The Battle for God: Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam book by Karen Armstrong, is one of the most attractive, readable, and concise books on the emergence of fundamentalism in the three faiths. This book focuses on the history and the emergence of fundamentalism in Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. In her approach, Karen starts with how Judaism was developed and connects it with the emergence of fundamentalism in Christianity, coupled with how Islam embraced the modern fundamentalism movement. This paper will give a summary report of the book The Battle for God: Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Moreover, the paper will present a detailed personal reaction of the book with respect to fundamentalism in religion.
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- In the late twentieth century, fundamentalism continued to be one of the most influential forces in the workplace worldwide. In fact, fundamentalism seems to dominate modern secular lifestyles, thus endangering human peace and harmonious living globally. Furthermore, it remains unshakable, and many cannot comprehend its nature, coupled with how it works. In the book, Armstrong clearly shows how and why fundamentalist classes of people exist and exactly what their target in the world.
- During the 16th Century era, Western people started to create and initiate new civilizations and different lifestyles. Ultimately, this civilization brought unpleasant, painful, and sometimes violent changes. The author argues that one of the aspects of life that greatly changed was the way of worship and religion. It was evident that people started to see religion from a different perspective, which made them develop new forms of faiths to fit in their newly adopted ways of life. Armstrong goes ahead to characterize fundamentalism as one of the evidence that the common traditions of worship adopted. Moreover, Armstrong focuses on how fundamentalism affected the movements of Protestant fundamentalism in the United States, the Jewish fundamentalism in Israel, and the Muslim Foundation in Egypt and Iran and the modern way of worship (religion).
- Armstrong classifies fundamentalist groups as innovative, complex, and modern as opposed to the earlier days before fundamentalism emerged. However, the author argues that the changes that fundamentalism posed to religion failed in the religious context. Armstrong maintains that fundamentalism only exists in symbiotic relationships with the flexibility to change to bring out better results. Moreover, Armstrong suggests that compassion for each other can help solve the intensified conflict that exists in religions discrepancies.
- Armstrong’s main case centers on Judaism, Christianity, and Islamic religions. Thereafter, Armstrong explores the confusion of logos and mythos, whereby she uses the technical approach by Johannes Slok. According to Armstrong, myth underscores what is regarded as timeless and frequent in life. Moreover, she adds that myth is not focused on the practical context, but the heavy meaning it brings out.
- However, in contrast, Armstrong argues that logos are the rational scientifically initiated thoughts that make men and women operate normally in life. For instance, in religion, logos occur in legal operations with practice. In fact, in the 18th Century, people in the US and Europe started to refer to logos as the way to truth, while myth was allegedly governed by false assumptions and superstitions. Armstrong argues that fundamentalists have changed their minds and turned myths into logos through a personal mindset in modern scientific lifestyles.
- The chapter, The Old World and New, clearly distinguishes the continuation of the Islamic, Christianity, and Judaism faiths in the year that the United States was discovered, viz. 1492. Moreover, Armstrong argues that the1870 Franco- Prussian War portrayed the dangerous effects of the modern weapons that made people realize science was dominating people’s lifestyles. This aspect marked the period when the Jews and the Muslims embraced the modern way of living.
- In part two, Armstrong discusses the growth in the rate of the adoption of modern life through fundamentalism. This chapter describes the interpretation of scripture, which consequently resulted in The Fundamental. This term underscores the frequent volumes of scriptures that comprised different ideas on religions, which were published and distributed to all pastors, theological students, and professors under the watch of millionaire tycoons. However, this aspect led to political force rather than the push for ideas, as intended.
- In addition, Armstrong argues that the growth of Zionism in Judaism was mainly boosted by the Holocaust, which later resulted in the emergence of the State of Israel. Many traditional Jews moved to the state of Israel, but the most cultural and traditional Jews rejected the interpretation of Zionism. However, the emergence of the Gush Emunin and fundamentalism created Israel, which came in the form of political power.
- Armstrong traces the emergence of Sunni fundamentalism to Sayid Qutb. Moreover, Armstrong explains how the famous Shia fundamentalism under the reign of Khomeini was developed
This book is well written because it explains why the three religions experience frictions in their tenets and traditions. Armstrong clearly explains and shows how the Islamic religion developed. This aspect is on the contrary to other authors who debate and argue on whether the Islam religion is meant for peace or War. The author openly shows how the three religions developed through the fundamentalism modernity, and she explains why they are the way they are today and how the prevalent politics in the contemporary Middle East developed. The book makes sense to the three religions in a bid to learn how to accommodate each other with different religious traditions.
In addition, the book scores highly by arguing that all people, whether atheists, Muslims, or Christians, must know how to acknowledge different fundamentalism level that is experienced in each of the religions. Apparently, “fear “is sometimes legitimate. She further argues that American protestant fundamentalism grew up in poverty, rural, and poorly educated people, who were more dominant and powerful people who frequently laughed at their beliefs and traditions. Consequently, the fundamentalist argued that their views and ideas were right, which led to the verification of the Bible scientifically and historically.
One thing interesting about the book is that it explores the controversial issue of Jewish fundamentalism. This ideology was developed during the aftermath of the Holocaust, which sent panic to the world and the Jewish people at large. Apparently, the Jew’s only hope was that Gods’ laws would save them. Similarly, the Islamic fundamentalism developed in the community that embraced a quick modernization, which resulted in hazardous societal changes.
In addition, one of the strengths of the book is on the Islamic fundamentalism that is threatening the existence of the modern world. The Islamic fundamentalist started to provide medical services that the governments were not able to provide in a bid to make their religion look outstanding. Personally, I believe that these three religious fundamentalist religions have some benefits to society. The fundamentalists made people embrace modern technology without losing their focus on their different ways of life.
However, the three fundamentalist religions lost compassion for each other, which is the backbone for the survival of any religions. This lack of sense and compassionate feeling has recently led to numerous attacks experienced amongst countries, which is solely due to the denominational differences that have recently caused theological hatred.
The book’s conclusion is well written with the author concluding that all the fundamentalist religions ought to become more religious and embrace the heart of compassion, which is the turning point for all religions. Nevertheless, different secularists who pose liberal perspectives of faith should realize fear is the root of many fundamentalist challenges that should be dealt with in contemporary times. Finally, Armstrong argues that society should learn on how to accommodate the fundamentalists because they are here to stay, and I concur with this perspective.
However, the book has its weaknesses. For instance, the author focuses on fundamentalism in the US. Apparently, looking at the issue in other contexts like Britain or Europe would give a different view. Therefore, if I were to rewrite the book, I would focus on this ideology from broader perspectives and contexts outside the US. The book is suitable for anyone interested in knowing the origins of the fundamentalist ideas that bedevil the major contemporary faiths, viz. Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Overall, the book is well written, and it has important ideas, despite its weaknesses. It offers great insights into the controversial ideology of fundamentalism.