Promise And Peril Delivers Current analyses of the major religious conflicts in the world, including eye-opening assessments by leading academics and journalists of hot-button issues such as fundamentalism, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and the hostility between Pakistan and India. This essential volume also turns its attention to religious threats such as the new Japanese religion Aum Shinrikyo, which in 1995 unleashed the nerve gas sarin in a crowded Tokyo subway. In her essay, Karen Armstrong offers a clear understanding of what fundamentalism is and what it is not. She contends that while fundamentalism is rarely violent, the survivalist mentality of many fundamentalists can push them to become militant. She gives a stunning account of the circumstances that changed Sayyid Qutb, mentor to Osama Bin Laden and most other Sunni fundamentalists, from moderate liberal to violent militant. Marc Gopin demonstrates how promoting respect for Jewish and Muslim religious symbols and rituals can promote peace between Israel and Palestine. He includes fascinating excerpts from his lengthy conversation with Yassir Arafat on this topic. Other essays in the collection address topics such as nuclearization in South Asia, moral paradoxes in Hinduism, and the pros and cons of state-religion partnership. Contributors to this volume focus on the ambiguity of religion as both promise and peril. They ask tough questions, such as: how do we prevent fundamentalism from turning violent? How do we draw upon what is compassionate and good in religious belief to promote lasting peace in places such as the Middle East and Northern Ireland? While each author has a different answer to these questions, all hold out hope that by combating ignorance with dialogue and understanding, religion may recognize its promise and diminish its peril.
Part I: Religion and Politics; What is Fundamentalism? Karen Armstrong; Jewish Islamic Negotiations in Israel and Palestine: A Participant Observer's Critical Analysis; Marc Gopin; Nuclearization in the South Asian Region: Interactions between Pakistan and India; Gerald James Larson; State-Religion Partnership: Boon or Curse? Bhiku Parekh; Part II: Religion in Itself; Awe as Promise and Peril: The Entheogenic Evidence; Huston Smith; Killing for Salvation: Aum Shinrikyo and the Perils of Religion; Ian Reader; Moral Paradoxes in Hinduism; Wendy Doniger