Book Review

Not in God’s Name

The wise former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks starts this book with the stark sentence, “When Religion turns men to murderers, God weeps”.   He goes on to highlight that despite predictions of continuing secularisation the twenty-first century has witnessed a surge of religious extremism and violence in the name of God.

In this powerful book, Jonathan Sacks explores the roots of violence and its relationship to religion, focusing on the historic tensions between the three Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Drawing on arguments from evolutionary psychology, game theory, history, philosophy, ethics and theology, Sacks shows how a tendency to violence can subvert even the most compassionate of religions.   Through a close reading of the biblical texts at the heart of the Abrahamic faiths, Sacks then challenges those who claim that religion is intrinsically a cause of violence, and argues that theology must become part of the solution if it is not to remain at the heart of the problem.

Sacks believes that for the sake of humanity and the free world, the time has come for people of all faiths and none to stand together and declare:  Not in God’s Name.

In this eye and heart opening book Jonathan Sacks will encourage us as Christians to take part in debate and peace making both near and far, with compassion, wisdom and holy fear.   It is well written, full of interest and challenge to individuals, the church at large, and society.

John Carey