Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Faith Club by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner

From the Goodreads description: At first, it seemed like a good idea. In the wake of September 11, 2001, American Muslim Ranya Idliby contacted a Christian woman (Suzanne Oliver) and a Jewish woman (Priscilla Warner), proposing that the three of them write a children's book on the commonalities of these major religious traditions. Almost from the start, their "faith club" meetings devolved into wrangling; as one reviewer put it, "more Fight Club than book club." The three women argued with each other and also with themselves; even faith itself was brought into question. Through sheer stubbornness, the women continued their sessions, candidly tackling their own and each other's stereotypes, misconceptions, and deep beliefs. The Faith Club stands as a monument to their persistence, a testament to their faiths, and evidence of the difficulties that lay ahead.

As I read this one, I felt like I was learning a lot about Judaism and Islam but as I reflect back, it is hard for me to come up with any cold hard facts. I did learn that Judaism does not believe in an after life like Christians and Muslims do. That gave me pause yesterday as I attended a funeral of a family friend. So much of what was said had to do with the comfort we could all take from knowing he is enjoying heaven, and I do think that notion is very comforting to the living. I wondered how Jews mustered the extra strength to find solace without that idea as part of their faith system.  So without taking away a detailed understanding of the three faiths from this book, what I did take away was a sense of hope. Religions have been characterized in the media by their extremes but this was a reminder that the vast majority of people are moderate in their views and would say that kindness to others trumps all else.

4 comments:

bermudaonion said...

We need reminders like this with today's media.

Kay said...

I enjoyed reading this book several years ago. It was very thought provoking and hopeful.

Bedazzled said...

I read about this book elsewhere also..Didnt know that Judaism doesnt believe in rebirth.

Sverige said...

This book is a must read! This will either change your way of thinking about different people or you are to cold hearted to care. We all share a common element...we are human!