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Publication Date: 18 Oct 2018
Publisher: SPCK Publishing
Page Count: 176
Author: John Bowker
ISBN-13: 9780281076895, 9780281076901, 9780281080168, 9780281081493

Religion Hurts

Why Religions do Harm as well as Good
By John Bowker
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The world contains a bewildering variety of religions, each containing an equally bewildering variety of practices and beliefs.

How have religions developed and become so widespread? Why do they matter so much to so many people? Why do some believe that their faith requires them to terrorize and kill others? Why do religions do harm as well as good?

This is a book for those who ask such questions. Some of the answers we hear today seem entirely uncritical of religion, while others dismiss it as inherently toxic and destructive.

John Bowker, one of the world’s most distinguished scholars of religion, delivers a timely analysis of the issues. He shows how recent research, particularly in the neurosciences, genetics and evolution, throws new light on what religions are and on the part they have played in human life and history.

His explanation of why religions are a force for both good and evil offers hope as well as insight for all who want to understand the many complex interactions between religion and politics today.
About the Author
John Bowker is Emeritus Professor at Gresham College, London. He has taught Religious Studies at the universities of Cambridge, Lancaster and Pennsylvania, and at North Carolina State University. He is the author or editor of more than forty books, including The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions (Oxford University Press, 1997), The Meanings of Death (Cambridge University Press, 2008, winner of the HarperCollins Prize), What Muslims Believe (Oneworld, 2009), God: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2014), Beliefs that Changed the World (Quercus, 2015) and Why Religions Matter (Cambridge University Press, 2015).
Press Reviews

‘This is a fine work . . . It is particularly impressive in its insight into Islamic culture and intra-Islamic conflict, and it shows something of the fresh understanding needed for constructive Christian–Islamic engagement.’

- Peter Barrett, Senior Research Associate, School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, and formerly Associate Professor of Physics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

‘John Bowker is a master blender of religious anthropologies, ethics, history, philosophy, the tussle between reason and emotion – all overlain by sensitivity and humanity.’

- Peter Hennessy, FBA, Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History, Queen Mary University of London

‘Vintage Bowker: reviewing a vast religious terrain . . . he offers penetrating insights into conflict, altruism and “humanity” itself.’

- Eleanor Nesbitt, Professor Emeritus, Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit, University of Warwick

‘This brilliant and perceptive book helps us to see clearly why it is important to understand religion, and how to cope wisely with its impact in the twenty-first century.’

- Mark Williams, Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Oxford

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