Today the Quran is used by some to justify acts of terrorism, the Torah to deny Palestinians the right to live in the land of Israel, and the Bible to condemn homosexuality and contraception. But as Karen Armstrong shows, such overly literal readings of scripture are a relatively recent, modern phenomenon. For most of their history, the world's religious traditions have regarded these texts as tools that enable the individual to connect with the divine, to experience a different level of consciousness, and to help them engage with the world in more meaningful and compassionate ways.
"Both nonbelievers and believers will find her diagnosis—that most people now read scripture to confirm their own views, rather than to achieve transformation—on the mark…. This is an instant classic of accessible and relevant religious history."—Publishers Weekly (starred)