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You Don't Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right: Finding Faith Without Fanaticism Paperback – March 10, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“A wise and important story, engagingly told. I hope everyone, from the most piously committed to the most militantly atheist, reads it and absorbs its lessons.”
—Rabbi Harold S. Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People
“Brad Hirschfield is one of the freshest and most innovative minds in religious thought today. From the ashes of Ground Zero to the summits of global leaders, he has pioneered a philosophy of using ancient texts to create coalitions of understanding and hope. Anyone committed to religious tolerance today must understand his ideas—and must put them to work.”
—Bruce Feiler, author of Walking the Bible and Where God Was Born
“Spiritual sojourners of all faiths seeking sincerity and authenticity of religion will benefit greatly from Rabbi Hirschfield’s candid testimony of his life’s journey. His visionary first-person narrative reveals that the man who makes the voyage—to the human core of tolerance, respect, generosity, and peace—discovers that the voyage makes the man.”
—Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, author of What’s Right with Islam Is What’s Right with America
“ ‘Through you all the families of the earth will be blessed,’ God says to Abraham in the Bible. Yet, for so much of history, the different religions have often turned the hardest of hearts to those who don’t accept all their teachings. Brad Hirschfield brings a unique understanding—forged in years of theological study and personal interreligious dialogues—of where so many great faiths have gone wrong, and what can be done to guarantee that the blessing God bestowed on Abraham can, after almost four thousand years, finally be achieved.”
—Joseph Telushkin, author of Jewish Literacy and A Code of Jewish Ethics
From the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The remainder of the book elaborates on Hirschfield's central insight: that oftentimes we gain nearly as much from recognizing what we have in common as we do from debating our differences. Like many of our greatest teachers, Hirschfield imparts this lesson through an engaging combination of philosophical analysis, personal stories, and close and innovative reading of traditional Biblical texts. We follow Hirschfield as he travels to places where his views are presumably unwelcome -- to Berlin, to Moscow, to Fez, Morocco -- and learn from watching his examples.
The book's lessons are not reserved for geopolitics. Hirschfield writes persuasively and easily about interpersonal relationships as well, sharing stories from his own life, from Adam and Eve, and from The Cosby Show. Nor is the book's message concealed behind academic jargon. To the contrary: Hirschfield's writing is refreshingly conversational, casual without being dumbed-down.
Ultimately, the import of this book lies in the insight that there's more to being right than proving another wrong. It is a powerful affirmation that truth can be absolute -- real truth, not a watered-down simulacrum called "truth" -- but it need not be absolutist.
Towards the end of the book, when Brad writes "idealism is a part of faith, or perhaps faith is the ultimate expression of idealism", he encapsulates the essence of belief and religion for so many. The striving for unprovable understanding, grasping the intangible. Simply, a must read philosphical treatise in under 250 peages.
Unfortunately, that's not quite enough. It's not enough because you are preaching to the choir and where the conversation must happen is where you cannot find easy agreement, where you must struggle to deal with difference and must learn to let their "Thou" exist even if it is something you oppose.
Rabbi Hirschfield in this book (and even moreso if you hear him speak, I recently heard him speak to a crowd at a university that left nary an eye dry) explains how one may live a life and have a conversation that both honors the other and allows you to honor yourself as well. This is an important book, and I hope that those reading it go far beyond those who are normally a part of this conversation.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved this book. Rabbi Hirschfield is a seeker and sharer of wisdom, compassion and insight into the human heart and soul.Published 1 day ago by Howard Koor
I met the author at an interfaith writing workshop and then read the book. Very powerful, wide appeal.Published 10 months ago by Maryjane Finne
I gifted this book so can't really rate it - but I like the premise of the book!Published 11 months ago by beverly
Great book for discussion group. Well written. We enjoyed it!Published 12 months ago by Shopper in VA
On the page after the Table of Contents is a poem that started my mind traveling this path, Don't miss it even if you don't like poetry. Read morePublished 13 months ago by E. I. HOOD
Whether you hold strong beliefs or are questioning your long-held tenets this book will speak to you. Read morePublished 16 months ago by D. Lippert
and that's what i bought it for, and that's what it contains.Published 20 months ago by William J. Price
The reason why I gave it four stars is that the paper are slightly yellowed. Not bad for a penny.Published 23 months ago by Peter J B Ball