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The Duty to Obey and the Duty to Disobey

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A Profound and Stirring Call to Action in Our Troubled World—from One of America's Great Religious Leaders

"Conscience may be understood as the hidden inner compass that guides our lives and must be searched for and recovered repeatedly. At no time more than our own is this need to retrieve the shards of broken conscience more urgent."
—from the Introduction

This clarion call to rethink our moral and political behavior examines the idea of conscience and the role conscience plays in our relationships to government, law, ethics, religion, human nature and God—and to each other. From Abraham to Abu Ghraib, from the dissenting prophets to Darfur, Rabbi Harold Schulweis probes history, the Bible and the works of contemporary thinkers for ideas about both critical disobedience and uncritical obedience. He illuminates the potential for evil and the potential for good that rests within us as individuals and as a society.

By questioning religion's capacity—and will—to break from mindless conformity, Rabbi Schulweis challenges us to counter our current suppressive culture of obedience with the culture of moral compassion, and to fulfill religion’s obligation to make room for and carry out courageous moral dissent.

From Publishers Weekly

Sep 15, 2008 – In this articulate and cogent treatise, Schulweis, longtime congregational rabbi and founding chairman of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, argues that acts of disobedience can be appropriate and moral when law violates conscience. Referencing the Midrash, Bible and Talmud, he argues that both the popular understanding of God as a being who cannot be contradicted and of Judaism as a religion that requires uncompromising obedience to authority is mistaken. Throughout Jewish history, he explains, rabbis have created ingenious legal maneuvers to eliminate laws they found unconscionable, such as making capital punishment so difficult to implement that it became obsolete. Furthermore, God s engagement with humanity, most famously his interaction with Abraham before he destroys Sodom, indicates a willingness for confrontations promoting morality and righteousness. Schulweis s broad knowledge is evident as he intersperses biblical anecdotes with philosophical theories, as is his ability to make his thesis relevant by including material on the Holocaust and references to Abu Ghraib. Whether religious or not, readers concerned with the culture of mindless complicity will find this volume revealing and enlightening.
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  • $16.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Judaism
  • Published: Jun 07, 2012
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Seller: Ingram DV LLC
  • Print Length: 160 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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