Title: Not In God’s Name: Making Sense of Religious Conflict
Author: Paula Fouce
Publisher: Paradise Filmworks International
ISBN: 978-0692435649
Pages: 258
Genre: Religion/Spirituality

Reviewed by: Lisa Brown-Gilbert, Pacific Book Review

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Pacific Book Review

Religious intolerance and violence, we see terrifying examples of it every day on the news, but why? Why are there atrocities committed in the name of God? How can people who are trying to get closer to God be so crude and violent towards one another? Will compassion ever rule and there ever be an end to the brutality?

In her new book Not In God’s Name, acclaimed author and filmmaker Paula Fouce, thoughtfully explores the delicate conundrum that is religious hatred and violence. This book is the complementary companion to her 2010 award winning documentary film Not In God’s Name: In Search of Tolerance with the Dalai Lama.

Not In God’s Name is a thoroughly compelling work based on author Fouce’s personal journey towards spiritual enlightenment as she searches for answers to the paradox of religious hatred and violence. She takes readers on a gritty guided journey through time, history and faiths as she explores multiple mainstream religions, talks with their spiritual leaders, and analyzes the direly zealous actions of religious extremists.

Well written and grounded in its approach to such a sensitive subject, readers will immediately be drawn into the complex world that is religious intolerance. The completely disheartening first-hand accounts of the acts of violence and depravity are haunting and frightening to say the least. However, this is not a completely despondent read as author Paula Fouce has done an excellent job of establishing an enlightening balance as she brings into perspective some hope with her contemplative and illuminating discourses with religious leaders, such as: Mother Teresa, and The Dalai Lama, as well many other teachers, political figures and lay people.

Also, Author Fouce does not address the issue of religious violence and intolerance with fomenting finger pointing instead she looks to demystify the subject by looking at the reasons for the basis of religious violence such as defense of the faith, political machinations, ignorance or embittering conflicts of religious dogma found in religions. While to some, none of these reasons are justification for religious based violence at least, they provide a basic understanding of the catalysts and indicate where change is needed most when it comes to religious tolerance.

I truly enjoyed “Not In God’s Name,” it was a revealing and humbling read that aptly approached the troubling subject of violent religious intolerance. What I found truly engaging about this book is that it addresses and analyzes centuries of religious strife from multiple viewpoints. Also, the book speaks of hope, hope for the future tolerant coexistence of all people and religious creeds, hope for compassion, and hope for love in a world that seems like it is going to hell in a hand basket. I recommend this book for any readers interested in the subject, it is eye opening.

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