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How Good Do We Have to Be? A New Understanding of Guilt and Forgiveness [Paperback]

By Harold S. Kushner, Paul Auster (Translator), Ivan Klima (Foreward By), Phil Gigante (Narrator), N. P. Chang (Contributor), Bryn Thomas (Contributor) & Joel W. Grube
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Item Number 158784  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.2" Width: 5" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.4 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 15, 2016
Publisher   Back Bay Books
ISBN  0316519332  
EAN  9780316519335  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Explores the destructive effects of perfectionism and self-righteousness

Publishers Description
From the author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People comes an inspiring new bestseller that puts human feelings of guilt and inadequacy in perspective - and teaches us how we can learn to accept ourselves and others even when we and they are less than perfect. How Good Do We Have to Be? is for everyone who experiences that sense of guilt and disappointment. Harold Kushner, writing with his customary generosity and wisdom, shows us how human life is too complex for anyone to live it without making mistakes, and why we need not fear the loss of God's love when we are less than perfect. Harold Kushner begins by offering a radically new interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve, which he sees as a tale of Paradise Outgrown rather than Paradise Lost: eating from the Tree of Knowledge was not an act of disobedience, but a brave step forward toward becoming human, complete with the richness of work, sexuality and child-rearing, and a sense of our mortality. Drawing on modern literature, psychology, theology,, and his own thirty years of experience as a congregational rabbi, Harold Kushner reveals how acceptance and forgiveness can change our relationships with the most important people in our lives and help us meet the bold and rewarding challenge of being huma

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More About Harold S. Kushner, Paul Auster, Ivan Klima, Phil Gigante, N. P. Chang, Bryn Thomas & Joel W. Grube

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Donn Kushner was born in Louisiana in 1927 and moved to Canada in 1948. He was a microbiologist and Professor Emeritus at the Universities of Ottawa and Toronto. Donn Kushner also wrote a number of very successful children's books including" A Book Dragon, which was shortlisted for a Governor General's Award. His other passion was playing violin and viola in chamber groups. Donn Kushner passed away in September 2001.
Sylvie Daigneault has been writing and illustrating for children for many years. Originally from Quebec, she is one of Canada's top children's authors and illustrators. She lives in Toronto with her husband, Doug Panton, who is also an illustrator.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
How Good Do We Have to Be?: A New Understanding of Guilt and Forgiveness   Jan 25, 2008
Good read and intersting philosphy. Book arrived in condition described. Am pleased with this purchase. Thank you.
How Good DO We Have To be? A New Understanding of guilt and Forgiveness  Nov 4, 2006
This was all I had hoped it would be. It was received in good condition and in a timely manner
something for everyone  Jul 20, 2006
Review of How Good Do We Have To Be: A New Understanding of Guilt and Forgiveness by Harold S. Kushner. Little, Brown, & Company, 1996. Hardcover.

Harold Kushner draws on his experience as a husband, father, and rabbi to explain the complex human condition: "The challenge of being human is so great that no one gets it right every time." Therefore, we experience (or anticipate) guilt, the wheel that steers our sense of right and wrong (if one is not a psychopath without conscience). Humans cannot always control events and consequences and make everything right. Paraphrasing Kushner, no matter how perfect we try to be, when something goes wrong, the "if onlys" serve only to needlessly hit our heads against the wall in self-recrimination and self-destruction.

What if we suffer from pervasive guilt for no real reason? What if our religion caused us to feel guilty because we were told that we were born with "original sin?" Kushner states: "Religion properly understood is the cure for feelings of guilt and shame, not their cause." Kushner says that religions may have been "holding up ideals against which we can measure ourselves." But how can religion (and only religion?) be the cure for guilt and shame? What if someone is not religious? Does that mean that there is no cure? What is Kushner's definition of religion?

Kushner describes religion as "the voice that says I will guide you through this minefield of difficult moral choices, sharing with you the insights and experiences of the greatest souls of the past, and I will offer you comfort and forgiveness when you are troubled by the painful choices you made." That's not the religion I grew up with. My religious leaders taught me that I was a heretic without hope of redemption. Also, who determines what constitutes the greatest souls?

Kushner explains another avenue to alleviating guilt: "If the essence of guilt is the feeling that `I am a bad person and I don't deserve to be loved because of what I have done,' we can neutralize that feeling by reassuring the people that we do in fact care about them not only because we are emotionally generous, caring people but because they genuinely deserve to be loved." Call me cynical, but I hope we can accomplish this in our fault-finding, victim-blaming, responsibility-abdicating society. On the sweeter side, Kushner offers a reassuring chapter: "God Loves You Anyway."

Kushner discusses the concept of working off guilt. In his case study, the guilty party is encouraged to give a "significant part of that fortune to a worthy cause." Money changes everything? By the way, how much for redemption?

Chapter 5 is titled "Choosing Happiness Over Righteousness," Kushner writes (in regards to heterosexual married couples, his comfort zone) "the fulfillment of being a pair, two souls combining to form a single complete being." In my opinion and belief, two souls are individual, and do not and cannot form a single complete being. Each soul is whole and complete in and of itself. I prefer Kahlil Gibran's version on being a pair in The Prophet:"Let there be spaces in your togetherness. Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls." In keeping with the subtitle of his book (on forgiveness) Kushner writes: "Mature marital love sees faults clearly and forgives them, understanding that there are no perfect people, that we don't have to pretend perfection, and that an imperfect spouse is all that an imperfect person like us can aspire to."

So, with careful reading, I learned that religion is not the only cure for guilt. If, as the last paragraph of the book states, "we are brave enough to love, strong enough to forgive, generous enough to rejoice in another's happiness, wise enough to know there is enough love to go around for us all..." then perhaps we can manage, alleviate, or by miracle of God and/or Mother Nature, learn to live with guilt and find forgiveness for ourselves and others.

Interesting Perspective  Feb 21, 2006
Rabbi Kushner is a very thoughtful man with a great ability to bring religious insight to the average person. I think this book is excelllent for anyone, regardless of one's religious background.
Compassion As Motivation  Dec 21, 2005
Ever read the Bible and wonder what was going through Abraham's mind when he put his son on the altar? Well, after reading this book I've been looking at Abraham in a differnt light. I've also found a renewed interest in the Old Testament and Ingmar Bergman's "Winter Light." If you're wondering what one has to do with the other, pick up this book. Kushner will have you looking at things differently and thinking about everything. It is surprisingly easy to read yet loaded with words of wisdom. Usually found in the self-help section, this inspirational work will help you through pangs of guilt and inspire you to forgive and forget.

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