Under the Banner of Heaven

Nathanael Yellis By Nathanael Yellis • Last Updated May 18, 2021

It's no surprise to my regular readers: I'm behind. The goal for 2014, which Andrew inspired me to set, is to not only read fifty books, but also to write about them, here. Thus this series of posts. I've read eleven books, putting me over 20% of the way there, but have four or five read but not blogged, thus putting me further behind. Here's a book I read in January, after picking it up at a used bookstore in Alexandria. This is the placeholder I wrote to remind me to make the full post:

Why does faith make people insane?

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent FaithUnder the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Setting aside, if you can, the author's ultimate anti-religious thesis, Krakauer's book on Mormons is a must-read for the religious. Why? Because I think he's right: all faiths require some variation of setting aside reality. And thus they're dangerous. Not wrong, as Krakauer concludes, necessarily, but certainly requiring caution. The bone-chilling murder that leads off the book should be enough to convince you. If not, the rest of the book, mostly about Mormonism's incredible genesis and almost literal exodus, should be taken as a warning sign.

As a deeply religious person, I appreciated this work. It ought to be a corrective to our extremists.



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