Putting God Second: How to Save Religion from Itself

Author: Donniel Hartman
Publisher: Beacon Press
Category: Religious Books, Comparative Religion, Religious Intolerance, Persecution & Conflict, Jewish Books, Jewish Studies
Book Format: Paperback

Why have the monotheistic religions failed to produce societies that live up to their ethical ideals? A prominent rabbi answers this question by looking at his own faith and offering a way for religion to heal itself.



In Putting God Second, Rabbi Donniel Hartman tackles one of modern life's most urgent and vexing questions: Why are the great monotheistic faiths-Judaism, Christianity, and Islam-chronically unable to fulfill their own self-professed goal of creating individuals infused with moral sensitivity and societies governed by the highest ethical standards?



To answer this question, Hartman takes a sober look at the moral peaks and valleys of his own tradition, Judaism, and diagnoses it with clarity, creativity, and erudition. He rejects both the sweeping denouncements of those who view religion as an inherent impediment to moral progress and the apologetics of fundamentalists who proclaim religion's moral perfection against all evidence to the contrary.



Hartman identifies the primary source of religion's moral failure in what he terms its autoimmune disease, or the way religions so often undermine their own deepest values. While God obligates the good and calls us into its service, Hartman argues, God simultaneously and inadvertently makes us morally blind. The nature of this self-defeating condition is that the human religious desire to live in relationship with God often distracts religious believers from their traditions' core moral truths.



The answer Hartman offers is this: put God second. In order to fulfill religion's true vision for humanity-an uncompromising focus on the ethical treatment of others-religious believers must hold their traditions accountable to the highest independent moral standards. Decency toward one's neighbor must always take precedence over acts of religious devotion, and ethical piety must trump ritual piety. For as long as devotion to God comes first, responsibility to other people will trail far, far behind.



In this book, Judaism serves as a template for how the challenge might be addressed by those of other faiths, whose sacred scriptures similarly evoke both the sublime heights of human aspiration and the depths of narcissistic moral blindness. In Putting God Second, Rabbi Hartman offers a lucid analysis of religion's flaws, as well as a compelling resource, and vision, for its repair.

Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman is president of the Shalom Hartman Institute and the author of The Boundaries of Judaism, coeditor of Judaism and the Challenges of Modern Life, and coauthor of Spheres of Jewish Identity. He is the founder of some of the most extensive education, training, and enrichment programs for scholars, educators, rabbis, and religious and lay leaders in Israel and North America, and is a prominent essayist, blogger, and lecturer on issues of Israeli politics and policy, Judaism, and the Jewish community.

Table Of Contents
Acknowledgments
INTRODUCTION

Religion’s Autoimmune Disease
CHAPTER ONE

You Are Your Brother’s Keeper:

The Religious Ethic of Nonindifference
CHAPTER TWO

God Intoxication and God Manipulation
CHAPTER THREE

Recovering from God Intoxication
CHAPTER FOUR

Immunizing Against God Manipulation
CHAPTER FIVE

When Scripture Is the Problem
CHAPTER SIX

Do I Have to Believe in God to Be

a Good Jew?
CONCLUSION

Putting God First by Putting God Second
References
Index
About Donniel Hartman
Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman is president of the Shalom Hartman Institute and the author of The Boundaries of Judaism, coeditor of Judaism and the Challenges of Modern Life, and coauthor of Spheres of Jewish Identity. He is the founder of some of the most extensive education, training, and enrichment programs for scholars, educators, rabbis, and religious and lay leaders in Israel and North America, and is a prominent essayist, blogger, and lecturer on issues of Israeli politics and policy, Judaism, and the Jewish community.

(BK-9780807053928)

SKU BK-9780807053928
Barcode # 9780807053928
Brand Beacon Press
Artist / Author Donniel Hartman
Shipping Weight 0.2900kg
Shipping Width 0.142m
Shipping Height 0.023m
Shipping Length 0.218m

Be The First To Review This Product!

Help other Augoods users shop smarter by writing reviews for products you have purchased.

Write a product review

More From This Category