For a Kinder, Gentler Society
A Fatal Addiction
War in the Name of God
  • Tom Block
Reviews Table of Contents Introduction «Back
A Fatal Addiction. War in the Name of God
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How could it be that my nation, one of the most religious countries in the world, is also the most violent? Do God and war define the American spirit as much as apple pie and baseball?

“A Fatal Addiction” explores the “violence of God” tradition as it exists in all religions (including Buddhism), and then examines how this dynamic is flipped, with political leaders using spiritual and religious language to sell war to the general public.

Although God and religion have often been used to sell war in the United States, this has been especially true since 9/11/01. After surveying the relationship of war and the spiritual quest in the major world religions, this study concludes with an overview of how that dynamic has affected the contemporary American public discourse on war.


About the Author

Thomas Block is a writer and artist who has exhibited in solo and group shows across the United States and in Spain and Portugal for the last 20 years. He currently has several nonfiction books, a trilogy of plays, and a series of paintings in the works.

Tom published his first nonfiction work, “Shalom/Salaam: A Story of a Mystical Fraternity,” in the United States and in Turkey in 2010. Publishers Weekly said: “Block's evident enthusiasm for the revelation of these common roots as a way forward for Muslim–Jewish relations propels this great read.” 

Writing about Tom’s exhibition of murals and performances of his 2012 play, collectively titled “White Noise,” one reviewer said, “As the paintings indicated, there’s a lot going on beneath the surface of this particular artist. . . . [and] there’s a lot going on in this 80-minute production. It’s not strictly a night at the theatre, though. It’s a night in the gallery, a fascinating and rewarding look at the multiple dimensions of faith, theory, and inspiration that go into Block’s work.” [DC Theatre Scene, June 11, 2012] That description aptly sums up the richness of thought and depth of perspective found in Tom's books.

In 2013, Tom was an invited participant in the Jiwar Artist Residency in Barcelona, Spain, and he was invited to give an interview with Steven Appel, Assistant Director of the Queens College Center for Ethnic, Racial & Religious Understanding in New York, with developmental readings of three plays in Manhattan in December. His first novel, The Fool Returns, was published in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2012.

About the Book

This unsettling book reviews specific instances of “holy war” as proposed in the holy books of the major faith traditions, and illustrates how bellicose, war-like language is used to explain the spiritual quest. The author proposes that this...

This unsettling book reviews specific instances of “holy war” as proposed in the holy books of the major faith traditions, and illustrates how bellicose, war-like language is used to explain the spiritual quest. The author proposes that this intermingling of war and spirituality prepares the population for the coming of war. War as spiritual practice appears inevitable, due to this religio-violent  education which is woven through all faith traditions. The institutional blending of the sacred and human aggression appear to be fundamental to human society.

The second section of the book particularizes this dynamic within our contemporary, American social and political milieu. It concentrates on the political language and speeches of American politicians since 2002, following the run-up to the Iraq war and its continuation over the past decade, showing exactly how this mystical/war conflation permeates American society.

This book has large potential readership, including academics and lay readers concerned with the fields of war, political science, peace and conflict resolution, religion, spirituality and general social history.

Students from West Point to St. John’s of Annapolis will find it challenging and informative, perhaps changing their conception of war, religion and human society.


Introduction
"It must be acknowledged that war has been almost as pathologically studied as it has been waged. From the first exploration of this institution, in Herodotus's (d. 425 B.C.E.) The Histories, through the most recent reportage about the current war (whichever that might be as you read this!), countless investigators, historians, pundits, poets...
"It must be acknowledged that war has been almost as pathologically studied as it has been waged. From the first exploration of this institution, in Herodotus's (d. 425 B.C.E.) The Histories, through the most recent reportage about the current war (whichever that might be as you read this!), countless investigators, historians, pundits, poets and journalists have examined the causes of war in a myriad of manners. Yet all of their conclusions have failed to explain, once and for all, the genesis of this endemic human experience...”
More Information
Tom's theatrical work "White Noise" is being performed in 2013 in New York City. He talks about his work in an interview here: Interview
Tom's theatrical work "White Noise" is being performed in 2013 in New York City. He talks about his work in an interview here: Interview
Reviews
Tikkun Daily, Tom Block: An Activist Artist Who Infiltrates and Inspires | More »
ReadTheSpirit | More »

Pages 226
Year: 2012
BISAC: REL017000 RELIGION / Comparative Religion
BISAC: REL116000 RELIGION / Religious Intolerance, Persecution & Conflict
BISAC: REL084000 RELIGION / Religion, Politics & State
Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-930-8
Price: USD 22.95
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-931-5
Price: USD 32.95
eBook
ISBN: 978-0-87586-932-2
Price: USD 22.95
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