By Robert Wuthnow

ISBN-10: 0691134111

ISBN-13: 9780691134116

Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and adherents of alternative non-Western religions became an important presence within the usa lately. but many american citizens proceed to treat the U.S. as a Christian society. How are we adapting to the recent range? can we casually announce that we "respect" the faiths of non-Christians with out realizing a lot approximately these faiths? Are we keen to do the exertions required to accomplish real non secular pluralism?

Award-winning writer Robert Wuthnow tackles those and different tough questions surrounding non secular variety and does so along with his attribute rigor and magnificence. the United States and the demanding situations of non secular range seems to be not just at how we've got tailored to range long ago, yet on the methods rank-and-file american citizens, clergy, and different neighborhood leaders are responding this day. Drawing from a brand new nationwide survey and 1000s of in-depth qualitative interviews, this e-book is the 1st systematic attempt to evaluate how good the country is assembly the present demanding situations of non secular and cultural diversity.

The effects, Wuthnow argues, are either encouraging and sobering--encouraging simply because such a lot americans do realize the fitting of various teams to worship freely, yet sobering simply because few american citizens have stricken to benefit a lot approximately religions except their very own or to interact in confident interreligious discussion. Wuthnow contends that responses to non secular variety are essentially deeper than well mannered discussions approximately civil liberties and tolerance could recommend. relatively, he writes, non secular variety moves us on the very middle of our own and nationwide theologies. merely through figuring out this significant size of our tradition do we have the ability to flow towards a extra reflective method of spiritual pluralism.

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Extra resources for America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity

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15 Like Columbus, the American colonists believed the Indians were capable of being converted and civilized—the two going hand in hand, just as civilized Christians in Europe had sought to do in converting the heathen (literally, “people of the heath”) who continued to follow superstitious practices. To this end, the English crown ordered a general contribution in 1615 and in 1617 in all Anglican parishes to assist the Virginia Company in building a college for the Indians. 16 Colonists’ encounters with Indians also evoked questions about how these people fit into the biblical story of human origins.

If a person’s best friend in elementary school belonged to a different religion, and if this person takes religion seriously, he or she will surely think about his or her faith differently than would have been the case if everyone in school belonged to the same religion. If one’s neighbors and coworkers hold beliefs vastly different from one’s own, this too will evoke a response. We can try to understand and become more aware of these influences, and thus make more informed choices about how we respond, rather than letting circumstances dictate our responses.

4 Columbus’s voyage was undertaken with several goals in mind, not the least of which was to discover treasure for the Spanish crown and to ensure his own fortune and place in history. But the voyage was also inspired by a religious mission, one that not only reflected his own faith and the rising influence of the Spanish monarchy in western Christendom but that also illustrated the larger reasons for Europe’s eagerness to believe that America would become a Christian land. When Columbus left Granada on May 12, 1492, three recent religious developments were fresh in his mind: the war with the Moors in Granada that had just been concluded, the expulsion of Jews from Spain, and Jerusalem remaining in the hands of Muslim forces.

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America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity by Robert Wuthnow

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