Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

By Jon Krakauer

3.99 - ratings 166,258

A Story of Violent FaithA multilayered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, savage violence, polygamy, and unyielding faith. This is vintage Krakauer, an utterly compelling work of nonfiction that illuminates an otherwise confounding realm of human behavior.Jon Krakauer’s literary reputation rests on insightful chronicles of lives conducted at the outer limits. A Story of Violent FaithA multilayered,...

Book details

2004 by Pan MacMillan

(first published July 10th 2003)

Edition Language
English

Quotes From "Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith"

"There is a dark side to religious devotion that is too often ignored or denied. As a means of motivating people to be cruel or inhumane, there may be no more potent force than religion. When the subject of religiously inspired bloodshed comes up, many Americans immediately think of Islamic fundamentalism, which is to be expected in the wake of 911. But men have been committing heinous acts in the name of God ever since mankind began believing in deities, and extremists exist within all religions. Muhammad is not the only prophet whose words have been used to sanction barbarism; history has not lacked for Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, and even Buddhists who have been motivated by scripture to butcher innocents. Plenty of these religious extremist have been homegrown, corn-fed Americans."
"Common sense is no match for the voice of God."
"As a means of motivating people to be cruel or inhumane-as a means of inciting evil, to borrow the vocabulary of the devout-there may be no more potent force than religion."
"But some things are more important than being happy. Like being free to think for yourself."
"Although the far territory of the extreme can exert an intoxicating pull on susceptible individuals of all bents, extremism seems to be especially prevalent among those inclined by temperament or upbringing toward religious pursuits. Faith is the very antithesis of reason, injudiciousness a crucial component of spiritual devotion. And when religious fanaticism supplants ratiocination, all bets are suddenly off."
"…such criticism and mockery are largely beside the point. All religious belief is a function of nonrational faith. And faith, by its very definition, tends to be impervious to to intellectual argument or academic criticism. Polls routinely indicate, moreover, that nine out of ten Americans believe in God—most of us subscribe to one brand of religion or another. Those who would assail The Book of Mormon should bear in mind that its veracity is no more dubious than the veracity of the Bible, say, or the Qur'an, or the sacred texts of most other religions. The latter texts simply enjoy the considerable advantage of having made their public debut in the shadowy recesses of the ancient past, and are thus much harder to refute."
"Neither Emma's tears nor her rage were enough to make Joseph monogamous, however; nor were the prevailing mores of the day. He kept falling rapturously in love with women not his wife. And because that rapture was so wholly consuming, and felt so good, it struck him as impossible that God might possibly frown on such a thing."
"...Both Elizabeth [Smart] and Ruby [Jessop] were fourteen when they were kidnapped, raped and "kept captive by polygamous fanatics." The main difference in the girls' respective ordeals...is that "Elizabeth was brainwashed for nine months," while Ruby had been brainwashed by polygamist fanatics "since birth." Despite the similarity of their plights, Elizabeth's abusers were jailed and charged with sexual assault, aggravated burglary, and aggravated kidnapping, while Ruby... "was returned to her abusers, no real investigation was done, no charges brought against anyone" involved."

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