Read When Religion Becomes Evil by Charles Kimball Online


Top Religion Book of 2002--Publishers WeeklyThe Five Warning Signs of Corruption in Religion Absolute Truth Claims Blind Obedience Establishing the "Ideal" Time The End Justifies Any Means Declaring Holy War ...

Title : When Religion Becomes Evil
Author :
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ISBN : 9780060556105
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

When Religion Becomes Evil Reviews

  • Mikey B.
    2019-02-08 16:07

    A very forthright account of the dangers of religion to the human condition. There are many fine examples by this person of faith (he is a Baptist minister) that illustrate how religion can corrode its members and the society around them. The points are so good that if you are a person of no faith you likely will remain that way. The author is convinced (as most of us are) that since 9/11 we must pay closer attention to what is happening in our religious communities. Unlike the author I am not convinced that religion can extricate humanity from the many problems it has within itself. I feel religion creates boundaries between people. To paraphrase from a book of Thomas Friedman (‘Longitudes and Attitudes’) - ‘I want to be tolerant, but do you’. I do not get a feeling of toleration when I am standing beside a Mennonite with a Jesus logo or a Muslim woman wearing a hajib. – I get a strong feeling of ‘religious advertising’. The author is certainly not one for boundaries or walls – he wants an exchange of thoughts and ideas between all religions which is certainly a noble concept, but perhaps idealistic? Some concepts of religions create boundaries. All religions have a Heaven (Nirvana) and the opposing dichotomy of Hell. This becomes a selective process as to which individuals will enjoy one or the other environment. It is divisive. Also in the last 200-300 years society has had many scientific and social advances despite the resistance of religious institutions. Science and technology have enabled us to explore and travel the earth. Modern democratic countries have allowed and now encourage women to have a much more prominent role in society. But in organized religion, women have been denied any leadership role (except in a few Protestant sects). If religion wants to be considered just and fair it must overcome this grievous shortcoming. The author continually refers to ‘sacred texts’ – some of which have been used to justify abominable acts – like suicide and murder. Why are these texts considered sacred if they advocate abominations; or conversely; why is a text advocating an evil act considered sacred? I am glad that Mr. Kimball is for the secularization of government – he states repeatedly that theocratic government is a dangerous concept. In the U.S. there has been increasing infringement of religious groups in government. In the last two Presidential election campaigns candidates were repeatedly questioned on their religious beliefs (whether they believed the Bible). I vividly remember Hilary Clinton telling a CNN audience what she prayed for. If only all religious folk could be like Charles Kimball (or Jimmy Carter for that matter) religion would be far more tolerable. Mr. Kimball is most enlightened and searches for the good in all things – he is a pluralist.

  • Beth
    2019-01-30 14:08

    Clear simple explanations of what entails fanaticism. Being able to discuss this kind of thing, I feel is important to combating terrorism. Oddly I think these are things you should discuss with children between eight and ten years of age, as they grow into being teenagers they are too susceptible to lunatics. Having the knowledge that separates belief from fanaticism before they get to that age I feel is crucial to reducing fanaticism and terrorism.

  • Maureen
    2019-02-18 13:27

    Charles Kimball is an ordained Baptist preacher with a kaleidoscopic world view. He has the experience, through his work with the World Council of Churches, to speak authoritatively on this subject. He addresses home-grown errant religious groups, as well as international ones. This book is an easy read on a fascinating topic. Besides having a really great title, it is sure to generate discussion among those who read it.

  • Yuvi S Sandhu
    2019-02-07 14:10

    It changed my current perception of religion. For that I am grateful.

