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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and eminently readable, December 1, 2007
This review is from: A Call for Heresy: Why Dissent Is Vital to Islam and America (Hardcover)
Dr. Majid has written a lucid and detailed essay extolling the virtue of heresy and issues a call for heresy today. Detailing both a history of heresy in Islam and Christianity and its impact of those world faiths, he has made an exceptional case for the importance and virtual necessity of dissent both from religious orthodoxy and political conformity. Citing the devastating impact that the imposition of orthodoxy has had on the evolution of Islamic culture he warns of the risk faced by a society that adopts an inflexible religious basis for citizenship. While also citing the errors of Western culture's misuse of Christian doctrine, he certainly acknowledges the positive impact that the adaptability of Christianity has had over the last 2,000 years.

Ultimately, he sees the slow slide to the institutionalizing of Christianity in politics in the US as destructive of what he sees as the strength of the original idea of the United States. In his view "Freethinking", including heresy and dissent, is what is needed at this time rather than the rigidity of orthodoxy.

Reading at times like a book of quotations from both Islamic and American "freethinkers", he is able to capture the wonder of discourse and point out the ultimate importance of open-mindedness, something that he sees as being lost in this world in which consumption and the accumulation of wealth has become too important and defines the bases for the Islamic condemnation of "modernity". I found the book pastoral, in the sense of one of those wonderfully inspiring Sunday homilies I hear too infrequently today. It is a call to our better selves and the wonder of being free to think and allow our minds to go where our thoughts take us.
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