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Truth over Fear

Combating the Lies about Islam

Charles Kimball

  • 8/19/2019
  • 066426462X
  • 978-0-664-26462-8
  • Paperback
  • 7-10 days processing

Product Details

  • Paperback
  • 158
  • 5.5 x 8.5
  • 8.00 oz

Product Excerpts and Related Resources


“This book is highly useful to wipe out lies about Islam from the public sphere. As a guidebook, the style of presentation and the language are simple and easily attainable without any theoretical smoke and mirrors. The questions at the end of each chapter encourage the reader to revise the aforementioned concepts and to engage critically with the subject at hand.” —Reading Religion

“A welcome addition to a growing genre by Christian authors which seeks to address and mitigate the ‘fear and confusion’ about Islam and Muslims in their home countries.”

Church Times

“In today’s academy, religious studies professors seldom address theological questions so directly and with such insight as Charles Kimball. His book is urgently needed, not only to correct our dangerous misconceptions about Islam but also to challenge simplistic understandings of religion held by persons of faith and agnostics alike. Kimball guides even those with little background through complex issues and in the process opens up whole new ways to think about a meaningful life of faith.”

Helen Lee Turner, Reuben B. Pitts Professor of Religion, Furman University

“‘But what can I do?’ well-meaning Christians often ask when confronted with the Islamophobia that permeates our nation. For starters, we could read Charles Kimball’s informative book Truth over Fear. Not only will we receive an overview of Islam and the story of Muslim-Christian interchange through the last six hundred years, we will gain the resources we need for not bearing false witness against our neighbors, for loving our neighbors, and for living peaceably with all our neighbors into a future marked by respect and care rather than hate and harm.”

Nancy Claire Pittman, President and Stephen J. England Associate Professor of the Practice of Ministry, Phillips Theological Seminary

“Charles Kimball’s latest book, Truth over Fear, is a timely and concise read on Islam and the Muslim-Christian relationship, which should not only be in every pastor’s library but also read widely by non-clergy in order to combat the general lack of understanding among Americans about the world’s second largest religion.”

—Rev. Dr. Robert S. Rice, former Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Norman, Oklahoma

“At a time when a chorus of strident voices seems to point to Islam on a daily basis as the root of all evil, Charles Kimball’s new book offers clarity and insight. Kimball provides an informative overview of Islam; an immensely helpful history of Muslim-Christian relations, including a thorough analysis of the geopolitical shifts of the last half century in the Middle East and their implications for interfaith and multinational relationships; and an assessment of current challenges and future opportunities. He faces head-on the distortions within Islam, Christianity, and other faiths that lead to conflict and violence. He charts a path with practical help for the faithful to engage in interfaith dialogue without giving up their missionary calling, a way to respect other views without succumbing to theological relativism—with the minimal goal of not bearing false witness against our neighbor and the lofty goal of increasing the love of God and neighbor (teachings common to all three Abrahamic faiths). My hope is that Truth over Fear will reach a broad audience of clergy and laity, elected officials and ordinary citizens, Christians and Muslims, and others. Our shared future may depend on a willingness to engage the subject matter of this book.”

—Dr. Christopher C. F. Chapman, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Raleigh, North Carolina

“In this book Charles Kimball addresses a critically important topic with expertise and sensitivity. As one who works in contexts of severe Christian and Muslim extremism and conflict, I am deeply aware of how narrow theologies of exclusivity and attitudes of superiority hinder efforts at peacemaking. This highly readable and useful volume will no doubt make a significant contribution toward broadening Christian theological notions and alleviating misconceptions and fears about Islam.”

—Rev. Dr. Shanta Premawardhana, President, OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership

“In Truth over Fear: Combating the Lies about Islam, Charles Kimball has once again given us a great gift. Professor Kimball offers us the challenge to better understand Islam and to be wary of rampant and uninformed Islamophobia. He points out the dangerous consequences of misinformation, fear, and prejudice not least among them. His call for a new paradigm offers us great hope. Having known Charles since his first days as a graduate student at Harvard, and having worked with him closely during the U.S.-Iran hostage crisis, I am well aware of his lifelong commitment to a more peaceful world through engagement and deeper understanding. This book is the result of that lifelong journey. I cannot imagine a better guide than Charles Kimball.”

