By Susan Jacoby
In a groundbreaking old paintings that addresses spiritual conversion within the West from an uncompromisingly secular viewpoint, Susan Jacoby demanding situations the traditional narrative of conversion as a in simple terms religious trip. From the transformation at the street to Damascus of the Jew Saul into the Christian evangelist Paul to a twenty-first-century “religious marketplace” within which half americans have replaced faiths at least one time, not anything has been extra very important within the fight for cause than the ideal to think within the God of one’s selection or to reject trust in God altogether.
concentrating on the lengthy, demanding convergence of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—each claiming ownership of absolute truth—Jacoby examines conversions inside of a social and fiscal framework that comes with theocratic coercion (unto torture and loss of life) and the extra pleasant persuasion of political virtue, financial opportunism, and interreligious marriage. relocating via time, continents, and cultures—the triumph of Christianity over paganism in past due antiquity, the Spanish Inquisition, John Calvin’s dour theocracy, Southern plantations the place African slaves needed to settle for their masters’ religion—the narrative is punctuated by means of photos of person converts embodying the sacred and profane. the solid comprises Augustine of Hippo; John Donne; the German Jew Edith Stein, whose conversion to Catholicism didn't keep her from Auschwitz; boxing champion Muhammad Ali; and previous President George W. Bush. the tale additionally encompasses conversions to inflexible secular ideologies, significantly Stalinist Communism, with their very own fact claims.
eventually, Jacoby bargains a robust case for non secular selection as a made of the secular Enlightenment. In a forthright and unsettling end linking the current with the main violent elements of the West’s spiritual earlier, she reminds us that during the absence of Enlightenment values, radical Islamists are persecuting Christians, many different Muslims, and atheists in ways in which bear in mind the worst of the center Ages.
(With eight pages of black-and-white illustrations.)
From the Hardcover edition.
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Additional info for Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion
The convening of religious associations—such as mähebar and sewä sanbat—were also strong elements supporting community recovery. These were marked by regular social gatherings, mutual obligation, prayer and resource-sharing. These responses bear remarkable parallels with some widely-accepted, technical MHPSS processes, such as the negotiation of a shared narrative framework of meaning and the development of social structures for mutual support. Humanitarian workers clearly need to be aware of, and find means of engaging with, such processes.
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Org/en/ who-we-are/vision-and-mission/the-seven-fundamental-principles/ neutrality/ [Accessed: 30 March 2015]. 14 VER BEEK, K. A. (2000) Spirituality: A Development Taboo. Development in Practice, 10 (1), pp. 31–43. 15 TYNDALE, W. ) (2006) Visions of Development: Faith-based Initiatives. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing. 16 PARRIS, M. (2008) As an atheist I truly believe Africa needs God. The Times, 27 December, p. 17. 17 KARAM, A. (2012) Religion, Development and the United Nations. New York: SSRC.
Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion by Susan Jacoby