Religion Gone Astray
What We Found at the Heart of Interfaith
By Pastor Don Mackenzie, Rabbi Ted Falcon, and Imam Jamal Rahman
Jewish Lights Publishing, 2011, 170 pages
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - November 23, 2011
This book contains the ideas about religion by three friends, a Protestant Minister, a Rabbi, and an Imam, who worked closely together for more than ten years. All agree that true religion, that is one that accomplishes all that it can do, requires that people of all faiths work together and share ideas. "We believe," they write, "that interfaith dialogue holds the key to a healing that calls us back to purpose and to meaning…. The healing that we need as a society requires us to meet each other as full human beings. The healing we seek opens us up to collaborate more honestly in confronting the major issues that impact us all. Such healing does not deny the problems we find in our traditions, but utilizes them in the service of becoming whole. Healing allows us to appreciate our own traditions and those of others more profoundly."
After a chapter on the values of interfaith encounters, the three clergymen focus in an easy to read, caring, and helpful manner on five subjects. Each gives his opinion. This is followed by concluding comments that pull the three discussions together; "sharing our stories," which dramatizes what has been said; "questions for discussion" that are designed to stimulate thinking about what has been said; and "spiritual practices," such as meditative exercises that can enforce the lessons learnt.
The five core chapters focus on claiming one's own religion as the one and only truth; justifying brutality in the name of religion; the inequality between the sexes; homophobia; and revelation. The clergymen's discussions on matters such as changing early flawed beliefs and how to improve oneself and society can be very helpful in furthering the true purpose of religion.