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Readings: Charles Kimball, When Religion Becomes Lethal: The Explosive Mix of Politics and Religion in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Jossey-Bass: San Francisco) 2011.

Write a book review that will be a minimum of 1000 words, and address the following: (i) a synopsis of no more than 500 words, (ii) critical reflection and an analysis of its strengths and weaknesses, and (iii) what it contributes to the reader's knowledge/experience of Judaism, Christianity, and/or Islam.

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Book Review

The book by Charles Kimball is an insightful, honest and deep attempt to analyze the complex relationship between religion and politics in the three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The main goal of the book is to expose and explain how and why religion and politics are intertwined. According to the author, it was necessary to go far beyond what he defined as “popular Western views” (26) and “misleading popular perceptions” (27). Then, based on a broad historical analysis, Kimball offered pieces of practical advice with the hope to help “overcome religious illiteracy” and find more common ground among the adherents of the three religious traditions.

In the first chapter, Kimball posed his argument by stating that religion has long been a powerful actor in human society, often capable of pushing its adherents to resort to violence. He expressed his firm support for inclusive pluralism (51) and pointed out that diversity accompanied all three Abrahamic faiths throughout history, a fact often overlooked and ignored by modern fundamentalists from all religions alike, whom Kimball defined as ahistorical (52)....
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