By Robert Wuthnow
Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and adherents of different 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 hot variety? can we casually announce that we "respect" the faiths of non-Christians with out realizing a lot approximately these faiths? Are we prepared to do the labor required to accomplish real non secular pluralism?
Award-winning writer Robert Wuthnow tackles those and different tough questions surrounding non secular range and does so along with his attribute rigor and elegance. the USA and the demanding situations of spiritual variety appears not just at how we now have tailored to range long ago, yet on the methods rank-and-file americans, clergy, and different neighborhood leaders are responding at the present time. Drawing from a brand new nationwide survey and hundreds of thousands of in-depth qualitative interviews, this booklet is the 1st systematic attempt to evaluate how good the state is assembly the present demanding situations of spiritual and cultural diversity.
The effects, Wuthnow argues, are either encouraging and sobering--encouraging simply because such a lot americans do realize definitely the right of numerous teams to worship freely, yet sobering simply because few american citizens have to profit a lot approximately religions except their very own or to have interaction in positive interreligious discussion. Wuthnow contends that responses to non secular range are essentially deeper than well mannered discussions approximately civil liberties and tolerance could recommend. fairly, he writes, spiritual range moves us on the very center of our own and nationwide theologies. basically by means of realizing this crucial size of our tradition can we be capable of movement towards a extra reflective method of spiritual pluralism.
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Additional resources for America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity
Some years ago, I became interested in the study of anti-Semitism and racial prejudice. I immersed myself in the research literature on those topics. I learned that contact between members of different religious or racial groups often reduces prejudice and hostility, that education and information generally have a positive effect on attitudes, and that tolerance has been increasing. I also learned that expressions of tolerance mask more complex attitudes and understandings, and that some of the most complex of these arise from religious teachings and traditions.
17 But if Indians had descended from Adam and Eve, it remained to explain why their customs were so different from European Christians’. The idea of degeneracy provided an answer. After the flood, the Indians’ ancestors turned their backs on God, resulting in evil, corruption, and decline. ”18 Toward a New Nation Earlier beliefs about the satanic influences in Indian religion and its degeneracy continued in the eighteenth century. But as the American colonies moved toward nationhood the twin ideas of Christendom and civic republicanism took on greater prominence in Americans’ self-understanding.
13 Each side charged the other with being in league with the devil. 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.
America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity by Robert Wuthnow