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1 Burnside Politics- General

This title in other editions

Taming the Gods: Religion and Democracy on Three Continents

by

Taming the Gods: Religion and Democracy on Three Continents Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"Religions tend to claim a monopoly on truth, which is why most of us learn as children that it is impolite to inquire too closely into the religious beliefs of others; and since such beliefs tend to be held with considerable zeal, the wisest course, we are taught, is to stay out of it. This sound advice, not to children but to governments, is reiterated by Ian Buruma, who concludes his Taming of the Gods: Religion and Democracy on Three Continents (Princeton, $19.95) with a paraphrase of Confucius: "Let us leave the spirits aside, until we know how best to serve men.'" Benjamin Moser, Harper's Magazine (read the entire Harper's Magazine review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

For eight years the president of the United States was a born-again Christian, backed by well-organized evangelicals who often seemed intent on erasing the church-state divide. In Europe, the increasing number of radicalized Muslims is creating widespread fear that Islam is undermining Western-style liberal democracy. And even in polytheistic Asia, the development of democracy has been hindered in some countries, particularly China, by a long history in which religion was tightly linked to the state.

Ian Buruma is the first writer to provide a sharp-eyed look at the tensions between religion and politics on three continents. Drawing on many contemporary and historical examples, he argues that the violent passions inspired by religion must be tamed in order to make democracy work.

Comparing the United States and Europe, Buruma asks why so many Americans — and so few Europeans — see religion as a help to democracy. Turning to China and Japan, he disputes the notion that only monotheistic religions pose problems for secular politics. Finally, he reconsiders the story of radical Islam in contemporary Europe, from the case of Salman Rushdie to the murder of Theo van Gogh. Sparing no one, Buruma exposes the follies of the current culture war between defenders of Western values and multiculturalists, and explains that the creation of a democratic European Islam is not only possible, but necessary.

Presenting a challenge to dogmatic believers and dogmatic secularists alike, Taming the Gods powerfully argues that religion and democracy can be compatible — but only if religious and secular authorities are kept firmly apart.

Review:

"Ian Buruma broaches the biggest themes in contemporary world politics in this book: what are the relations, actual and possible, between religion and democracy in a globalized world? In setting out his thoughts, Buruma marshals pungent quotation after pungent quotation from Spinoza, Tocqueville, and Voltaire — not to mention Jefferson, Locke, and Hume; classic Chinese and Japanese texts; and a wide range of modern commentators, politicians, activists, and agitators." Andrew Barshay, University of California, Berkeley

Review:

"Buruma’s guiding principle is secularism, informed by "a certain discretion about the religious beliefs of others". Steven Poole, The Guardian

Review:

"In a debate driven by raucous emotion (not least among rationalists), Buruma's is the quiet voice of reason." John Gray, Literary Review

Review:

"Because of Buruma's clarity and temperance, a most informative primer on systems of church -state rapprochement in the modern era". Ray Olson, Booklist

Review:

"Such clear-headed thinking may help to lower levels of hysteria a notch or two." Peter Kirkwood, The Australian

Review:

"He argues, however, for a generous interpretation of liberal tolerance as embracing even illiberal doctrines and practices, so long as these are not violent. Like some other contemporary writers, he seeks to redefine liberalism not as a way of life but as the umpire of diverse ways of life, not all of which need be liberal." Clifford Orwin, The Globe & Mail

Review:

"Buruma's diagnosis is that the malaise we see today is the way people cope with the confusions of a fast-changing world that unsettles their very foundations." Katherine Marshall, The Washington Post

Review:

"Ultimately, Buruma's message is that people should respect other faiths while insisting that the faithful not violate democracy's rules of the game. And in the skeptical, informed, affectionate tone he adopts toward the countries he chronicles, his book exemplifies that spirit." Peter Beinart, The New York Times Book Review

Synopsis:

"Ian Buruma broaches the biggest themes in contemporary world politics in this book: what are the relations, actual and possible, between religion and democracy in a globalized world? In setting out his thoughts, Buruma marshals pungent quotation after pungent quotation from Spinoza, Tocqueville, and Voltaire--not to mention Jefferson, Locke, and Hume; classic Chinese and Japanese texts; and a wide range of modern commentators, politicians, activists, and agitators."--Andrew Barshay, University of California, Berkeley

Synopsis:

For eight years the president of the United States was a born-again Christian, backed by well-organized evangelicals who often seemed intent on erasing the church-state divide. In Europe, the increasing number of radicalized Muslims is creating widespread fear that Islam is undermining Western-style liberal democracy. And even in polytheistic Asia, the development of democracy has been hindered in some countries, particularly China, by a long history in which religion was tightly linked to the state.

Ian Buruma is the first writer to provide a sharp-eyed look at the tensions between religion and politics on three continents. Drawing on many contemporary and historical examples, he argues that the violent passions inspired by religion must be tamed in order to make democracy work.

Comparing the United States and Europe, Buruma asks why so many Americans--and so few Europeans--see religion as a help to democracy. Turning to China and Japan, he disputes the notion that only monotheistic religions pose problems for secular politics. Finally, he reconsiders the story of radical Islam in contemporary Europe, from the case of Salman Rushdie to the murder of Theo van Gogh. Sparing no one, Buruma exposes the follies of the current culture war between defenders of "Western values" and "multiculturalists," and explains that the creation of a democratic European Islam is not only possible, but necessary.

Presenting a challenge to dogmatic believers and dogmatic secularists alike, Taming the Gods powerfully argues that religion and democracy can be compatible--but only if religious and secular authorities are kept firmly apart.

