“The Spiritual Power of Nonviolence:
Interfaith Understanding for a Future without War”
by George W. Wolfe
Review by Nathan Day Wilson
Explain how and why many religions emphasize forgiveness and compassion, yet their Scriptures often contain warlike images and stories of divine conquest. That conundrum, and ones similar, is skillfully addressed in this excellent book by Dr. George Wolfe, an interdisciplinary professor at Ball State University.
For instance, can you name the historically-accepted criteria for declaring a conflict to be a “just war?” Who was Marduk (from the Babylonian creation myth) and why is his story important to our understanding of the role of violence in human history? Do you know the four major concepts on which Gandhi based his philosophy of nonviolence?
If you read this book, you will. And you’ll know much more.
Wolfe, I suspect, hopes you’ll apply what you know about the power and importance of nonviolence. Rather than relate to the world out of a simplistic “zero-sum” mindset, where for every gain there must be a loss, Wolfe argues in favor of cooperation and complementation.
However, while this book is brief and persuasive, do not conclude that it isn’t thorough. In fact, three of the chief strengths of this book are its length, depth of content and ease of reading. An appendix provides readers with contact information for interfaith organizations.
The book is ideal for group discussion and application. To further that use, Wolfe has developed a study guide for classes and discussion groups.
Nathan D. Wilson is the senior minister of First Christian Church, Shelbyville, Indiana, a weekly newspaper columnist and a basketball coach. His email is Nathan@fccshelby.org
Rev. Nathan Day Wilson, Senior Minister
First Christian Church
118 W Washington St
Shelbyville IN 46176
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