Tuesday, November 11, 2003
320 PP — 6” x 9”
$20.00 USA/$32.00 CAN
ALSO BY LLOYD STEFFEN:
Abortion: A Reader
Pilgrim Library of Ethics
$25.00 USA/$40.00 CAN
The Moral Meaning of
the Death Penalty
$18.00 USA/$29.00 CAN
Religion is powerful and religion can be dangerous. It can serve different masters.
Lloyd Steffen follows that insight as he explores the demonic dynamic in the monotheistic traditions of the West: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.
“The events of September 11 provoked serious moral questions about religion.. and in these pages Iwill argue that people are religious the way they are because of the choices they make about how to be religious.. .people are religious in particular ways, and how they construct and practice religion rests, finally, on afundamental moral turn to be religious either in a l way or demonically.”
—from the Introduction
Exploring the differences between concepts of God related to ultimacy and absolutism, Steffen names absolutism as the source of destructive, life-defying religion. “Absolutism,” he says, “is the central reason and the main cause for religion becoming dangerous and turning demonic.”
Part I explores the power and danger of religion and the two options for being religious: the life-affirming option with its vision of goodness and the demonic option with its destructiveness in the context of ultimacy, its negation of freedom and its self-deception and denial of goodness.
Part II explores religion and the restraint of violence as it looks at: the pacifist option, the case of holy war, and the case of just war.
LLOYD STEFFEN is professor and chair of the religion studies department as well as university chaplain at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He is editor of Abortion: A Reader (Pilgrim Library of Ethics) (The Pilgrim Press, 1996) and ExecutingJustice: The Moral Meaning of the Death Penalty (The Pilgrim Press, 1998), which received the first “Church and Society Award” from The Pilgrim Press in 2001. He lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.