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Why have the monotheistic religions failed to produce societies that live up to their ethical ideals? A prominent rabbi answers this question by looking at his own faith and offering a way for religion to heal itself. In Putting God Second, Rabbi Donniel Hartman tackles one of modern life's most urgent and vexing questions: Why are the great monotheistic faiths--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--chronically unable to fulfill their own self-professed goal of creating individuals infused with moral sensitivity and societies governed by the highest ethical standards? To answer this question, Hartman takes a sober look at the moral peaks and valleys of his own tradition, Judaism, and diagnoses it with clarity, creativity, and erudition. He rejects both the sweeping denouncements of those who view religion as an inherent impediment to moral progress and the apologetics of fundamentalists who proclaim religion's moral perfection against all evidence to the contrary. Hartman identifies the primary source of religion's moral failure in what he terms its "autoimmune disease," or the way religions so often undermine their own deepest values. While God obligates the good and calls us into its service, Hartman argues, God simultaneously and inadvertently makes us morally blind. The nature of this self-defeating condition is that the human religious desire to live in relationship with God often distracts religious believers from their traditions' core moral truths. The answer Hartman offers is this: put God second. In order to fulfill religion's true vision for humanity--an uncompromising focus on the ethical treatment of others--religious believers must hold their traditions accountable to the highest independent moral standards. Decency toward one's neighbor must always take precedence over acts of religious devotion, and ethical piety must trump ritual piety. For as long as devotion to God comes first, responsibility to other people will trail far, far behind. In this book, Judaism serves as a template for how the challenge might be addressed by those of other faiths, whose sacred scriptures similarly evoke both the sublime heights of human aspiration and the depths of narcissistic moral blindness. In Putting God Second, Rabbi Hartman offers a lucid analysis of religion's flaws, as well as a compelling resource, and vision, for its repair.

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Genre: Abrahamic religions
Author: Donniel Hartman
Publisher: Beacon Press
Release: 2017-02-14
File: 192 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780807063347

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BOOK EXCERPT:

Why have the monotheistic religions failed to produce societies that live up to their ethical ideals? A prominent rabbi answers this question by looking at his own faith and offering a way for religion to heal itself. In Putting God Second, Rabbi Donniel Hartman tackles one of modern life’s most urgent and vexing questions: Why are the great monotheistic faiths—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—chronically unable to fulfill their own self-professed goal of creating individuals infused with moral sensitivity and societies governed by the highest ethical standards? To answer this question, Hartman takes a sober look at the moral peaks and valleys of his own tradition, Judaism, and diagnoses it with clarity, creativity, and erudition. He rejects both the sweeping denouncements of those who view religion as an inherent impediment to moral progress and the apologetics of fundamentalists who proclaim religion’s moral perfection against all evidence to the contrary. Hartman identifies the primary source of religion’s moral failure in what he terms its “autoimmune disease,” or the way religions so often undermine their own deepest values. While God obligates the good and calls us into its service, Hartman argues, God simultaneously and inadvertently makes us morally blind. The nature of this self-defeating condition is that the human religious desire to live in relationship with God often distracts religious believers from their traditions’ core moral truths. The answer Hartman offers is this: put God second. In order to fulfill religion’s true vision for humanity—an uncompromising focus on the ethical treatment of others—religious believers must hold their traditions accountable to the highest independent moral standards. Decency toward one’s neighbor must always take precedence over acts of religious devotion, and ethical piety must trump ritual piety. For as long as devotion to God comes first, responsibility to other people will trail far, far behind. In this book, Judaism serves as a template for how the challenge might be addressed by those of other faiths, whose sacred scriptures similarly evoke both the sublime heights of human aspiration and the depths of narcissistic moral blindness. In Putting God Second, Rabbi Hartman offers a lucid analysis of religion’s flaws, as well as a compelling resource, and vision, for its repair.

