By Robert Wuthnow
Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and adherents of alternative non-Western religions became an important presence within the usa in recent times. but many americans proceed to treat the us 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 keen to do the labor required to accomplish actual 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 elegance. the US and the demanding situations of non secular range appears to be like not just at how we've 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 e-book 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 appropriate of numerous teams to worship freely, yet sobering simply because few american citizens have to benefit a lot approximately religions except their very own or to interact in confident interreligious discussion. Wuthnow contends that responses to non secular variety are essentially deeper than well mannered discussions approximately civil liberties and tolerance could recommend. really, he writes, spiritual range moves us on the very center of our own and nationwide theologies. basically by way of realizing this crucial measurement of our tradition do we be capable to stream towards a extra reflective method of non secular pluralism.
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Extra info for America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity
The fact that others did not have this special relationship had to be understood. These others have provided us variously with a mission to fulfill, foes to conquer, visions of evil to avoid or go to war with, intellectual puzzles to resolve, opportunities to exploit, and reassurance about our moral goodness and cultural progress. A detailed history of America’s encounters with religions other than Christianity is beyond the scope of the present chapter. However, tracing the highlights of these encounters will serve as background for considering the present period.
Thus the time appeared propitious for Columbus to set sail in an effort to further the Christian cause. 5 Columbus’s perception of the indigenous peoples he encountered in the New World occurred against the backdrop of these developments in the relationships, some real and some assumed, between Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and the leaders of India. He was optimistic that Christianity was on the ascendancy and that his own voyage was foretold in biblical prophecy. An amateur theologian himself, he was well prepared to perceive whatever he encountered in the New World through interpretations provided by Christianity.
And they certainly have not faded away. The growing presence of American Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and other new immigrant groups makes these questions more pressing than ever. The United States has a strong tradition respecting the rights of diverse religious communities. But American culture is also a product of its distinctive Christian heritage. This heritage exists in tension with the nation’s religious and cultural diversity. The tension between America’s Christian heritage and its religious and cultural diversity became evident in the days following the September 11, 2001, attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.
America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity by Robert Wuthnow