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God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions…

God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World--and Why… (edition 2010)

by Stephen Prothero (Author)

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Title:God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World--and Why Their Differences Matter
Authors:Stephen Prothero (Author)
Info:HarperOne (2010), Edition: First Edition, 400 pages
Collections:Adult Nonfiction

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God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World—and Why Their Differences Matter by Stephen Prothero



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GOD IS NOT ONE by Stephen Prothero (the eight rival religions that run the world)
This is a book which Pastor Charlie recommended when we were studying different religions this fall. It has separate chapters discussing the religions of Islam, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Yoruba religion, Judaism, Daoism, and a discussion of Atheism as well. This author gives good clear descriptions of these religions and supports his view that we do not all worship the same God. He feels that the differences between our religions need to be discussed and understood, so that we can approach other cultures with more understanding; in fact he feels it is dangerous for us to try to blend all religions as though they have the same God. This book gave me a clearer understanding of these religions, how they started, and what their goals are.
-Rosemary Jones, 2/2019
  CovenantPresMadison | Feb 24, 2019 |
I enjoyed this book and agree with its premise. The religions are different and those differences should be understood and appreciated.

He compares the religions on the objective criteria of the diagnosis of the human condition, the offered solution, the technique to implement the solution, and the human exemplar of the faith.

I much prefer this approach to that of Huston Smith who seemed to write of religions from a Christian perspective and to see in all religions their essential oneness with Christianity.

Prothero discusses some of the founding myths, some of the histories, the heroes of the faiths and their various versions. He looks at Islam, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Yoruba (a previously unknown religion for me), Judaism, and Daoism. He has a short chapter on Atheism, which he did not develop sufficiently.

Atheism is deserving I think at least similar treatment. He suggests that Atheism is not as influential as the great religions, and while that might be true, Atheism is growing in influence. That growth suggests its coming importance. Prothero basically suggests that for Atheism, religion is the problem. And I don't think he is accurate in that presentation of Atheism. I think the Way of Reason is more than a negative proposition. ( )
1 vote richardbsmith | Jan 18, 2016 |
Ignore the "Run the World" part of the title - the important part is "Why Their Differences Matter". Prothero makes an important argument: that all the religions of the world are not, in fact, the same, and that if we're serious about coexisting, we should really learn who we're coexisting with.

I didn't know much at all about some of the religions discussed in this book, so I also learned a fair bit about them specifically. ( )
1 vote lavaturtle | Dec 31, 2014 |
I found God is Not One mildly interesting, but not especially compelling. The main substance of the book is eight chapters describing in some depth the eight great world religions: Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Yoruba Religion, Judaism, and Daoism, with an additional shorter "coda" on atheism. In the introduction and conclusion Prothero argues that these religions are not in fact all the same or striving towards the same thing, and that the way to live with diversity is to better understand it in all its glory.

I understand and agree for the most part with Prothero's argument that the religions are not all the same, but I don't think I ever particularly thought they were all the same, so I didn't especially need convincing on this point. Prothero's framework for describing the religions is this idea that each religion views some problem with the world and presents a solution; for example, Christianity views the problem as sin and the solution as salvation. I found this to be a rather simplistic perspective (which he does in fact admit himself) and, more significantly, not very useful in helping me better understand religion. Reading descriptions of the practices and beliefs of each religion is all well and good, but I don't feel that I actually understand religious people any better now. Prothero's descriptions of the religions were certainly thorough, but I found them a bit dry and abstract. I agree wholeheartedly that in order to peacefully coexist with people different from ourselves, we need to understand their context, including their religious context, but I don't think that the knowledge I gained from God is Not One is sufficient for this. After all, each individual is different and unique in how they personally interpret, understand, and practice their religion, and therefore the only true way to gain understanding is to get to know individual people and hear their personal perspectives and experiences with their religion.

I additionally did not particularly like Prothero's chapter on atheism. For one thing, he claims it is a religion, and for another, he spent the majority of the chapter on the "New Atheists" who are quite stringently anti-religious and very likely do not represent the majority of atheists. Overall, the chapter demonstrated to me a lack of understanding on Prothero's part as to what it really means to be an atheist.

Through-out my reading of the book, I was reminded of a quote by F. Forrester Church that I read in another book: "Religion is our human response to the dual reality of being alive and having to die." For me, this quote does far more towards helping me understand religion than all of God is Not One. I finished this book realizing that what I really wanted to understand is the psychology of religion - how it is that so many people believe things that, to me, seem completely wacko. With this in mind, I went to the library today and found a book titled The Religious Case Against Belief, by James P. Carse. His premise is that there is in fact a distinction between religion and belief (which would mean my earlier sentence is incorrectly conflating religion and belief), and I look forward to reading what he has to say. ( )
2 vote sbsolter | Feb 6, 2014 |
Accessible, informative, insightful. Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
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Human goals are many, not all of them commensurable, and in perpetual rivalry with one another.

—Isaiah Berlin
To my students
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At least since the first petals of the counterculture bloomed across Europe and the United States in the 1960s, it has been fashionable to affirm that all religions are beautiful and all are true.
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Book description
At the dawn of the twenty-first century, dizzying scientific and technological advancements, interconnected globalized economies, and even the so-called New Atheists have done nothing to change one thing: our world remains furiously religious. For good and for evil, religion is the single greatest influence in the world. We accept it as self-evident that competing economic systems (capitalist or communist) or clashing political parties (Republican or Democratic) propose very different solutions to our planet's problems. So why do we pretend that the world's religious traditions are different paths to the same God? We blur the sharp distinctions between religions at our peril, argues religion scholar Stephen Prothero, and it is time to replace naive hopes of interreligious unity with a deeper knowledge of religious differences.

To claim that all religions are the same is to misunderstand that each attempts to solve a different human problem. For example:

--Islam: the problem is pride / the solution is submission

--Christianity: the problem is sin / the solution is salvation

--Confucianism: the problem is chaos / the solution is social order

--Buddhism: the problem is suffering / the solution is awakening

--Judaism: the problem is exile / the solution is return to God

Prothero reveals each of these traditions on its own terms to create an indispensable guide for anyone who wants to better understand the big questions human beings have asked for millennia--and the disparate paths we are taking to answer them today. A bold polemical response to a generation of misguided scholarship, God is Not One creates a new context for understanding religion in the twenty-first century and disproves the assumptions most of us make about the way the world's religions work. [adapted from jacket]
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Argues that the differences between the world's religions are far greater than previously acknowledged, and presents cautionary advice against underestimating these differences.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1863954805, 1863955240

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