Robert Wuthnow's America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity PDF

By Robert Wuthnow

ISBN-10: 0691134111

ISBN-13: 9780691134116

Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and adherents of different non-Western religions became an important presence within the usa lately. but many americans proceed to treat the U.S. as a Christian society. How are we adapting to the recent variety? will we casually announce that we "respect" the faiths of non-Christians with out knowing a lot approximately these faiths? Are we keen to do the labor required to accomplish actual non secular pluralism?

Award-winning writer Robert Wuthnow tackles those and different tough questions surrounding spiritual variety and does so along with his attribute rigor and elegance. the USA and the demanding situations of spiritual variety seems to be not just at how we have now tailored to variety long ago, yet on the methods rank-and-file american citizens, clergy, and different group leaders are responding this present day. Drawing from a brand new nationwide survey and 1000s of in-depth qualitative interviews, this ebook 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 so much american citizens do realize the perfect of various teams to worship freely, yet sobering simply because few american citizens have afflicted to profit a lot approximately religions except their very own or to have interaction in positive interreligious discussion. Wuthnow contends that responses to spiritual variety are essentially deeper than well mannered discussions approximately civil liberties and tolerance might recommend. fairly, he writes, spiritual range moves us on the very center of our own and nationwide theologies. in simple terms by way of knowing this significant measurement of our tradition do we have the capacity to circulate towards a extra reflective method of spiritual pluralism.

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And, for that matter, we know little more about how religious leaders are dealing with diversity. We do know, for example, that religious leaders occasionally form interfaith alliances that include representatives of the world’s major religious traditions, and we know that other leaders are sometimes quoted in newspapers as saying that the followers of a particular religion other than their own are condemned to hell. Such headlines, however, seldom tell us much about how things are going in local communities or what people really believe and think.

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. For more than a decade, I have been listening to what Americans say about their faith, looking closely for clues about how they manage to choose certain beliefs and practices at a time when there are so many options from which to choose.

Contributors to these discussions believed that America was a special place and that its distinctiveness was somehow related to a divine purpose. That purpose necessarily carried implications for their understanding of the various religions they encountered. Particularly when America’s purpose was associated with a distinctly Christian view of God and of God’s people, as it often was, the founders and promoters of America were compelled to adopt a position toward other religions. They often articulated views of these religions that corresponded with their own sense of destiny and social location.

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America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity by Robert Wuthnow


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