The Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs: Fundamentalism and the Fear of Truth

Paperback | November 15, 2012

bySolomon Schimmel

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The Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs is a passionate yet analytical critique of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scriptural fundamentalists. Schimmel examines the ways in which otherwise intelligent and educated Jews, Christians, and Muslims defend their belief in the divine authorship of theBible or of the Koran, and other religious beliefs derived from those claims, against overwhelming evidence and argument to the contrary from science, scholarship, common sense, and rational analysis. He also examines the motives, fears, and anxieties of scriptural fundamentalists that induce themto cling so tenaciously to their unreasonable beliefs.Schimmel begins with reflections on his own journey from commitment to Orthodox Judaism, through doubts about its theological dogmas and doctrines, to eventual denial of their truth. He follows this with an examination of theological and philosophical debates about the proper relationships betweenfaith, reason, and revelation. Schimmel then devotes separate chapters to Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scriptural fundamentalism, noting their similarities and differences. He analyzes in depth the psychological and social reasons why people acquire, maintain, and protect unreasonable religiousbeliefs, and how they do so. Schimmel also discusses unethical and immoral consequences of scriptural fundamentalism, such as gender inequality, homophobia, lack of intellectual honesty, self-righteousness, intolerance, propagation of falsehood, and in some instances, the advocacy of violence and terrorism. He concludes with adiscussion of why, when, and where it is appropriate to critique, challenge, and combat scriptural fundamentalists. The Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs is thoughtful and provocative, written to encourage self-reflection and self-criticism, and to stimulate and to enlighten all who are interested inthe psychology of religion and in religious fundamentalism.

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From the Publisher

The Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs is a passionate yet analytical critique of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scriptural fundamentalists. Schimmel examines the ways in which otherwise intelligent and educated Jews, Christians, and Muslims defend their belief in the divine authorship of theBible or of the Koran, and other religious beli...

Solomon Schimmel is Professor of Education and Psychology at Hebrew College in Newton, MA.

other books by Solomon Schimmel

Format:PaperbackDimensions:294 pages, 6.1 × 9.21 × 0.71 inPublished:November 15, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199964459

ISBN - 13:9780199964451

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Table of Contents

1. Why This Book? Autobiographical Reflections2. Faith, Revelation, and Reason3. Jewish Biblical Fundamentalism4. Christian Biblical Fundamentalism5. Muslim Koranic Fundamentalism6. Acquiring and Protecting Unreasonable Beliefs7. On "Defundamentalizing" FundamentalistsNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Schimmel's is a fresh voice in the ongoing critique of fundamentalism. ...The book represents an intelligent inquiry into the cognitive world of secular modernity's religious discontents that is both fearlessly frank and unusually empathetic. [Schimmel's] sensitivity to the individualfundamentalist's socialization process and to the storied loss of faith that profoundly shapes ex-fundamentalists makes the book a highly original contribution to interdisciplinary fundamentalism studies. Scripture scholars, comparativists, and Christian readers unacquainted with yeshiva-basedJewish intellectual life will profit from this provocative work." --Theological Studies