By: Jane Caro, Antony Loewenstein, Simon Smart and Rachel Woodlock (Pan Macmillan)
The concept behind ‘For God’s Sake’ is simple: take four writers from four different religious – or non-religious – positions (atheist, Jew, Christian and Muslim) and get each to ponder a number of questions, such as what is it to be a human being?; how do we know right from wrong?; doesn’t religion cause most of the conflict in the world?; and what has religion done for us anyway?
The book opens with a brief introduction on why each of the authors believes the way they do. It’s a warm invitation into the lives and thoughts of four intelligent people, and it immediately sets the tone for a passionate and respectful debate.
However, the book’s description as a “philosophical tour de force” is an exaggeration, as there is not much discussion around words such as ‘belief’, ‘truth’, ‘God’ and ‘love’, each of which has a philosophical and, indeed, historical context and journey. It’s particularly unfortunate that ‘science’ is not given a philosophical framework, as it, along with religion, dominates modern thought.
Nevertheless, ‘For God’s Sake’ is a very enjoyable read with references to some renowned thinkers, and it does offer a gateway into universal thoughts about religion and belief, regardless of any personal position.