Author(s): Dan Cohn-Sherbok
Christians, Muslims and Jews all stem from one man, Abraham, and yet relations between them are so often strained. Three men of faith - one Jew, one Muslim and one Christian - debate the differences between them. The result is a compelling discussion: What do their faiths teach on the big issues of life? What can be done to make for better relationships in the future? What can be done on the big global areas of conflict and tension? How can they get along? For hundreds of years, many of the biggest global conflicts have been fuelled by religious hatred and prejudice. It is evident, in the early part of the 21st century that not much has changed. Whether it is fundamentalist Muslims waging jihad in Afghanistan and Pakistan, or the perpetual low scale hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians, to the man in the street, religion seems to make people more likely to fight each other, not less. Why is this? Why Can't They Get Along? is a powerful and much needed account. Current, passionate and compelling it is essential reading.
The contributors' candid and critical trialogue about their respective religious beliefs and traditions shows that whether they agree or disagree, and they do both, they can indeed get along. -- HRH Princess Badiya of Jordan This is a profoundly helpful and timely book. It offers a model of what respectful dialogue between the Abrahamic faiths can reveal and in so doing removes popular misunderstandings and confusions and lifts the conversation onto an honest evaluation of difference and complementarity. The practical focus on how believers from all three faiths address life questions and make moral decisions and judgments is also really useful. The authors' faith commitments give the book a key ingredient: lived expertise and humility in the face of what they try to present to us. This is a book that every leader of a faith community ought to read and be able to commend. -- The Very Reverend Adrian Dorber, Dean of Lichfield This absorbing book... is a model of a new type of interfaith dialogue no longer afraid to confront where and why the three Abrahamic faiths part company. It could well prove humanity's best, if not only, hope of peacefully resolving some of its oldest and most intractable conflicts. -- Professor David Conway, Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Civitas, Institute for the Study of Civil Society This open and honest book confirms my conviction developed over many years that humane and responsive practitioners of different religions have more in common with each other than they do with the rigid literalists of their own religion. A Jew, a Christian and a Muslim, each learned in their own faith, eloquently outline the beliefs of their tradition, illustrate how much they share, and where they differ point out those differences with the courtesy and respect that has to be the precondition of any serious interfaith dialogue. -- Rabbi Dr David J. Goldberg OBE, Emeritus Rabbi, The Liberal Jewish Synagogue, London A most illuminating and unparalleled introduction to the complexities and rewards of genuine interfaith dialogue. The richness and uniqueness of this book lies in how the authors - from their vastly different and distinctive cultural backgrounds, and from years of personal and mature reflection - engage in a conversation with openness and respect that must surely persuade the reader of the need for understanding and tolerance towards the beliefs and sensitivities of all those who share the heritage of Abraham. An authoritative, yet most accessible, distillation of what can unite but also what can separate the "peoples of the book". -- Professor Martin O'Kane, University of Wales Trinity Saint David El-Alami, Cohn-Sherbok, and Chryssides have produced a genuine interreligious conversation, providing the reader with a delightful Abrahamic encounter. This book consists of a series of honest dialogues between a Jew, Christian, and Muslim, which result in an engaging narrative of co-existence. -- Dr Edward Kessler MBE, Founder Director, Woolf Institute, Cambridge In the twenty-first century, religious conflict and extremism continues to result in violence and destruction despite all three of the Abrahamic faiths calling for peace, pluralism, and co-existence. This timely book is essential reading in emphasising the importance of honest and constructive dialogue between Jews, Muslims, and Christians and in highlighting that as human beings, there is far more that unites us than divides us. -- Sara Khan, Director, Inspire Why Can't They Get Along is an invaluable text for undergraduate religious studies. It is generally valuable in providing students with the example of interfaith dialogue, demonstrating how one can discuss controversial issues in a respectful manner whilst maintaining the integrity of one's faith position. It is specifically valuable for undergraduate students as an exploration of the methodology of interfaith dialogue, and as an insight to the details of the position of each faith on featured topics. Rather than just going over the old ground of controversy, there are attempts by these experienced scholars, who have some understanding of each other's traditions, to offer solutions to the historical impasse. -- Dr Deirdre Burke, Religious Studies, University of Wolverhampton This is a model of what dialogue should be: spelling out overlaps and differences, while taking both seriously. Best of all, the authors attend to detail. We are not "all going the same way", yet we have much to love and much to grapple with in what seem to be roughly equal proportions. Both the loving and the grappling must continue in this vein. -- The Very Reverend Christopher Lewis, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford
Professor Dan Cohn-Sherbok is a Reform Judaism Rabbi, Professor Emeritus of Judaism at the University of Wales, and a Visiting Research Fellow at Heythrop college. He is also a prolific author, and was a Finalist in the Times Preacher of the year competition in 2011. Dr Dawoud El-Alami is a lawyer and academic who has held appointments at the University of Kent in Canterbury, the University of Oxford, Al Al-Bayt University in Jordan, and the University of Wales, Lampeter. Dr George D. Chryssides is Honorary Research Fellow in Contemporary Religion at the University of Birmingham. He holds a MA in Philosophy and a BD in Systematic Theology from the University of Glasgow and a DPhil in Philosophy of Religion from the University of Oxford. He has a particular interest in new religious movements, on which he has published extensively.