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When Religion Becomes Evil: Five Warning Signs

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  370 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
In this thoroughly revised and updated edition, leading religion and Middle East expert Charles Kimball shows how all religious traditions are susceptible to these basic corruptions and why only authentic faith can prevent such evil.

The Five Warning Signs of Corruption in Religion
1. Absolute Truth Claims
2. Blind Obedience
3. Establishing the "Ideal" Time
4. The End Justifies
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 26th 2008 by HarperOne (first published 2002)
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Mikey B.
Oct 22, 2012 Mikey B. rated it it was amazing
A very forthright account of the dangers of religion to the human condition. There are many fine examples by this person of faith (he is a Baptist minister) that illustrate how religion can corrode its members and the society around them. The points are so good that if you are a person of no faith you likely will remain that way.

The author is convinced (as most of us are) that since 9/11 we must pay closer attention to what is happening in our religious communities. Unlike the author I am not
Nov 21, 2015 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clear simple explanations of what entails fanaticism. Being able to discuss this kind of thing, I feel is important to combating terrorism. Oddly I think these are things you should discuss with children between eight and ten years of age, as they grow into being teenagers they are too susceptible to lunatics. Having the knowledge that separates belief from fanaticism before they get to that age I feel is crucial to reducing fanaticism and terrorism.
Yuvi S Sandhu
Feb 04, 2017 Yuvi S Sandhu rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-religions
It changed my current perception of religion. For that I am grateful.
Apr 05, 2012 Jacklyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in sociology or religious studies
Recommended to Jacklyn by: Sociology teacher
I have to say, I’m a pretty skeptical person, especially when it comes to religion, so when I began reading Kimball’s book and was informed of his extensive background and close ties to his Baptist Christian faith, I became apprehensive. However, as I continued reading, it became clear to me how Kimball’s history and experience with religion helped him reach the conclusions he comes to in When Religion Becomes Evil and his experience allows him to speak with authority of all the topics he brings ...more
Sep 04, 2011 Cameron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember this author coming to my college to give a lecture not long after 9/11. It is not only an intelligent but earnest discourse but he is a professor and also an ordained Baptist minister and has traveled widely; so, he is speaking from education as well as experience. In this book he writes about the three desert/Abrahamic/monotheistic religions as being essentially of the same tradition and the potential for interfaith dialogue. He outlines their history and also talks about how the fun ...more
Oct 02, 2012 Bethany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fresh breath of air when it comes to critical thinking concerning religion.
Rarely do I read a critical analysis on the affect of religion on society that respects each religion that is put under the microscope (including the author's own) while not pulling any punches on the disasters of "absolute truth" claims, cultish authoritative figures and the oppressive mix of politics and religion.
The only criticism I have is that the author promoted religious pluralism, which I personally agr
Kevin Swanson
I was skeptical of reading this book. I figured it would just be another one of those religious nonfiction texts that my mom is always reading. I wasnt pleasantly surprised to find that this is not the case. Kimball is a very fair and objective narrator with a wealth of knowledge of world religions. The book does an excellent job highlighting what Kimball sees as the root cause of evil deeds committed in the name of religion. He also keeps the book from becoming to drenched in religious terminol ...more
Pam Anderson
Nov 16, 2011 Pam Anderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful observations by a minister, trained in the Southern Baptist tradition, about the dangers in absolute theology in religion. Having served in the religious studies of many universities he is intimately knowledgeable & specializes in Islamic studies. He examines the role of religion in the world and when it defects from its original purpose. While he claims that religion is basically necessary and positive, he ascribes several warning signs for when religions can become dangerous.
Angie Lisle
I love the message of this book - acceptance, tolerance, and intelligence are the solutions to preventing evil being done for the sake of religion. And I love that this message is being taught by a Christian minister who is encouraging people to THINK about what they believe and why.

