A Primer for Interreligious Peacebuilding
Imprint: Baylor University Press
Sales Date: 2022-09-15
242 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.70 in, 2 b&w illus., 9 graphs
- Published: October 2022
In the twenty-first century, humanity faces both unprecedented existential threats and remarkable possibilities for development. While no one knows how things will unfold by century's end, it is increasingly clear that religion will play a major role in shaping the outcomes, for better or worse. In Better Religion, philosopher and religion scholar John Barton explores how grassroots interreligious peacebuilding can help ensure the "better."
More specifically, the book argues that for religion's "better" to be realized, interreligious peacebuilding must honor and directly engage religious differences. This challenges a common assumption that religious differences inevitably lead to hostilities, and must therefore be minimized or functionally neutralized for collaborative peacebuilding to be possible. Better Religion explains why such assumptions are misguided, and charts a more realistic and hopeful way forward. Using a blend of data analysis, theoretical models, and real-life anecdotes, the book makes sense of global religious diversity and projects the possibilities of peacebuilding across even the most irreconcilable of differences.
Written for academic and professional audiences, this "conceptual primer" will equip readers to understand religion in the twenty-first century and pursue constructive collaborations for human flourishing, all for the sake of the world we currently share and the world we want our grandchildren to inherit.
Part One: An Aerial View of Religion
1 Toward Religion's "Better"
2 Setting Coordinates for Hope
3 Describing Religion
4 Observing Religions
Part Two: The Geography of Dissonance and Peace
5 Silos, Sheilas, and Sets: On Religious Identity
6 Magnets, Markets, and Fields: On Religious Agency
7 Trails, Mountains, and Elephants: On Religious Similarity
8 Bubbles, Bombs, and Bridges: On Dissonance and Peace
John Barton is the ideal guide through the landscape of religious diversity and the field of interfaith peacemaking. Bridges between diverse faiths do not rise from the ground or fall from the sky—people build them. This book will show you how and will tell you why such work is so important.~Eboo Patel, Founder and President, Interfaith America and author of We Need to Build: Field Notes for Diverse Democracy
Better Religion blazes a beautifully winding path with clear conceptual frameworks and compelling imagery, leading to the not-so-simple work of interreligious peacebuilding. In place of a how-to manual, Barton offers an engaging, learned guide to religion in the twenty-first century with a clear sense of why it matters.~Rachel S. Mikva, author of Dangerous Religious Ideas: The Deep Roots of Self-Critical Faith in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
In this brilliant and insightful book, John Barton, a serious believer, thinks seriously on how the great religions, which are as vibrant as ever, can work together for a better world. I applaud and join his noble hopes that people who are not exactly on ‘common ground’ can still join forces for ‘common good.’~Mustafa Akyol, author of Reopening Muslim Minds: A Return to Reason, Freedom, and Tolerance
In this readable and wide-ranging book, John Barton makes an important intervention in the debates about effects of religious convictions and differences on our ability to live under the same roof of a common but divided world. Anyone interested in religion and peace should read Better Religion.~Miroslav Volf, Henry B. Wright Professor of Systematic Theology, Yale University
…Barton’s book Better Religion will serve not only as a primer but the foundation for important conversations that can lead to more collaboration in the pursuit of peace.~Robert D. Cornwall, Word and Way