—John Walsh, Omer E. Robbins Chaplain to the University of Redlands and Director of the Jameson Center for the Study of Religion and Ethics

“Drawing on rich personal, professional, and scholarly experience, Charles Kimball offers a vital and compelling on-ramp to demystifying Islam and supporting positive Christian-Muslim relations. Grounded in Christian biblical mandates, he gets to the heart of Islam and many of the roots of our fears of Islam, while not avoiding tough conversations about doctrinal differences and histories of violence. Exceedingly accessible, this book is a welcome resource for Christian clergy and laity seeking to educate themselves about Islam and interfaith dialogue. The timing could not be more important; these are the peacemaking conversations to which we are called and Kimball walks gently but assuredly alongside those beginning the journey.” 

C. Melissa Snarr, Associate Professor of Ethics and Society, Vanderbilt Divinity School

“A wise and timely guide for Muslim-Christian relations, richly informed by years of study, experience, and engagement with Muslims both internationally and locally. Evocative questions at the end of each chapter make the book a perfect tool for interfaith dialogue in mosques and churches.”

E. Glenn Hinson, Professor Emeritus of Church History, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond

“We live in an interconnected and highly interdependent world, one that is increasingly susceptible to fear, false narratives, mounting mistrust, and religious bias. It is inside this context that Dr. Charles Kimball calls for a new way of thinking and engaging one another. Truth over Fear provides a light of understanding on the complexities of today, pointing to a new moment of vision, a world that all faith traditions value.”

—Rev. Dr. Jonathan Barton, former General Minister of the Virginia Council of Churches

“Charles Kimball has a lifetime of interfaith ministry, scholarly investigation, insightful teaching, and patient modeling for the task of building bridges of peace and understanding between Muslims and Christians. He now brings a goldmine of valuable historical and religious information to correct misinformation and help persons of both religions grow in their understanding and respect of each other. He brings a healing word and a tool for further healing in a time when it is desperately needed.”

—Richard Olsen, Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Theology, Central Baptist Theological Seminary; author of Side by Side: Being Christian in a Multifaith World

“Dr. Charles Kimball’s newest volume, Truth over Fear: Combatting the Lies about Islam, is his most extensive and significant book since the publication of his post-9/11 volumes When Religion Becomes Evil and When Religion Becomes Lethal. There is no one in America more knowledgeable about the hopes and fears of Islam in the twenty-first century and how other nations and faith traditions can relate to this second largest religion in the world. All of his six chapters reveal a deep and insightful message about how Islam has grown, why it is misunderstood by so many people, and what Muslims, Jews, Christians, and others can do to build bridges instead of barriers. The last chapter, titled ‘Peaceful Coexistence and Cooperation in a Dangerous World: Living into a Healthy and Hopeful Future,’ provides a visionary outlook, a theological framework, and a practical approach to healing old wounds and learning to live together in peace. And the questions for discussion at the end of each chapter are accessible to large audiences, small groups, and individuals who desire to move forward instead of remaining resistant to the keys that can help to unlock discernment and dialogue for the future. This book can and will have a profound impact on all those who read it and choose to share it with a wider constituency.”
—Dr. George B. Wirth, Pastor Emeritus, First Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, Georgia

“Dr. Charles Kimball creates a powerful new paradigm for people of goodwill seeking the truth about Islam. Focusing on building community, Dr. Kimball provides a path for goodwill Christians and Muslims to learn from another and embark on a collaborative effort for a more hopeful tomorrow.”

Rev. Dr. R. Mitch Randall, Executive Director, EthicsDaily.com

“This excellent book is a valuable guide for interfaith education and conversation. Drawing on his scholarly expertise in both Islamic and Christian studies, Professor Charles Kimball provides insightful information from both faiths, while challenging certain misrepresentations that often contribute to mistrust and animosity. To call its publication timely is an understatement.” 

Bill J. Leonard, Dunn Professor of Baptist Studies and Church History Emeritus, Wake Forest University

“With wisdom born through vast experience and deep hope, Dr. Kimball invites us to engage heart and mind as we learn and discern what is true and best in our faith traditions. In a time when fear passes for fact, Truth over Fear provides a depth of information and a way for conversation and actions to build bridges of understanding and pathways for peace.”

—The Rev. David Spain, Senior Minister, First Christian Church, Norman, Oklahoma

“With his Truth over Fear, Charles Kimball continues the journey begun in his earlier works, When Religion Becomes Evil and When Religion Becomes Lethal, mapping the tripwires that often erupt in religion-inspired conflict. This time, though, he specifically and helpfully focuses on Christian-Muslim relations and—as a scholar committed to the life of local communities of faith—helps Christians identify and depose the lies that stand in the way of genuine interfaith respect (and, maybe, affection) in ways that can heal the larger tears in our social fabric.”

