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Peacemaking  |  Happiness  |  Spirit  |  Books

A Pastor, a Rabbi, and an Imam Walk Into a Book ...

In "Religion Gone Astray," three leaders—and friends—from different religions take on violence, exclusivity, gender inequality, and homophobia in some of their scriptures' most controversial verses. What they discovered surprised them.

Religion Gone Astray Book Cover

Religion Gone Astray: What We Found at the Heart of Interfaith
by Pastor Don Mackenzie, Rabbi Ted Falcon, and Imam Jamal Rahman
Skylight Paths, 2011, 170 pages, $16.99

Discussion of religion can set up a range of uncomfortable situations—from an awkward first date to a hurtful family gathering. And there are those who have felt much more than uncomfortable—who have been labeled or scarred by religion. These memories, in hand with the pain and violence perpetrated by religious institutions throughout history, can overwhelm attempts to maneuver through conversations about faith and tradition. 

In Religion Gone Astray: What We Found at the Heart of Interfaith, co-authors Pastor Don Mackenzie, Rabbi Ted Falcon, and Imam Jamal Rahman offer healing, insight, and tools to help resume the conversation about religion that is integral to our well-being as a global community. 

The authors begin by explaining the core teachings of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. They then identify divisive practices that illustrate how each religion has veered from its core teaching. The causes of division, or “inconsistencies,” are named as exclusivity, violence, inequality between men and women, and homophobia.

Interfaith Amigos, photo by Mark Reden
Follow Pastor Don Mackenzie, Rabbi Ted Falcon, and Imam Jamal Rahman's blog.

The authors approach each inconsistency with honesty and humility, sharing their personal experience. They offer explanations of controversial verses from the holy texts of their respective traditions and invite the reader into the discussion with suggested questions and spiritual practices. 

Piece by piece, a refreshing, even surprising, picture of religion comes into focus—one of an institution like any other, molded by the cultural contexts of its time, instead of an infallible and unquestionable manifestation of the all-defining “Divinity Itself.” This picture gives us hope—because it allows us, as our imperfect selves, a perfect place within it. 


Jenn Carreto wrote this article for Making it Home, the Summer 2012 issue of YES! Magazine. Jenn is a writer and peacebuilder living in Seattle.

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