Muslim, Christian and Jew: Finding a Path to Peace Our Faiths Can Share Paperback – Jun 1 2010
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About the Author
Active in multifaith relations for many years, Dr. Liepert is a member of the Tony Blair Faith Acts Foundation, spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Calgary and Toronto's Sayeda Khadija Mosque and Community Center, and vice-president of the Faith of Life Network -- an internationally recognized Muslim organization dedicated to helping diverse communities live together. A specialist in Anesthesia, Dr. Liepert holds degrees and fellowships from the Universities of Saskatchewan and British Columbia, and Stanford University. David Liepert currently lives with his wife and children in Calgary.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Virtually every other religious book portrays the act of believing-the decision a believer makes to accept that his or her own religion's particular assumptions and explanations are true-as if it is a good thing. Frankly, I think believing is dangerous. . . . The thrust of my argument is simple: All of us think that our religion is "good" and that those in apparent (and often politically motivated) opposition to it are "bad." But the real truth is that all of our religions are equally guilty of being used to promote violence, and-thanks to centuries of political manipulation that have distorted the way we read our holy books-all of us are equally guilty of not following what our religions really say. . . . That's the challenge I confront in Part I, "The Problem with Religion." . . . Do our different faiths only doom us to fighting with each other, or are they meant for something more? To find the right answers, you have to ask the right questions. Part II, "Beginning with Christianity," charts my journey of questioning from the very start. As I probed the history of the differences between Islam, Christianity and Judaism-from cultural shifts to scriptural revisionism-I came to understand the pressures that had forced these faiths so far apart, and I began to hope that they could find their way back together.In Part III, "Into Islam," I explore how Islam has gone from being a religion capable of sustaining a vibrant multicultural and multireligious civilization to the source of intolerance and conflict we have today. Part IV, "Working with Judaism," takes a close look at the path this faith has followed, from the first days of the Covenant to the conflict in the Middle East-driven by forces less religious than political-and posits a solution: If we made politics, and we believe that God made us, shouldn't our faith lead our politics instead of the other way around? Part V, "Faith: The Solution," explores belief and human nature in a new light to explain how Freud's theories of the subconscious and quantum physics' model of the subatomic universe offer some of the best proof we have that God exists; show us a way to restore religion to its rightful role in our lives and our world; and conclude that we're all a lot closer to where we should be than we think.
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He also discovered, however, how similar the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths viewed the world through their holy books, the Torah, Bible and Quran. He provides many examples of similarities. As his title explains, he is searching for a path to peace. His main question is "If our religions are really helping us be better people. Shouldn't they be making us do good things for each other instead?"
The Jews don't believe Jesus is the Messiah or that Muhammad is a Prophet;
the Christians believe that Jesus is the Messiah and God;
and the Muslims believe that God is God, Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and Muhammad is the last Prophet to be given revelations.
Dr. Liepert wonders why, since all share the same Creator, it is necessary that each believes the other two are misguided or evil. He hopes we can begin to correct that.
Dr. Liepert's research strengthened his belief in the Bible, yet he observes that despite his belief that the Bible does not show Jesus as God, Christ is a major figure and it is "unlikely that he will be removed from the role of founder and guiding light of Christianity." In Islam, Jesus has always been considered one of three greatest Prophets, along with Moses and Muhammad. The differences are not insurmountable, "Jesus wanted people to believe in God, not in him." On that, all three agree.
The Quran does not condemn Jews or Judaism, despite some of the extreme Islamic statements, and Dr. Liepert is critical of Muslims that interpret the Quran incorrectly. Neither the Quran nor Dr. Liepert support the Muslim treatment of women. As he states, "We're all learned to use religions to control everyone else."
He is critical of the extreme Jews who believe it is God's fault that there are problems in Israel. He claims that the Christians are confused because some believe the turmoil in Israel is necessary before Jesus will return. He sees all three religions working against peace and love. He believes, from his reading of the Torah, Bible and Quran, that God wants us all to get along, even if we don't agree. His is one more voice rising to force us to look at our similarities while pointing out the differences.
What if people simply worked within each religion to improve the future and agree to understand and accept the discrepancies? Wouldn't that begin a lessening of the violence in the world? Dr. Liepert is making an attempt to find "a path to peace our faiths can share." This is a good place to start. We need people such as him to begin the process, and each of us to help carry it forward.
I think Liepert realizes that most of his readers will be Christian and so he devotes the greatest amount of space to this religion compared to the other two. I would recommend this book to Christians as it does help to see his issues. While a Christian, he originally studied Islam to point out where his Muslim brothers got it wrong. His faith journey proves to be fascinating.
On the downside, while he comes across as very learned, he sorely needed an editor. On some subjects, he begins to meander and it can prove a distraction from his main points.
On the whole, this proved well worth the time to read. I wish the vociferous voices protesting Islam in this country would sit down and read this book.