Ken Sehested, curator of prayerandpolitiks.org and coauthor of Peace Primer II: Quotes from Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Scripture and Tradition

“There are very few Christian scholars of Islam whose education, experience, and engagement with Muslims qualify them as the most trustworthy resources for understanding and relating to the second largest religion in the world. Among Catholics, John Esposito is that person, while among Protestants, Charles Kimball is arguably the one to whom Christians should turn. With clear, compelling prose Kimball provides doctrinal explanation, historical overview, biblical and theological insight, and interfaith perspective to counter the fear and misinformation perpetuated by Islamophobia.  Helpful, thought provoking discussion questions at the end of each chapter make this highly recommended book extremely useful for both individual and group learning.”

Robert P. Sellers, former Chair, Parliament of the World’s Religions; Professor of Theology Emeritus and Connally Chair of Missions Emeritus, Hardin-Simmons University

“I can think of no more eloquent or accessible guide to combating popular untruths about Islam than Charles Kimball. A lifelong student of world religions, theologically nimble, deeply knowledgeable of the Qur’an, and experienced in dialogue and the politics of the Middle East, this Baptist scholar offers a pathway for Christians to engage Islam with insight and respect. A long concern of the author has been how religion is used to justify destructive behavior, and in this latest offering, Kimball provides a voice that our fraught times urgently need to hear.”

—Molly T. Marshall, PhD, President and Professor of Theology and Spiritual Formation, Central Baptist Theological Seminary

“Charles Kimball has done it yet again: in this concise exploration of Christian-Muslim relations, he provides a map through the contemporary morass of stereotypes and misinformation about Islam, a lack of understanding and respect, and a myopic and distorted view of Islam as a religion that is inherently evil and violent. Truth over Fear will indispensably serve a wide audience of persons who want to learn more about Muslims and their faith and actions, and it will nurture more constructive relations between the world’s two largest religions. Toward that end, Dr. Kimball challenges misunderstandings of Islam and seeks to root out deep biases about Muslims that stoke fear and anger.”

The Reverend Clifford Chalmers Cain, PhD, Harrod-C.S. Lewis Professor of Religious Studies, Westminster College

 “Honesty demands that we admit how little most of us know about the world’s second largest religion or how often that ignorance has enabled the forces of hatred and division. We need to do more than just feel regret. We need to study, to learn, and to bear witness to the truth. Charles Kimball has written an invaluable resource and explained through personal experience why the stakes are so high. In this straightforward primer, complete with discussion questions, Professor Kimball invites us all to class. Attendance is required if we are to survive. Take. Read. Understand. Repeat. It is hard to imagine a more timely book.

Rev. Robin Meyers, PhD, Senior Minister of Mayflower Congregational UCC Church, Oklahoma City; Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Oklahoma City University; and author of Saving God from Religion: A Minister’s Search for Faith in a Skeptical Age

“If ever we needed this book, we need it now. If ever we needed a competent, committed Christian to write it, we have found him in Charles Kimball. And if you are a Christian, here is both what you need to know and what you need to do to bring about a more peaceful world. I wish every adult Sunday school class in America would study it.”

—Dr. Walter B. Shurden, Minister at Large, Mercer University

Truth over Fear goes to the top of my list of resources for Christians wanting to understand the faith of their Islamic neighbors and engage in authentic, respectful, informed dialogue that does not sacrifice the distinctiveness of either faith but acknowledges important common ground for building communities of peace. Kimball articulately counters the myths of the clash of cultures and Islam as a monolithic force to be feared. The chapter on the missionary mandate and interfaith dialogue will be very helpful to Christians who wrestle with whether evangelism or dialogue is their most faithful response to people of other faiths.”

—Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley, General Secretary Emeritus, American Baptist Churches; Cofounder of the North American Baptist-Muslim Dialogue; Chairperson of the Commission on Interfaith Relations of the Baptist World Alliance

“In Truth over Fear, Charles Kimball distills several decades of immersion experience in the Christian faith, deep study of Islam, and direct engagement in Muslims-Christian relations in a variety of contexts to give us perhaps the most lucid, comprehensive, and reliable account of Islam, and the past, present, and the possible future relationship between Christians and Muslims. It is brutally honest about the truth and lies that have beset this relationship over the centuries. By posing searching questions for discussion at the end of each chapter, Kimball invites all of us to reflect in depth about the many facets of this relationship that will have far-reaching consequences to our life as a human community in the decades ahead. I hope that clergy, study groups, and those engaged in teaching or facilitating Muslim-Christian relations will use and promote this volume as an invaluable resource for understanding and fostering Muslim-Christian relations today.”