  • Jacklyn Trexler
    2019-02-17 11:25

    I have to say, I’m a pretty skeptical person, especially when it comes to religion, so when I began reading Kimball’s book and was informed of his extensive background and close ties to his Baptist Christian faith, I became apprehensive. However, as I continued reading, it became clear to me how Kimball’s history and experience with religion helped him reach the conclusions he comes to in When Religion Becomes Evil and his experience allows him to speak with authority of all the topics he brings up. Kimball explains that religions all have the capabilities of becoming evil, and there are warning signs that can be identified in advance of these evil acts. These warning signs include absolute truth claims, blind obedience, establishing the “ideal” time for the practitioners, the end justifying any means, and declaring holy war. Kimball also stresses the fact that all religions support the same ultimate concept, peace, but sometimes this gets clouded by other goals that take over the religion’s purpose, thus triggering evil. This book does not target any specific religion, but applies to all faiths as a general concept while using a variety of examples. It’s a book for any curious reader who’s willing to have an open mind about these general religious patterns. I appreciated how Kimball did not make the topic of religion a personal topic, letting his own views or criticisms of other religions creep in, but kept the discussion at a scholarly place. At the same time, however, some of my favorite moments were his personal encounters with religious leaders or scholars, and his memories of learning about religion in college and how he uses this to teach religious studies. The mix of distanced observation and personal experiences provide for an entertaining, yet informational and analytical reading experience. Personally, I found this book to be a wonderful use of my time. Anyone who finds themselves even marginally interested in religious studies or sociology should definitely look into it, for Kimball provides a unique perspective into this complex and highly volatile issue.

  • Cameron
    2019-01-27 14:01

    I remember this author coming to my college to give a lecture not long after 9/11. It is not only an intelligent but earnest discourse but he is a professor and also an ordained Baptist minister and has traveled widely; so, he is speaking from education as well as experience. In this book he writes about the three desert/Abrahamic/monotheistic religions as being essentially of the same tradition and the potential for interfaith dialogue. He outlines their history and also talks about how the fundamentalism and terrorism that may occur in each one and also other religions such as Hinduism, though that does not negate or mitigate the necessity of scrutinizing and critiquing any one particular faith. In fact, this viewpoint offers hope for reform and progress in a modern context.My only point of contention is that these types of issues occur more frequently with religions that are organized (tax-exempt) and seek political power; the 3 Abrahamic faiths do not stand for all 'religion' in terms of becoming corrupt, and while dogma is distinctly an authoritative doctrine held by a religious OR political group as 'absolute truth,' religion does not always equal dogma. And here is the error: the desire for interfaith dialogue at the same time excludes dialogue with people who do not subscribe to the Abrahamic faith.With this and a more spiritual viewpoint in mind, I suggest reading Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth.

  • Bethany
    2019-02-18 10:11

    This was a fresh breath of air when it comes to critical thinking concerning religion.Rarely do I read a critical analysis on the affect of religion on society that respects each religion that is put under the microscope (including the author's own) while not pulling any punches on the disasters of "absolute truth" claims, cultish authoritative figures and the oppressive mix of politics and religion.The only criticism I have is that the author promoted religious pluralism, which I personally agree with, but is blasphemous in most religions. I would like to know more about peaceful co-existence among religious groups without altering anyone's belief system. (Is that even possible?)

  • Kevin Swanson
    2019-01-21 11:22

    I was skeptical of reading this book. I figured it would just be another one of those religious nonfiction texts that my mom is always reading. I wasnt pleasantly surprised to find that this is not the case. Kimball is a very fair and objective narrator with a wealth of knowledge of world religions. The book does an excellent job highlighting what Kimball sees as the root cause of evil deeds committed in the name of religion. He also keeps the book from becoming to drenched in religious terminology that might alienate someone without a strong back ground in the field. Overall I thought this was a good read.

  • Pam Anderson
    2019-01-24 11:04

    Wonderful observations by a minister, trained in the Southern Baptist tradition, about the dangers in absolute theology in religion. Having served in the religious studies of many universities he is intimately knowledgeable & specializes in Islamic studies. He examines the role of religion in the world and when it defects from its original purpose. While he claims that religion is basically necessary and positive, he ascribes several warning signs for when religions can become dangerous.

  • Angie Lisle
    2019-02-11 10:29

    I love the message of this book - acceptance, tolerance, and intelligence are the solutions to preventing evil being done for the sake of religion. And I love that this message is being taught by a Christian minister who is encouraging people to THINK about what they believe and why. That being said, this is geared for the general public; those with backgrounds in religion/history are probably already aware of these issues.

