Get America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity PDF

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 USA as a Christian society. How are we adapting to the recent variety? can we casually announce that we "respect" the faiths of non-Christians with no figuring out a lot approximately these faiths? Are we prepared to do the exertions required to accomplish real spiritual pluralism?

Award-winning writer Robert Wuthnow tackles those and different tough questions surrounding spiritual variety and does so along with his attribute rigor and magnificence. the USA and the demanding situations of spiritual range seems not just at how we now have tailored to range some time past, 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 thousands of in-depth qualitative interviews, this ebook is the 1st systematic attempt to evaluate how good the kingdom 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 proper of numerous teams to worship freely, yet sobering simply because few americans have troubled to profit a lot approximately religions except their very own or to interact in confident interreligious discussion. Wuthnow contends that responses to non secular range are essentially deeper than well mannered discussions approximately civil liberties and tolerance may recommend. particularly, he writes, spiritual variety moves us on the very middle of our own and nationwide theologies. in simple terms by means of figuring out this significant size of our tradition do we have the capacity to flow towards a extra reflective method of non secular pluralism.

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Example text

Yet it will not do, now in the face of new diversity, simply to rewrite our nation’s history as a story of diversity and pluralism. The reality of large numbers of Americans who are Muslims, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Sikhs, Hindus, and followers of other non-Western religions poses a new challenge to American self-understandings. When Christian leaders and their followers think about it, they will have more trouble knowing what exactly to think about their neighbors who belong to these other religions than they ever did simply thinking about the differences between Methodists and Baptists or Protestants and Catholics.

What did he mean by “respect”? An apparent inconsistency in political rhetoric like this would hardly merit attention were it not for the fact that it points to something much deeper. American identity is an odd mixture of religious particularism and cultural pluralism. Although it is not an established religion, Christianity is the nation’s majority religion, and its leaders and followers have often claimed it had special, if not unique, access to divine truth. Yet the reality of religious pluralism, including beliefs and practices different from those embraced by Christianity, has also had a profound impact on American culture.

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.

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America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity by Robert Wuthnow

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