into the problem aspects of our religious institutions to provide a profound understanding of the nature of what divides us. They identify four common problem areas in the Abrahamic faiths:

  • Exclusivity: Staking Claim to a One and Only Truth
  • Violence: Justifying Brutality in the Name of Faith
  • Inequality of Men and Women: The Patriarchal Stranglehold on Power
  • Homophobia: A Denial of Legitimacy

They explore the origins of these issues and the ways critics use these beliefs as divisive weapons. And they present ways we can use these vulnerabilities to open doors for the collaboration required to address our common issues, more profound personal relationships, and true interfaith healing.

“Intriguing ... tangible … it can encourage much-needed healing for readers of all faith backgrounds.”

Publishers Weekly

“Exuberant and courageous … an inspiration and example for us all in these sadly polarized times. It is a reminder that it is possible to reach across the divisions and find not only common cause but hope and affection.”

Karen Armstrong, author, A History of God: The 4,000-Year-Old Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam
and many other best-selling books

“Remarkably readable, insightful and even entertaining.… Highly recommended for individuals and groups.”

Marcus J. Borg, best-selling author, The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith and other books

“Part of [the] divine call, helping us to live as neighbors in the blessedness of our shared world…. This is that rarest of books, one that teaches us both how to live and how to live with each other.”

Amir Hussain, professor of theological studies, Loyola Marymount University; editor,
Journal of the American Academy of Religion

“An urgently needed interreligious message for our turbulent age…. Candidly confronts the troubled past, while ultimately providing today’s Jews, Christians and Muslims with realistic hope for the future.”

Rabbi James Rudin, author, Christians and Jews: Faith to Faith—Tragic History, Promising Present, Fragile Future

“Reminds us that when we can lay down our doctrines and share [our] struggles with open minds and hearts, we will find rich relationships and common cause … and love of neighbor … which is the point, after all.”

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune, founder and senior analyst, FaithTrust Institute

“Brings hope-filled proof that interfaith affection and respect are possible in our divided world…. Challenges us to join in as they wrestle more of the hard questions separating God’s faithful into disparate camps.”

Phyllis Tickle, compiler, The Divine Hours

“Looking at the good, the bad, and the ugly in their respective traditions, these three men of faith will restore your faith in the human spirit. A courageous, open-hearted and immensely generous book.”

Lesley Hazleton, author, After the Prophet and Mary: A Flesh-and-Blood Biography

“Once again the three Interfaith Amigos give us an important contribution to interfaith understanding.”

Stuart M. Matlins, co-editor, How to Be a Perfect Stranger:
The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook
; publisher, Jewish Lights

Preface vii
INTRODUCTION
What We Found at the Heart of Interfaith 1
Our Experience as "The Other" 2
The Stages of Interfaith Dialogue 5
Core Teachings of the Abrahamic Traditions 7
So Who Are We? 9
The Beginning of Healing 10
Toward Greater Healing and Hope 11
Some Suggestions on How to Use This Book 11
We Are the Healing That Needs to Be 13
CHAPTER ONE
Exclusivity: Staking Claim to a One and Only Truth 15
Exclusivity in Judaism 15
Exclusivity in Christianity 25
Exclusivity in Islam 34
Concluding Comments 45
Sharing Our Stories 45
Questions for Discussion 48
Spiritual Practices 48
CHAPTER TWO
Violence: Justifying Brutality in the Name of Faith 51
Violence in Judaism 51
Violence in Christianity 59
Violence in Islam 66
Concluding Comments 76
Sharing Our Stories 76
Questions for Discussion 79
Spiritual Practices 79
CHAPTER THREE
Inequality of Men and Women:
The Patriarchal Stranglehold on Power 81
Inequality of Men and Women in Judaism 81
Inequality of Men and Women in Christianity 88
Inequality of Men and Women in Islam 95
Concluding Comments 107
Sharing Our Stories 107
Questions for Discussion 109
Spiritual Practices 109
CHAPTER FOUR
Homophobia: A Denial of Legitimacy 111
Homophobia in Judaism 112
Homophobia in Christianity 118
Homophobia in Islam 123
Concluding Comments 133
Sharing Our Stories 133
Questions for Discussion 136
Spiritual Practices 137
CHAPTER FIVE
Underneath It All: God and Revelation 139
Rabbi Ted's Reflections on God and Revelation 139
Pastor Donճ Reflections on God and Revelation 146
Imam Jamalճ Reflections on God and Revelation 151
Concluding Comments 158
CONCLUSION
Going Astray toward Greater Meaning 159
We Go Astray in Order to Grow 159
An Invitation to Personal and Institutional Evolution 161
What You Can Do Now 162
Acknowledgments 165
Notes 167
Suggestions for Further Reading 169

 

 

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