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Beyond Tolerance: Searching for Interfaith…
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Beyond Tolerance: Searching for Interfaith Understanding in America (The…

by Gustav Niebuhr

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This is an intensely anecdotal book that relies on untestable unverifiable and unrepeatable "statistics" which seem to indicate the growth of an ecumenical movement. But he is dead-on correct. As he suggests, "Religion is to the 21st century what ideology was to the 20th". {Compare, as ideas (Thesis and Anti-Thesis) are expressed, absorption and co-option (Synthesis) is inevitable.}
He also says things that make very little sense to those of us who are not immersed in the extremely watery (or some would say, speculative) depths of Religion. For example, even the title is stroked: "Tolerance does not put a face on faith". What does that mean?
It appears that he means that the apparently conflicted Religious confessions can tolerate one another. They do not need to go farther, to cohere, or cooperate. However, "tolerance is not enough because it has no educational component". Many faith traditions are exclusive -- "they view themselves as the one true way to salvation".
This collection of reports from across America of "Open Mosque Day" and an annual open house for a Hindu Temple, and surveys showing tripling participation in inter-religious worship, does show a possible "cultural shift". Certainly, from his rich religious background, (professor of religion at Syracuse University, grandchild of Reinhold Niebuhr) the author is showing great leadership and insight.
  keylawk | Aug 31, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670019569, Hardcover)

A bracing rejoinder both to religious fanaticism and to recent books decrying religion

The United States is the most religiously diverse nation in the world and the most religiously diverse collection of people in history. And even in this age of increasing religious violence, there is a growing movement of cooperation: thousands of devout worshippers who are willing to take a gamble on people of radically different faiths.

In this insightful, deeply felt examination of the nature of community and religion, former New York Times religion reporter Gustav Niebuhr traces the roots of religious freedom in America and the setbacks and triumphs it has encountered along the way. From Hindus and Quakers in Queens to Catholics and Jews in Baltimore, to black Baptists and Catholics in Louisville, to Catholics and Buddhists in Los Angeles, Niebuhr focuses on the ways people build ties between groups. He looks at why this movement is a particularly American endeavor and how it can save us all. Beyond Tolerance is a handbook for religious cooperation in our fractured times.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:27 -0400)

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Examines the nature of community and religion in the United States, traces the origins of religious freedom along with its advances and setbacks, and surveys the diverse range of religious faith throughout the nation.

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