God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World--and Why Their Differences Matter Hardcover – Apr 1 2010
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“enormously timely, thoughtful and balanced” (Los Angeles Times)
“God is Not One is 2010’s must-read for anyone religiously illiterate….Don’t know much about the world’s faiths? Get a copy now.” (The Daily Beast)
“Provocative, thoughtful, fiercely intelligent and, for both believing and nonbelieving, formal and informal students of religion, a must-read.” (Booklist)
“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 Faith)
“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)
From the Back Cover
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 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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The chapters are arranged in Prothero's judgmentally arbitrary order of each religion's pervasive influence on the state of the world, placing Islam first and Daoism last. This arrangement influences how he substantiates many of his arguments and uses illustrations as he refers back to material covered in previous chapters. This trait does make it more difficult to pick up the book to read a chapter in the middle or towards the end. He has given each religion about the same number of pages in the book, which I thought was the wrong decision.Read more ›
I refer to this book as a "primer" for good reason. Each religion is given only two or three dozen pages, much of which is devoted to basic precepts and cultural context. A great deal of detail is sacrificed in order to get to Prothero's core points. Experienced readers of comparative religions texts might take issue with some of the author's omissions and generalizations. In particular, as other reviewers have noted, the selection and explicit ordering of religions (whose chapters are arranged from most- to least-important) within the book might raise some eyebrows.
Despite these points, I regard this book as a good starting point for new readers who may be unfamiliar with broad-strokes differences between the world's major religions. Prothero celebrates the differences that he presents, and plainly seeks only to educate (and not offend) new readers. The text is both engaging and informative, and is not difficult to read in an evening or two. For many readers, this may be a better place to start than a staid textbook on religious studies.
The book is not scholarly (but throughly end noted), but more introductory and is filled with editorial commentary from the author. Anyone interested in increasing or developing dialogue or an understanding of these different belief systems should consider reading this text.
Prothero does a fantastic job situating each system within the context of current events and provides fairly thorough historical foundations for each. The book will offer anyone interested in world religions with a great jumping off point for more detailed research for any and all of the beliefs discussed within.
A good read from which you will come away more knowledgeable.
Most recent customer reviews
Prothero tries to give each religion it's chance to shine, by its own standards. The result is a very enlightening book that will go a long way to help the reader get a somewhat... Read morePublished on April 2 2013 by Rodge
This book is not new to me. I had a copy some time ago, then lent it to a friiend. It was one of those lendings that one never gets back because the book is then recommended to... Read morePublished on Nov. 21 2012 by Gemba