That being said, this is geared for the general public; those with backgrounds in religion/history are probably already aware of these issues.
Dec 18, 2009 Carolyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really like the book and would recommend anyone to read it. The author is very fair in dealing with all religions and I don't think his take was skewed unfairly to any one side. It really helped me think about issues such as war, religion, and how to reconcile with those of other religions. I really agree with how he presents his arguments and it helped me to reconcile some questions of faith. Great book!
Oct 24, 2013 kashiichan rated it it was amazing
Despite the dramatic book title, this is a rather even-handed treatment of religion. Both the good and the bad are covered; the Crusades, September 11, the evolution of 'jihad', going to war for peace, and many other issues are examined. The author's points are made via interesting anecdotes, references to and quotations of multiple holy texts and references to more scientific sources. Definitely worth reading.
Jun 04, 2008 Maureen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Maureen by: UMW
Charles Kimball is an ordained Baptist preacher with a kaleidoscopic world view. He has the experience, through his work with the World Council of Churches, to speak authoritatively on this subject. He addresses home-grown errant religious groups, as well as international ones. This book is an easy read on a fascinating topic. Besides having a really great title, it is sure to generate discussion among those who read it.
Joshua Duffy
There was some good stuff in this book, and I love where Kimball is trying to go regarding the subject of multi-faith peace, but I think it was written a little softly. Kimball, an ordained Baptist minister, seemed to go out of his way for the sake of accommodation. Something I don't think is needed even when writing about such a sensitive subject.
Apr 28, 2015 Fatih rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kimbal memaparkan pandangannya yang luas dan menelaah berbagai masalah yang dihadapi berbagai agama di dunia berdasarkan pengalamannya yang sangat banyak dalam mempelajari masyarakat beragama di berbagai tempat, khususnya timur tengah.
Wajib untuk dibaca bagi yang ingin mengerti lebih dalam kenapa agama kadang, bahkan sering, menimbulkan bencana bukannya perdamaian.
Evan Dolive
Feb 01, 2017 Evan Dolive rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kimball's analysis speaks to the heart of the issues across all religions when it comes to the manipulation of them. Great book, sometimes too academic. I didn't agree with all assumptions mades but over a fascinating book.
Lorian Bruce
Dec 25, 2016 Lorian Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
if only humankind would stop trying to convert others to their particular faith. There is no absolute proof any one faith is the correct for all humanity. So many deaths of innocents, so many wars. The ends do not justify the means
Stephen Morris
Jan 28, 2015 Stephen Morris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A breath of fresh air! Charles Kimball maybe one of the greatest Christian thinkers of our age. His wealth of knowledge and understanding shine light onto a rather prickly subject. Come into this book knowing that you may be wrong.
Suzan Rebekah
Feb 03, 2015 Suzan Rebekah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Had Dr. Kimball for a seminar. Loved his book.
Jack Coleman
Mar 10, 2011 Jack Coleman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The warning signs about when your religious group is going whako.
See Sam Harris the end of Faith.
Jul 27, 2013 Marissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was disappointed with this book. I wanted it to be better and more understandable. I felt like there were a lot of words to make points I usually could not find.
Aug 02, 2012 Kevin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You need to read this book!
Nov 07, 2007 steven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good how-to guide.
Jul 09, 2012 JC rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Uncompromising understanding of world issues through the eyes of religion. A must read to understand the disasters that can come from pitting one faith against another.
Vania Melamed
A good starter but not enough information. Articulate, but not enough evidence to support the author's examples. May be good for high school research. Wouldn't use it for Debate Team or Theology.
Jacob Greenmyer
Feb 14, 2016 Jacob Greenmyer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
Neo liberal view of relativist ridden religion.
Some worthwhile points I guess. Certainly some interesting and eye opening anecdotes
Thom Riddle
Sep 24, 2012 Thom Riddle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finished it in a night, only 240 pages, really interesting read on the danger of religion to the human condition.
Jul 07, 2008 Jade rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
John Harvey
Jan 01, 2015 John Harvey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a good review of why Christianity must cooperate with other religions to promote world peace. It shows what Christianity has in common with Judaism and Islam.
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Dr. Charles Kimball is professor of comparative religion in the Department of Religion and the Divinity School at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. During the 2006 fall term, he was the Rita and William Bell Visiting Professor at The University of Tulsa. Dr. Kimball is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and holds the M.Div. degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. An ...more
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“Regrettably, many Americans don't pay much attention to the inconsistencies in U.S. foreign policy. People in other parts of the world who feel the impact of those policies play close attention. And they take notes.” 6 likes
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