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Does Religion Fuel Violence? The Mystique of Amish Romance Novels, and More January 23, 2014
Summary: Two guests say most "holy wars" are less about God and more about the same earthly matters we've always fought over: money and power. And why Amish romance is the most popular genre in Christian publishing.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The Not-So-Holy Causes of "Holy Wars" January 23, 2014
Religious violence around the world reached a six-year high in 2012, from attacks on monks in Sri Lanka to bombings of Coptic churches in Egypt. That's according to a new Pew Research study, which found "high religious hostilities" in one third of the countries polled. But are those conflicts really caused by religious differences? Probably not. This week, we're zooming into one spiritual rivalry that's more complex than it seems: the clash between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

Gregory Gause, professor of international relations and Middle Eastern politics at the University of Vermont
Lesley Hazleton, author of The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammad
Credit: Thomas Nelson
Bonnet Rippers: The Allure of Amish Romance January 23, 2014
Fifty Shades of Grey isn’t the only kind of erotic novel selling millions of copies. Amish romance novels - with titles like The Quilter’s Daughter, The Shunning and When the Heart Cries - offer chaste alternatives to steamy Harlequins.

Valerie Weaver-Zercher, author of Thrill of the Chaste: The Allure of Amish Romance Novels
Credit: Marcher Lord Press
Web Extra: 'Amish Vampires in Space' January 23, 2014
It started as a joke. Jeff Gerke, the founder of a Christian science fiction publishing house, was getting frustrated with the Amish romance craze. "The only kind of Amish romance we're looking for," he used to say, "is 'Amish Vampires in Space.'" Author Kerry Nietz liked the sound of that, and 30,000 words later, he emailed Gerke with a book proposal. "You won't believe what I'm doing."

Kerry Nietz, author of Amish Vampires in Space