BEYOND EXTREMISM, HATRED, AND VIOLENCE by R.E. Markham

BEYOND EXTREMISM, HATRED, AND VIOLENCE

Toward a More Peaceful World
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A call for a broader, more compassionate version of spirituality.

Despite the fact that his nonfiction debut contains a vague chart of fundamentalist Christian vintage (with “God, Heaven, Angels” on the top, for instance, and “Demons, Hell, Satan” on the bottom), Markham delves into a far more ecumenical and broad-based spiritual schema. He characterizes God as “the mysterious, underlying source of all existence” and asserts that underneath the “blitz” of the modern world—exemplified by advertisements, politics, and the nonstop news cycle—there’s a deeper level of reality, a spiritual level to which everybody is connected, whether they realize it or not: “is it not reasonable to accept the possibility that reality has a dimension that is an impenetrable void inaccessible to sense and intellect?” he asks. This mysterious level, he says, can be a help to people during times of loss or despair: “knowingly or not, they draw upon a deep reservoir of spirit that enables them to comprehend their situation in a larger perspective.” Secular readers will naturally object to being implicated in such an explicitly religious worldview, but Markham’s clear, easygoing prose emphasizes that commonality is more important than doctrine: “Realizing that we’re all in this together on this speck of dust can help us have compassion for one another even when we disagree.” While referencing a wide array of sources, such as Karen Armstrong’s The Case for God and Crane Brinton’s The Shaping of Modern Thought, Markham effectively offers a path out of what he sees as social conditioning: “we must find a way to short-circuit business as usual,” he writes. Overall, he presents a liberal, inclusive reading of the Judeo-Christian tradition as a way forward, but readers of other faiths will also find plenty of substance in these pages.

A wide-ranging, thought-provoking look at faith and the nature of reality.

Page count: 82pp
Publisher: Shires Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2017