The Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs
Fundamentalism and the Fear of Truth
By (author) Solomon Schimmel
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Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs by Solomon Schimmel
Book DescriptionModern scholarship in several disciplines makes it clear that the Bible and the Quran were authored by humans, not least because of their internal inconsistencies. Nevertheless, fundamentalists - some of them highly educated professionals - persist in believing in the divine authorship of their sacred scriptures. In this book, Solomon Schimmel seeks to understand why these people insist on such beliefs and how they defend them in the face of evidence to the contrary. Because his expertise is in Judaism, he focuses on the example of orthodox Jews, but he also attends to the cases of Christian and Muslim fundamentalists. Schimmel begins with an autobiographical narrative describing his own journey from acceptance of the beliefs of orthodox Judaism, especially the divine revelation of the Pentateuch to Moses, to religious doubt and eventual rejection of this and other core beliefs of orthodoxy. He reviews how pre-modern Jewish, Christian, and Muslim thinkers responded to challenges to the divine origin of their respective scriptures. He goes on to explore the motives underlying the attempts of believers to retain their beliefs and related practices when they are challenged. He identifies a range of psychological strategies used to protect vulnerable beliefs from challenges based on reason, experience, and scholarship. Examples are provided not only from the three monotheisms, but from other ideologies, such as communism. He goes on to offer concrete contemporary examples of orthodox Jews employing these strategies to protect their belief in the divine revelation of the Pentateuch. These examples are gleaned from Internet discussion groups and personal correspondence. He concludes with a discussion of what he sees as the grave and sometimes dangerous moral and ethical consequences of scriptural fundamentalism as well as the undesirable intellectual effects of maintaining such beliefs.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780195188264
(240mm x 163mm x 25mm)
Imprint: Oxford University Press Inc
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Publish Date: 1-Dec-2007
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Solomon Schimmel
Wounds Not Healed by Time, Paperback (October 2004)
How should we respond to injuries done to us and to the hurts that we inflict on others? This book guides us through the meanings of justice, forgiveness, repentance, and reconciliation. It probes to the core of the human encounter with evil, drawing on religious traditions, psychology, and the experiences of both perpetrators and of victims.
Seven Deadly Sins, Paperback (December 1997)» View all books by Solomon Schimmel
Draws on the psychological insights provided by the Hebrew Bible, the Gospels, Aristotle, Maimonides, Aquinas and others to show what we can learn from their teachings about the relationship between virtue and psychological well-being and vice and emotional distress.
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Author Biography - Solomon Schimmel
Solomon Schimmel is Professor of Jewish Education and Psychology at Hebrew College. He is the author of The Seven Deadly Sins: Jewish, Christian, and Classical Reflections on Human Psychology and Wounds Not Healed by Time: The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness.
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