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Genre: Religion
Author: Donniel Hartman
Publisher: Beacon Press
Release: 2016-02-16
File: 200 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780807053935

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Many scholars find the legal metaphor of an Oath of Innocence inappropriate, though for different reasons. Some liberal scholars opt for an aesthetic, not a moral, resolution of the question of evil in the world. They find a sublime beauty in God's review of the animal and physical worlds, Behemoth and Leviathan. But that is all they find. They find no suggestions of moral purpose in God's creation and control of evil. Indeed, they feel none could be forthcoming. God is beyond good and evil so no moral resolution is possible. Since no moral resolution is possible, a legal mataphor such as a lawsuit dramatizing the moral question is inappropriate. They interpret Job to understand that position. And they interpret him to retract the lawsuit in its entirety. This author feels such liberal scholars miss a moral resolution for five reasons. (a) First, they fail to give adequate weight to Satan's first speech in heaven setting out the moral solution. (b) Second, they misinterpret Job's struggle with God to be a request for a restoration of his former position, rather than a request to know the reason behind evil in the world. (c) Third, they fail to appreciate the moral restrictions under which God has to operate. God cannot reveal any moral answers directly without defeating his very purpose in the creation and control of evil. As a result, they miss the suggestions of moral purpose in God's two speeches and the inferences God would have Job draw. (d) Fourth, they fail to fully appreciate the legal dynamics of the enforcement mechanism of Job's Oath of Innocence. In particular, they fail to appreciate the distinction between causal responsibility and moral blameworthiness. Thus, they do not understand God's comments concerning vindication and condemnation in his first speech to Job. And they do not understand Job's hesitation to proceed beyond his own vindication to a condemnation of God in Job's first speech to God. Ultimately, they fail to see Job's adjournment and continuation of his Oath of Innocence implied by the allusion to the story of Abraham and Sodom and Gomorrah in Job's final speech. (e) Finally, they fail to give full expression to God's ultimate judgement on Job. Job and only Job spoke rightly about God. In the face of such a judgement, there is no room to deny the ultimate propriety of the moral and legal question as a way of framing man's encounter with God. Some conservative scholars opt for a moral resolution of the question of evil in the world, but their resolution is equally unsatisfying. They interpret Job's so-called excessive words and his Oath of Innocence to be sins of presumption. Thus they would have Job retract his lawsuit in its entirety and repent morally for either his so-called excessive words, his raising of the lawsuit or both. This author feels such conservative scholars miss a satisfactory moral resolution for three reasons. (a) First, they fail to understand the depth of Satan's challenge to God. It is not merely that Job will curse God. It is that God is wrong in his judgement on Job's goodness. God missed sin in Job's life. Such scholars think their moral resolution is possible, because although Job sins, Job does not actually curse God. Their resolution actually makes Satan right in his challenge of God so that God should step down from his throne and destroy mankind. (b) Second, they fail to give proper weight to Job's blamelessness and integrity. The raising of the Oath of Innocence is an expression of that blamelessness and integrity. It is what God expects of Job, though he cannot tell him that directly. (c) Finally, they fail to give full expression of God's ultimate judgement on Job. Job and only Job spoke rightly about God. In the face of such a judgement, there is no room to attribute sin or wrongdoing to Job for either his so-called excessive words or for his Oath of Innocence. My personal interpretation charts a new middle course between these two-fold horrors

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Genre: Religion
Author: Robert Sutherland
Publisher: Trafford Publishing
Release: 2004
File: 203 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781412018470

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Do you ever feel stressed, worn out, exhausted or overwhelmed? Like no matter how hard you work, how late you stay up or how much you plan and multitask, there simply is never enough time to fit it all in? Has quiet time with the Lord become a distant memory? And while you know you should change that, at the end of another long day, all you really want to do is fall into bed and sleep? Or perhaps you know you have enough time in your day, but you struggle to use it wisely. Whether it's watching television, shopping, connecting on social media or spending time on your latest hobby, your days always seem to escape into thin air. And before you know it, it's been weeks and you haven't opened your Bible at all. You want to spend time with the Lord. You know it's important. And yet, you constantly find yourself distracted. Thankfully, there is hope. In Putting God First: How to Make God the #1 Priority in Every of Your Life, you will learn: Why God deserves to be your #1 priority What putting God first does and does not mean Common distractions and obstacles to a God-first life TONS of real, practical tips for making God the #1 priority in every area of your life--from your marriage, your parenting, your friendships, your finances and everything in between! Don't spend another day simply surviving. Don't settle for good enough. Take hold of the amazing life God has in store for you. This book will show you how. Grab yours today! p.s. After you read this book, don't forget to head on over to EquippingGodlyWomen.com to sign up for the FREE "Ignite Your Faith" 5-Day Faith Building Challenge! Same concepts--practical application. Sign up today!