About the Author

Ian Buruma is the Henry R. Luce Professor of Democracy, Human Rights, and Journalism at Bard College. His many books include "Anglomania" (Random House), "Inventing Japan" (Modern Library), and "Murder in Amsterdam" (Penguin), which won a "Los Angeles Times" Book Award. He is a regular contributor to many publications, including the "New York Review of Books", the "New Yorker", the "Guardian", and the "Financial Times".

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

CHAPTER ONE: Full Tents and Empty Cathedrals 11

CHAPTER TWO: Oriental Wisdom 47

CHAPTER THREE: Enlightenment Values 83

Notes 127

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691134895
Subtitle:
Religion and Democracy on Three Continents
Author:
Buruma, Ian
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton
Subject:
United States Religion.
Subject:
China Religion.
Subject:
Political Ideologies - Democracy
Subject:
Religion, Politics & State
Subject:
General
Subject:
Government - Comparative
Subject:
United States - Religion
Subject:
Political Science : Government - Comparative
Subject:
Religion : Religion, Politics & State
Subject:
Political Science : Political Ideologies - Democracy
Subject:
Democracy
Subject:
Political Science and International Relations
Subject:
Religion
Subject:
Political philosophy
Subject:
Politics | International Studies
Copyright:
Publication Date:
February 2010
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Pages:
144
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » International Studies
History and Social Science » World History » General
Religion » Western Religions » Social and Political Issues

Taming the Gods: Religion and Democracy on Three Continents Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 144 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691134895 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "Religions tend to claim a monopoly on truth, which is why most of us learn as children that it is impolite to inquire too closely into the religious beliefs of others; and since such beliefs tend to be held with considerable zeal, the wisest course, we are taught, is to stay out of it. This sound advice, not to children but to governments, is reiterated by Ian Buruma, who concludes his Taming of the Gods: Religion and Democracy on Three Continents (Princeton, $19.95) with a paraphrase of Confucius: "Let us leave the spirits aside, until we know how best to serve men.'" Benjamin Moser, Harper's Magazine (read the entire Harper's Magazine review)
"Review" by , "Ian Buruma broaches the biggest themes in contemporary world politics in this book: what are the relations, actual and possible, between religion and democracy in a globalized world? In setting out his thoughts, Buruma marshals pungent quotation after pungent quotation from Spinoza, Tocqueville, and Voltaire — not to mention Jefferson, Locke, and Hume; classic Chinese and Japanese texts; and a wide range of modern commentators, politicians, activists, and agitators."
"Review" by , "Buruma’s guiding principle is secularism, informed by "a certain discretion about the religious beliefs of others".
"Review" by , "In a debate driven by raucous emotion (not least among rationalists), Buruma's is the quiet voice of reason."
"Review" by , "Because of Buruma's clarity and temperance, a most informative primer on systems of church -state rapprochement in the modern era".
"Review" by , "Such clear-headed thinking may help to lower levels of hysteria a notch or two."
"Review" by , "He argues, however, for a generous interpretation of liberal tolerance as embracing even illiberal doctrines and practices, so long as these are not violent. Like some other contemporary writers, he seeks to redefine liberalism not as a way of life but as the umpire of diverse ways of life, not all of which need be liberal."
"Review" by , "Buruma's diagnosis is that the malaise we see today is the way people cope with the confusions of a fast-changing world that unsettles their very foundations."
"Review" by , "Ultimately, Buruma's message is that people should respect other faiths while insisting that the faithful not violate democracy's rules of the game. And in the skeptical, informed, affectionate tone he adopts toward the countries he chronicles, his book exemplifies that spirit."
"Synopsis" by ,

"Ian Buruma broaches the biggest themes in contemporary world politics in this book: what are the relations, actual and possible, between religion and democracy in a globalized world? In setting out his thoughts, Buruma marshals pungent quotation after pungent quotation from Spinoza, Tocqueville, and Voltaire--not to mention Jefferson, Locke, and Hume; classic Chinese and Japanese texts; and a wide range of modern commentators, politicians, activists, and agitators."--Andrew Barshay, University of California, Berkeley

"Synopsis" by ,

For eight years the president of the United States was a born-again Christian, backed by well-organized evangelicals who often seemed intent on erasing the church-state divide. In Europe, the increasing number of radicalized Muslims is creating widespread fear that Islam is undermining Western-style liberal democracy. And even in polytheistic Asia, the development of democracy has been hindered in some countries, particularly China, by a long history in which religion was tightly linked to the state.

Ian Buruma is the first writer to provide a sharp-eyed look at the tensions between religion and politics on three continents. Drawing on many contemporary and historical examples, he argues that the violent passions inspired by religion must be tamed in order to make democracy work.

Comparing the United States and Europe, Buruma asks why so many Americans--and so few Europeans--see religion as a help to democracy. Turning to China and Japan, he disputes the notion that only monotheistic religions pose problems for secular politics. Finally, he reconsiders the story of radical Islam in contemporary Europe, from the case of Salman Rushdie to the murder of Theo van Gogh. Sparing no one, Buruma exposes the follies of the current culture war between defenders of "Western values" and "multiculturalists," and explains that the creation of a democratic European Islam is not only possible, but necessary.

Presenting a challenge to dogmatic believers and dogmatic secularists alike, Taming the Gods powerfully argues that religion and democracy can be compatible--but only if religious and secular authorities are kept firmly apart.

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