This lucid little book began as the William Belden Noble Lectures, which deal with Christian faith and contemporary issues. Gingerich, a retired astronomer and historian of science, is also a Christian who taught for many years at Harvard.
One can’t quibble with the breadth and eclecticism of this volume, which anthologizes poets as different as Anne Bradstreet, Emily Dickinson, T. S. Eliot and Allen Ginsberg. In the book Bloom pushes the limits of what can be considered religious or spiritual, since he includes agnostic voices.
Early in his introduction, Glen Stassen asks why a book on the Sermon on the Mount belongs in Jossey-Bass’s series called Enduring Questions in Christian Life. The Sermon on the Mount is indeed an enduring question as well as a central biblical text.
When someone asks me why Muslims don't denounce terrorism, I suggest that he or she Google the words “fatwa against terrorism” (80,000 hits), or name cities in the Muslim world that held major demonstrations against the 9/11 attacks (Tehran, Karachi). Most Muslims do not approve of terrorism. Their response to it is fear—fear of extremists who seem unconstrained by mainstream Islamic law, fear of a son or daughter becoming a "holy warrior," fear for the future of an entire faith community.