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Genre:
Author: Brittany Ann
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Release: 2015-12-07
File: 70 Pages
ISBN-13: 151921748X

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Do you want to be challenged to deepen your understanding of the characteristics and requirements of Almighty God? The Understanding God Series contains the bulk of Pastor Tony Evans' compelling and hard-hitting resources on the essentials about God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Spiritual Warfare, and prophecy. Now available in paperback, readers will not want to be without a single book in the series by this popular and powerful speaker and author.Addiction, immorality, broken relationships - we all suffer spiritual setbacks. In Returning to Your First Love, readers will learn how to return to God and keep working out the most important relationship in our lives.

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Genre: Religion
Author: Tony Evans
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Release: 2008-09-01
File: 328 Pages
ISBN-13: 0802480330

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Don't leave your faith at the door...

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Genre: Religion
Author: Scott Neil MacLellan
Publisher:
Release: 2011
File: 171 Pages
ISBN-13: 1612911501

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Countless stories. One incredible ending. A major league baseball player. a Tennessee pastor. A reality TV star. a single mom. A multi-platinum rocker. What do these people have in common? They’ve all hit bottom. And none of them stayed there. Famous or unfamiliar, these are the stories of real people who reached the end of their strength, the end of their control, and found the most surprising truths. It taught them not to rely on self or substance but to lean on the only completely reliable source of love, hope, and freedom: the God who created them. Shocking in their honesty, inspiring in their courage, these testimonies are critical reminders that no one is too far from God to find him. Join these and thousands more who have discovered the lifechanging power in putting God first and proclaiming, “I am Second.”

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Genre: Religion
Author: Dave Sterrett
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release: 2013-10-08
File: 320 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781400203741

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It can seem as though today's culture encourages weakness, not strength. And this attitude has crept into the church. Yet God's people are called to be soldiers, and to fight for His cause and kingdom. Based on the book of Joshua, Be Strong is an inspiring guide to pursuing a victorious life. Part of Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe's best-selling "BE" commentary series, Be Strong has now been updated with study questions and a new introduction by Ken Baugh. A respected pastor and Bible teacher, Dr. Wiersbe shares the need for strong, dedicated believers. You'll discover how to dodge defeat, pursue your purpose, and take hold of all God has in store for you.

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Genre: Religion
Author: Warren W. Wiersbe
Publisher: David C Cook
Release: 2010-01-01
File: 208 Pages
ISBN-13: 143470095X

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Putting Jesus in His Place is designed to introduce Christians to the wealth of biblical teaching on the deity of Christ and give them the confidence to share the truth about Jesus with others.

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Genre: Religion
Author: Robert M. Bowman
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Release:
File: 392 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780825497452

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Christopher Hitchens, described in the London Observer as “one of the most prolific, as well as brilliant, journalists of our time” takes on his biggest subject yet–the increasingly dangerous role of religion in the world. In the tradition of Bertrand Russell’s Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris’s recent bestseller, The End Of Faith, Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case against religion. With a close and erudite reading of the major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos. With eloquent clarity, Hitchens frames the argument for a more secular life based on science and reason, in which hell is replaced by the Hubble Telescope’s awesome view of the universe, and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty and symmetry of the double helix. From the Hardcover edition.

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Genre: Social Science
Author: Christopher Hitchens
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Release: 2008-11-19
File: 320 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781551991764

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