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Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know--And Doesn't

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Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know--And Doesn't Cover

ISBN13: 9780060846701
ISBN10: 0060846704
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Staff Pick

Having called us a nation of "religious illiterates" on the first page, Steven Prothero had me intrigued and ready to read Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know. Prothero contends that while contemporary America values its position as a Christian faith-based nation, we know very little about the essential doctrine of Christianity, and far less about other religions of the world. As blood runs in the street over religious ideologies, it becomes vital that we know the basis of our own beliefs and that we create a culture of tolerance born of knowledge. His book is a great place to start our education.
Recommended by Danielle, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The United States is one of the most religious places on earth, but it is also a nation of shocking religious illiteracy.
  • Only 10 percent of American teenagers can name all five major world religions and 15 percent cannot name any.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that the Bible holds the answers to all or most of life's basic questions, yet only half of American adults can name even one of the four gospels and most Americans cannot name the first book of the Bible.

Despite this lack of basic knowledge, politicians and pundits continue to root public policy arguments in religious rhetoric whose meanings are missed—or misinterpreted—by the vast majority of Americans.

"We have a major civic problem on our hands," says religion scholar Stephen Prothero. He makes the provocative case that to remedy this problem, we should return to teaching religion in the public schools. Alongside "reading, writing, and arithmetic," religion ought to become the "Fourth R" of American education.

Many believe that America's descent into religious illiteracy was the doing of activist judges and secularists hell-bent on banishing religion from the public square. Prothero reveals that this is a profound misunderstanding. "In one of the great ironies of American religious history," Prothero writes, "it was the nation's most fervent people of faith who steered us down the road to religious illiteracy. Just how that happened is one of the stories this book has to tell."

Prothero avoids the trap of religious relativism by addressing both the core tenets of the world's major religions and the real differences among them. Complete with a dictionary of the key beliefs, characters, and stories of Christianity, Islam, and other religions, Religious Literacy reveals what every American needs to know in order to confront the domestic and foreign challenges facing this country today.

Review:

"The United States is the most religious nation in the developed world, if religiosity is measured by belief in all things supernatural — from God and the Virgin Birth to the humbler workings of angels and demons. Americans are also the most religiously ignorant people in the Western world. Fewer than half of us can identify Genesis as the first book of the Bible, and only one-third know that Jesus... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

From the author of "American Jesus" comes an essential religious primer and an argument for why religion must become the Rfourth RS of American education.

About the Author

Stephen Prothero is the chair of the religion department at Boston University. His book American Jesuswas named one of the best religion books of 2003 by Publishers Weeklyand one of the year's best nonfiction books by the Chicago Tribune. He writes and reviews for the New York Times Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Salon, and other publications. He holds degrees from Harvard and Yale.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

hamd65, September 22, 2011 (view all comments by hamd65)
I love this book! A wonderful historical religious journey with the help of Mr. Prothero's informative religious dictionary. I had no idea my religious literacy IQ was so pitifully low. Thank you Mr. Prothero.
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Tracy Bock, April 4, 2008 (view all comments by Tracy Bock)
Fascinating read. Has a very nice Dictionary of Religious Literacy near the end. Historical context of how we got where we are and how most Americans know little of their religion...and even less of those that surround them. I highly recommend this book, there are so few books on religion that don't preach to you. This book will give you unbiased knowledge about religions. I've honestly learned so much.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780060846701
Subtitle:
What Every American Needs to Know--And Doesn't
Author:
Prothero, Stephen
Author:
Prothero, Stephen R.
Author:
by Stephen Prothero
Publisher:
HarperOne
Subject:
Education
Subject:
Comparative Religion
Subject:
Religions
Subject:
History
Subject:
United states
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
General Religion
Subject:
Religious education -- United States.
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20070313
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.01 in 18.32 oz

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Related Subjects

Religion » Christianity » Christian Living
Religion » Christianity » Inspirational
Religion » Comparative Religion » Featured Titles
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Western Religions » General and Comparative Religion

Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know--And Doesn't Used Hardcover
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Product details 304 pages HarperSanFrancisco - English 9780060846701 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Having called us a nation of "religious illiterates" on the first page, Steven Prothero had me intrigued and ready to read Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know. Prothero contends that while contemporary America values its position as a Christian faith-based nation, we know very little about the essential doctrine of Christianity, and far less about other religions of the world. As blood runs in the street over religious ideologies, it becomes vital that we know the basis of our own beliefs and that we create a culture of tolerance born of knowledge. His book is a great place to start our education.

"Synopsis" by , From the author of "American Jesus" comes an essential religious primer and an argument for why religion must become the Rfourth RS of American education.
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