The problem and the solution

not-in-gods-name_coverNot In God’s Name; Confronting Religious Violence

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Schocken Books, New York   (2015)

Reviewed by Rob Roi

Rabbi Sacks is one of the most admired and authoritative religious leaders of our time. 

He tackles the phenomenon of religious extremism and violence committed in the name of God. If religion is perceived as being part of the problem, Jonathan argues, then it must also form part of the solution. He claims that religions seek peace, but on their own terms. This is not a recipe for peace but for war.

Progressive faiths constantly reinterpret their canonical texts. Jonathan believes that text without interpretation is what makes fundamentalism and is an act of violence against tradition. 

The sacred texts of Christianity, Judaism and Islam all contain passages that, if read literally, lead to violence and hate.

Jonathan completes his book by writing, “Today God is calling us, Jew, Christian and Muslim, to let go of hate and the preaching of hate, and live at last as brothers and sisters, true to our faith and a blessing to others regardless of their faith, honouring God’s name by honouring his image, humankind.”

The Reverend Rob Roi recently retired as parish deacon at St. James’ Dundas.