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Synopsis

Questions about religions and religious institutions have changed dramatically since they first arose many years ago. In the beginning of the twenty-first century, the link of religion with extreme ideologies captures our attention. Such questions have been the focus of a steadily growing number of books. What does Assertive Religion add to the debate? Emanuel de Kadt discusses the relationship of religion to wider social issues such as human rights and multiculturalism. He traces the growth, during the religious revival over the past decades, of assertive, and even coercive, forms of religion, notably—but not exclusively—fundamentalist varieties. He deals with these questions as they relate to the three major Abrahamic religions, thereby addressing a readership wider than that made up of persons interested exclusively in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. The author takes on issues such as the effects of the "Jewishness" of Israel on the rights of Palestinians; the consequences of the centralized authority structure of the Roman Catholic Church; and the implications of the failure of reform-oriented Muslims to make their voices heard in an organized Islamic reform movement. He is even-handed, focusing on both positive and negative features of each religious perspective, though he does have a clear viewpoint. Assertive Religion adds to increasingly sharp political discussions on issues arising out of religion. It is a must read for anyone interested in how religion is shaping the world of tomorrow.

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