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By Robert Wuthnow

Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and adherents of different non-Western religions became an important presence within the usa in recent times. but many american citizens proceed to treat the U.S. as a Christian society. How are we adapting to the hot range? will we casually announce that we "respect" the faiths of non-Christians with no figuring out a lot approximately these faiths? Are we prepared to do the exertions 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 United States and the demanding situations of non secular variety appears to be like 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 day. Drawing from a brand new nationwide survey and thousands of in-depth qualitative interviews, this booklet is the 1st systematic attempt to evaluate how good the kingdom is assembly the present demanding situations of spiritual and cultural diversity.

The effects, Wuthnow argues, are either encouraging and sobering--encouraging simply because so much americans do realize the correct of various teams to worship freely, yet sobering simply because few americans have troubled to profit a lot approximately religions except their very own or to interact 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. really, he writes, spiritual range moves us on the very center of our own and nationwide theologies. in simple terms via figuring out this significant size of our tradition can we be ready to movement towards a extra reflective method of spiritual pluralism.

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Additional resources for America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity

Sample text

Yet they had done so, not simply by converting the indigenous population to Christianity or by eliminating this population, but by developing a complex set of interpretations of it. These interpretations preserved and protected their understanding of what it meant to be Christian on the American continent and of why Christianity was uniquely true. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, new interpretations were added to make sense of the nation’s growing contact with the wider world and the wider diversity of its population.

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. 1 Weber understood that religion, among other things, provides people with a way of transforming an existence of apparent chaos into one having ultimate meaning.

News coverage from around the world includes images of religious leaders, adherents, and their places of worship. The nation’s expansive economic and military activities render these images more newsworthy than they would have been in the past. Apart from media, exposure to the world’s religions comes increasingly through first-hand encounters. 1 Like the surge of immigration that occurred between 1890 and 1920, most of these immigrants came from countries in which Christians are the dominant religion.

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