New PDF release: America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity

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 in recent times. but many americans proceed to treat the U.S. as a Christian society. How are we adapting to the recent range? can we casually announce that we "respect" the faiths of non-Christians with out figuring out a lot approximately these faiths? Are we keen 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 variety and does so together with his attribute rigor and magnificence. the US and the demanding situations of non secular variety appears not just at how we have now tailored to range long ago, yet on the methods rank-and-file americans, clergy, and different neighborhood leaders are responding this day. Drawing from a brand new nationwide survey and 1000s of in-depth qualitative interviews, this publication 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 the best of numerous teams to worship freely, yet sobering simply because few americans have to benefit 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 may recommend. particularly, he writes, non secular variety moves us on the very center of our own and nationwide theologies. basically through realizing this crucial measurement of our tradition do we be capable to movement towards a extra reflective method of non secular pluralism.

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Sample text

Public attention moved on, looking back occasionally to the sad faces of Diana’s young sons, William and Harry, or to new revelations about the clouded circumstances of her hasty departure from the Ritz hotel. It moved on, remembering Mother Teresa’s goodness, savoring the thought that humans can indeed aspire to noble achievements, but including questions about public welfare policy and whether charity can be successful in alleviating the suffering of the world’s poor. And yet it would have been hard to watch either event without absorbing the message that the larger world, the world that encompasses so many different beliefs and faiths, is becoming smaller, crowding in on itself, forcing a new awareness of its diversity.

I emphasize the perceptions of ordinary Americans as well as those of community leaders and the languages in which these perceptions are framed. I argue that interpretations of religious diversity have been, and continue to be, a profound aspect of our national identity. It has become popular among social observers to argue that American religion is so thoroughly composed of private beliefs and idiosyncratic practices that belief and practice ultimately do not matter. People pick and choose in whatever way helps them to get ahead (or, at least, to get along).

Let religious subgroups believe whatever they want to, the argument goes, but count on laws and norms of civic decorum to maintain social order. In this view, religion and civic life function without mutual influence. Pluralism is culturally uncomplicated. The evidence I present here suggests that these views are wrong. I show that pluralism and religious practices are intertwined. How people think about pluralism is influenced by their religious convictions. And religious convictions are influenced by their experiences with pluralism.

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America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity by Robert Wuthnow

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