Review Of "Ethics In The Sanctuary: Examining The Practices Of Organized Religion" By M. P. Battin

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Published In



A groundbreaking book. Drawing on examples from mainstream churches to fringe cults, Battin (University of Utah) explores the ethics of three kinds of practices of organized religion: confidentiality in confession; informed consent in high-risk activities like snake handling and the refusal of medical treatment; and conversion tactics such as psychological manipulation. She develops a method of analysis that permits her to distinguish between those doctrines that are legitimate subjects for ethical analysis and those that are so fundamental to the particular religious point of view that they seem immune to scrutiny from criteria imported from the outside. This distinction permits her to compare the activities of religious practitioners with their closest analogs in professions like law, medicine and psychiatry, and business. Careful research and the attempt to be scrupulously fair distinguish this study. Although many of its conclusions will prove controversial, this book will be a benchmark study for years to come. It will be of special interest to religious professionals and those engaged in their training, but it will interest those concerned with the ethics of the professions. Highly recommended for advanced undergraduate and graduate students.


This work is freely available courtesy of Choice Reviews. The review has been reproduced in full in the abstract field.

This document is currently not available here.