Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence. Karen Armstrong. London: The Bodley Head, 2014. Pp. 499.

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The blood that has been spilled over the history of human race is real, but to accuse religion, as most literature coming out of the west does, is not. Of course, the images of fanatics slaughtering ‘infidels’ on the shores of Mediterranean, and pointing their knives towards ‘Rome’ would inspire such literature. But to ‘scapegoat’ this violence as being inspired by religion has never been scientifically validated. No religion in human history ever condoned violence. Even Yahweh is concerned when he finds Abel missing and asked Cain after he murdered his brother Abel: “Where is your brother, Abel?” Having murdered his brother, his immediate response is: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Violence was never ordained by God and religion, “whose practice is essentially private and hermetically sealed off from all ‘secular’ activities.” According to Karen Armstrong, in her latest book Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence, modern and secular “Urban civilization denied that relationship and responsibility for all other human beings that is embedded in human nature.” At great lengths throughout the book, Armstrong describes the word ‘secular’ as being concerned with the material things of the world, while religion is not abstract, but transcends our personal needs and serves as a bond that unites man to the divine, and to one another.

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