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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 variety? can 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 spiritual pluralism?

Award-winning writer Robert Wuthnow tackles those and different tricky questions surrounding spiritual variety and does so along with his attribute rigor and magnificence. the US and the demanding situations of spiritual range seems not just at how we now have tailored to variety long ago, yet on the methods rank-and-file american citizens, clergy, and different group leaders are responding at the present time. Drawing from a brand new nationwide survey and 1000's of in-depth qualitative interviews, this publication is the 1st systematic attempt to evaluate how good the country 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 definitely the right of numerous teams to worship freely, yet sobering simply because few americans have to profit a lot approximately religions except their very own or to have interaction in positive interreligious discussion. Wuthnow contends that responses to non secular range are essentially deeper than well mannered discussions approximately civil liberties and tolerance could recommend. fairly, he writes, spiritual range moves us on the very middle of our own and nationwide theologies. merely by means of realizing this crucial measurement of our tradition do we be ready to stream towards a extra reflective method of spiritual pluralism.

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Extra resources for America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity

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Columbus described the Indians as being eager to hear about and to understand the Christian truth being brought to them. Indeed, Columbus appears to have believed that Christianity was the only religion present in the New World since he could find no evidence of any other religion. 8 Still, it struck him that the Indians apparently did not pray or worship idols and that they were free from the kind of religions he had read about that were imposed on otherwise innocent people by rulers such as the Grand Khan.

This is a recent litany in the literature on pluralism. Let religious subgroups believe whatever they want to, the argument goes, but count on laws and norms of civic decorum to maintain social order. In this view, religion and civic life function without mutual influence. Pluralism is culturally uncomplicated. The evidence I present here suggests that these views are wrong. I show that pluralism and religious practices are intertwined. How people think about pluralism is influenced by their religious convictions.

Their beliefs are so shallow that inconsistencies make no difference. Some observers also argue that Americans can hold fundamentally incommensurate beliefs in their personal lives, but live amicably in public. This is a recent litany in the literature on pluralism. Let religious subgroups believe whatever they want to, the argument goes, but count on laws and norms of civic decorum to maintain social order. In this view, religion and civic life function without mutual influence. Pluralism is culturally uncomplicated.

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