When Religion Becomes Lethal: The Explosive Mix of Politics and Religion in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

When Religion Becomes Lethal: The Explosive Mix of Politics and Religion in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

When Religion Becomes Lethal: The Explosive Mix of Politics and Religion in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

When Religion Becomes Lethal: The Explosive Mix of Politics and Religion in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Synopsis

A compelling look at today's complex relationship between religion and politics

In his second book, bestselling author Charles Kimball addresses the urgent global problem of the interplay between fundamentalist Abrahamic religions and politics and moves beyond warning signs (the subject of his first book) to the dangerous and lethal outcomes that their interaction can produce. Drawing on his extensive personal and professional knowledge of, experience with and access to all three traditions, Kimball's explanation of the multiple ways religion and politics interconnect within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam will illuminate the problems and give readers a hopeful vision for how to chart a safer course into a precarious future. Kimball is the author of "When Religion Becomes Evil," one of the most acclaimed post 9/11 books on terrorism and religion Reveals why religion so often leads to deadly results The author has scholarly knowledge and expertise and extensive personal experience with the peoples, cultures, and leaders involved

Readable and engaging, this book gives a clear picture of today's complex political and religious reality and offers hope for the future."

Excerpt

Sitting less than five feet from the Ayatollah Khomeini in his modest home in Qom on Christmas Day of 1979, I was riveted not only by his words but also by his facial expression. In contrast to the fiery, defiant media images of the Ayatollah, his demeanor was warm and welcoming, his words softly spoken, his eyes alert and engaging. I found him both grandfatherly and charismatic. On that memorable Christmas Day in Iran, we talked about Jesus, the Iranian revolution, the U.S. hostages, and Christian-Muslim relations. On the many times after that when I saw Khomeini in person and live on television, my initial impressions were confirmed. Both inside and outside Iran, this intriguing, enigmatic man in clerical garb was fast emerging as an extraordinarily influential religious/political leader during the final quarter of the 20th century. I was not at all surprised when Time magazine named the Ayatollah Khomeini “Man of the Year” for 1979.

How had I, an American baby boomer from a middle-class family in Tulsa, Oklahoma, come to be here in Iran, in the very center of international media attention, spending Christmas with the Ayatollah Khomeini? Although I could not have predicted this scenario, it was far from accidental. A long-standing interest in and engagement with the interplay between religion and politics combined with a decade studying Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—in college, seminary, at Harvard, and in Cairo— had led to this pivotal moment.

Seven weeks earlier, on November 4, 66 hostages had been seized when student militants stormed the U.S. embassy compound in Tehran.

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