To demonstrate that religion might “still be the most reliable vehicle available to the human race in addressing some of the most difficult issues,” Saeed illuminates connections between the teaching of varied religious traditions, presenting faith as something that binds humanity beyond material concerns and encourages, across traditions and continents, “connectedness of mutual respect, of commonality.” Anecdotes of people of faith moving mountains in the collective interest are affecting and persuasive, as is Saeed’s drawing of a sharp distinction between personal religious belief and religious institutions, which, like all human institutions, are corruptible.
The range of faiths and thinkers Saeed draws upon is broad—the Upanishads, Hobbes, Bertrand Russell, Zen masters, neuropsychologists, apocryphal scriptures. His prose, though, is as direct and inviting as his conclusions, which prize humanity’s capacity for “extraordinarily positive decisions and actions” over our capacity for selfish divisiveness. Heartening but clear-eyed about the state of the world, Radical Revolution of Values calls for the best kind of revolution.
Takeaway: This sweeping survey of religions finds promise for humanity in understanding faith and each other.
Great for fans of: Will Deming’s Rethinking Religion: A Concise Introduction, Karen Armstrong’s The Great Transformation.
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