God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World--and Why Their Differences Matter
At the dawn of the twenty-first century, dizzying scientific and technological advancements, interconnected globalized economies, and even the so-called New Atheists have done nothing to change one thing: our world remains furiously religious. For good and for evil, religion is the single greatest influence in the world. We accept as self-evident that competing economic systems (capitalist or communist) or clashing political parties (Republican or Democratic) propose very different solutions to our planet's problems. So why do we pretend that the world's religious traditions are different paths to the same God? We blur the sharp distinctions between religions at our own peril, argues religion scholar Stephen Prothero, and it is time to replace naïve hopes of interreligious unity with deeper knowledge of religious differences.
In Religious Literacy, Prothero demonstrated how little Americans know about their own religious traditions and why the world's religions should be taught in public schools. Now, in God Is Not One Prothero provides readers with this much-needed content about each of the eight great religions. To claim that all religions are the same is to misunderstand that each attempts to solve a different human problem. For example:
— Islam: the problem is pride, the solution is submission
— Christianity: the problem is sin, the solution is salvation
— Confucianism: the problem is chaos, the solution is social order
— Buddhism: the problem is suffering, the solution is awakening
— Judaism: the problem is exile, the solution is to return to God
Prothero reveals each of these traditions on its own terms to create an indispensable guide for anyone who wants to better understand the big questions human beings have asked for millennia—and the disparate paths we are taking to answer them today. A bold polemical response to a generation of misguided scholarship, God Is Not One—and Why Their Differences Matter creates a new context for understanding religion in the twenty-first century and disproves the assumptions most of us make about the way the world's religions work.
"Provocative, thoughtful, fiercely intelligent and, for both believing and nonbelieving, formal and informal students of religion, a must-read."
"An urgently needed and very nicely done corrective to politically correct nonsense."
— Rodney Stark, author of Discovering God: The Origins of the Great Religions and the Evolution of Belief
"Stephen Prothero has done it again. This is a powerfully-written, paradigm-shifting book. How religious differences can be a bridge of cooperation rather than a bomb of destruction is one of the most important challenges of our era, and Prothero is as good a guide as you will find."
— Eboo Patel, founder and executive director of Interfaith Youth Core and author of Acts of Faith
"This book could well be the most highly readable, accurate, and up-to-date introduction to the world's major religions."
— Harvey Cox, Hollis Research Professor of Divinity, Harvard University, and author of The Future of Faith
"A very much needed book!"
— Miroslav Volf, Professor, Yale University, and author of Exclusion and Embrace
Editions (via Amazon):