Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know--And Doesn't

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9780060846701: Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know--And Doesn't
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The United States is one of the most religious places on earth, but it is also a nation of shocking religious illiteracy.

  • Only 10 percent of American teenagers can name all five major world religions and 15 percent cannot name any.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that the Bible holds the answers to all or most of life's basic questions, yet only half of American adults can name even one of the four gospels and most Americans cannot name the first book of the Bible.

Despite this lack of basic knowledge, politicians and pundits continue to root public policy arguments in religious rhetoric whose meanings are missed—or misinterpreted—by the vast majority of Americans.

"We have a major civic problem on our hands," says religion scholar Stephen Prothero. He makes the provocative case that to remedy this problem, we should return to teaching religion in the public schools. Alongside "reading, writing, and arithmetic," religion ought to become the "Fourth R" of American education.

Many believe that America's descent into religious illiteracy was the doing of activist judges and secularists hell-bent on banishing religion from the public square. Prothero reveals that this is a profound misunderstanding. "In one of the great ironies of American religious history," Prothero writes, "it was the nation's most fervent people of faith who steered us down the road to religious illiteracy. Just how that happened is one of the stories this book has to tell."

Prothero avoids the trap of religious relativism by addressing both the core tenets of the world's major religions and the real differences among them. Complete with a dictionary of the key beliefs, characters, and stories of Christianity, Islam, and other religions, Religious Literacy reveals what every American needs to know in order to confront the domestic and foreign challenges facing this country today.

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About the Author:

Stephen Prothero is the New York Times bestselling author of Religious Literacy and God Is Not One and a professor of religion at Boston University. His work has been featured on the cover of TIME magazine, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, NPR, and other top national media outlets. He writes and reviews for the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, The Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Salon, Slate, and other publications. Visit the author at www.stephenprothero.com or follow his tweets @sprothero.

From AudioFile:

Taking its cue from Hirsch's benchmark NEW DICTIONARY OF CULTURAL LITERACY (1988), this is an important book for an important time. Addressing the need for Americans to be fully conversant in the essential teachings of all major religions (Christian religion, in particular, but not exclusively), the author makes the bold assertion that religion should be taught in schools. Prothero, the chair of the Department of Religion at Boston University, is oddly mild in his reading. His words are slightly clipped, and, even though he reads his own book, some emphases and stresses sound strangely off. He speaks too close to the microphone, or perhaps not loudly enough, necessitating extra amplification, causing many slight but audible whistles and chirps throughout the reading. S.M.M. © AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780060859527: Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know-And Doesn't

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ISBN 10:  0060859520 ISBN 13:  9780060859527
Publisher: HarperOne, 2008
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9780061233210: Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know, And Doesn't

Harper..., 2007
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9780739487679: Religious Literacy (What Every American Needs to Know - And Doesn't)

HarperOne, 2007
Softcover

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