  • Carolyn
    2019-02-13 17:13

    I really like the book and would recommend anyone to read it. The author is very fair in dealing with all religions and I don't think his take was skewed unfairly to any one side. It really helped me think about issues such as war, religion, and how to reconcile with those of other religions. I really agree with how he presents his arguments and it helped me to reconcile some questions of faith. Great book!

  • kashiichan
    2019-02-09 12:10

    Despite the dramatic book title, this is a rather even-handed treatment of religion. Both the good and the bad are covered; the Crusades, September 11, the evolution of 'jihad', going to war for peace, and many other issues are examined. The author's points are made via interesting anecdotes, references to and quotations of multiple holy texts and references to more scientific sources. Definitely worth reading.

  • Joshua Duffy
    2019-02-11 10:18

    There was some good stuff in this book, and I love where Kimball is trying to go regarding the subject of multi-faith peace, but I think it was written a little softly. Kimball, an ordained Baptist minister, seemed to go out of his way for the sake of accommodation. Something I don't think is needed even when writing about such a sensitive subject.

  • Fatih
    2019-02-03 14:09

    Kimbal memaparkan pandangannya yang luas dan menelaah berbagai masalah yang dihadapi berbagai agama di dunia berdasarkan pengalamannya yang sangat banyak dalam mempelajari masyarakat beragama di berbagai tempat, khususnya timur tengah.Wajib untuk dibaca bagi yang ingin mengerti lebih dalam kenapa agama kadang, bahkan sering, menimbulkan bencana bukannya perdamaian.

  • Evan Dolive
    2019-02-03 16:03

    Kimball's analysis speaks to the heart of the issues across all religions when it comes to the manipulation of them. Great book, sometimes too academic. I didn't agree with all assumptions mades but over a fascinating book.

  • Lorian Bruce
    2019-01-24 15:19

    if only humankind would stop trying to convert others to their particular faith. There is no absolute proof any one faith is the correct for all humanity. So many deaths of innocents, so many wars. The ends do not justify the means

  • Stephen Morris
    2019-01-25 10:18

    A breath of fresh air! Charles Kimball maybe one of the greatest Christian thinkers of our age. His wealth of knowledge and understanding shine light onto a rather prickly subject. Come into this book knowing that you may be wrong.

  • Suzan Rebekah
    2019-02-09 11:05

    Had Dr. Kimball for a seminar. Loved his book.

  • Jack Coleman
    2019-01-28 17:26

    The warning signs about when your religious group is going whako.See Sam Harris the end of Faith.

  • Marissa
    2019-02-19 15:16

    I was disappointed with this book. I wanted it to be better and more understandable. I felt like there were a lot of words to make points I usually could not find.

  • Kevin
    2019-02-19 10:26

    You need to read this book!

  • Indah Threez Lestari
    2019-01-21 11:18

    264 - 2015

  • steven
    2019-02-09 13:07

    A good how-to guide.

  • JC
    2019-02-07 17:13

    Uncompromising understanding of world issues through the eyes of religion. A must read to understand the disasters that can come from pitting one faith against another.

  • Vania Melamed
    2019-02-18 10:12

    A good starter but not enough information. Articulate, but not enough evidence to support the author's examples. May be good for high school research. Wouldn't use it for Debate Team or Theology.

  • Jacob Greenmyer
    2019-01-20 13:01

    Neo liberal view of relativist ridden religion.Some worthwhile points I guess. Certainly some interesting and eye opening anecdotes

  • Tom Carrico
    2019-01-27 17:22

  • Thom Riddle
    2019-01-29 16:12

    Finished it in a night, only 240 pages, really interesting read on the danger of religion to the human condition.

  • Jade
    2019-02-18 16:19


  • John Harvey
    2019-02-09 17:18

    This is a good review of why Christianity must cooperate with other religions to promote world peace. It shows what Christianity has in common with Judaism and Islam.