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In Defense of Faith: The Judeo-Christian Idea and the Struggle for Humanity (2010)

David Brog

Religious faith is under assault. In books, movies, and on television, secular critics are attacking religion and the religious with ever-increasing intensity. These “new atheists” typically repeat a two-part mantra: They claim that only an idiot could believe in God, and that idiots who do so have been responsible for most of the hate and violence that have plagued humanity. Abandon religion, they urge, and the world will finally know peace.

Surprisingly few books have emerged to defend faith from this onslaught. Yet when it comes to this second argument—the behavior of religious people in the world—abstract claims can be tested by reference to objective facts. In Defense of Faith examines the historical record and demonstrates that far from encouraging hate and aggression, the Judeo-Christian tradition has been the West’s most effective curb on these dangerous defects of human nature.

In Defense of Faith asserts that the belief in the sanctity and equality of all humans at the core of both Judaism and Christianity—what Brog calls the “Judeo-Christian idea”—has been our most effective tool in the struggle for humanity. The Judeo-Christian idea, Brog argues, has provided the intellectual foundation for human rights. Even more importantly, he maintains, the Judeo-Christian idea has repeatedly inspired the faithful to devote their lives to, and often risk their lives in, the fulfillment of these high ideals.

In Defense of Faith also convincingly demonstrates that when we abandon religion as the critics urge, peace does not break out. Instead, we quickly revert to the most base instincts of our selfish genes.

Written by a Jewish author who works closely with the Christian faith community, In Defense of Faith will appeal to secular and religious readers alike. This book will challenge the secular to reconsider the role of religion in Western civilization. It will inspire the religious to embrace a proud legacy of faith in action for the sake of humanity.

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