—Rev. Dr. S. Wesley Ariarajah, Professor Emeritus of Ecumenical Theology at the Drew University School of Theology and former Director of the Interfaith Dialogue Program of the World Council of Churches; author of: The Bible and People of Other Faiths, Not without My Neighbour, and Strangers or Co-Pilgrims? The Impact of Interfaith Dialogue on Christian Faith and Practice

“I highly recommend Charles Kimball’s Truth over Fear as a must-read for anyone seeking to better understand Islam and the relationships among different faith traditions in the twenty-first century. This insightful and accessible book covers the basic tenets of Islam while also calling for a faithful response and peaceful coexistence. Kimball’s expertise and years of experience in ministry and international religious dialogue provide key insights for anyone desiring to combat ‘the lies about Islam’ and to live in peace and harmony with their Muslim neighbors.”

Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, Executive Director of Churches for Middle East Peace; editor of A Land Full of God: Christian Perspectives on the Holy Land; author of Social Justice Handbook: Small Steps for a Better World and Just Spirituality: How Faith Practices Fuel Social Action

 “Charles Kimball’s remarkable new book captures the rich fruits of his forty years in Christian ministry, interfaith activism, university teaching, and global ecumenical outreach. He explains all the critical issues in Christian-Muslim relations, which he has lived through and worked on for decades. Clearly and concisely, he offers vital historical and theological background along with practical suggestions for how individuals and communities can break down the walls of ignorance, fear, and mistrust that plague us today. If you are concerned, confused, or just curious about tensions between Christians and Muslims, this is the place to start walking toward understanding and peace.”   

Rami G. Khouri, syndicated columnist, Agence Global Syndicate, USA; Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Kennedy School, Harvard University; Senior Public Policy Fellow, Journalist-in-Residence, and Adjunct Professor of journalism, American University of Beirut

“As a close colleague and an interfaith partner with Charles Kimball, I have witnessed first-hand his sincerity and dedication to peace. This book encapsulates interfaith cooperation that is so urgently needed today by presenting a pragmatic approach to interfaith relations and peace building. Read this book with an open heart and mind and it will not only transform you to be an advocate for healthy interfaith relationships, but it will also make you a partner for peace.”

Dr. Imad S. Enchassi, Senior Imam, Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City; Mercy Chair of Islamic Studies and Muslim Chaplain, Oklahoma City University

“Drawing on his academic expertise as well as on his long-standing, on-the-ground experience in promoting Muslim-Christian relations in the Middle East, Kimball offers Christians both an antidote to Islamophobia and practical guidelines for engaging and working with their Muslim neighbors. Clearly written, this is a book that both instructs and inspires. Highly recommended for both parish discussion groups and undergraduate classrooms.”  

—Paul F. Knitter, Paul Tillich Emeritus Professor of Theology and World Religions, Union Theological Seminary

Truth over Fear: Combating the Lies about Islam is an important, engaging, and accessible book, a “must read” for our times when Islamophobia has become normalized. Charles Kimball, prominent Islamic studies scholar and a leader in Christian-Muslim relations nationally and internationally, enables a broad readership to understand and overcome the lies that have fueled Islamophobia: anti-Muslim bias, discrimination, and the hate crimes that have affected the lives and civil liberties of Muslims in the United States, Europe, China, Myanmar, New Zealand and beyond.”

—John L. Esposito, Founding Director of the Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, and author of The Future of Islam.

“Charles Kimball has written an important book: a text that is all at once a primer on Islam, a practical guide for peacemakers, and an inspirational vision for a world based on interfaith cooperation. Read this book and join the movement to make faith a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division.”

Dr. Eboo Patel, Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core, author of Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation and Out of Many Faiths: Religious Diversity and the American Promise

“This slim book is so full of vital information, lived experience, and practical guidance that it should weigh pounds instead of ounces—but above all else, it is filled with hope. I finished the last page with a great swell of gratitude to Charles Kimball for showing me how Christians and Muslims of good faith can work together for the common good, living up to the highest teachings of their traditions at the same time. Don't buy one copy—buy a dozen, since you will want to give this book to everyone you know.”

—Barbara Brown Taylor, author of Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others

“Charles Kimball, one of our best teachers, powerfully calls us to recognize what the Muslim faith truly is, despite how it is misconstrued and demonized. He teaches us that the hard work of understanding different faiths is a way to genuinely find peace and justice in the world. Truth over Fear gives me hope for how our different faith traditions, each being what they distinctly are, can together help transform the world instead of helping tear it apart. I can think of no better book for those seeking a practical and deeply empathetic treatment of interfaith understanding and cooperation.”

—Jim Wallis, New York Times bestselling author of America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America, President of Sojourners, and Editor-in-Chief of Sojourners magazine


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