By Stephen Prothero
The us is without doubt one of the so much spiritual areas in the world, however it can be a kingdom of stunning spiritual illiteracy. basically 10 percentage of yankee young children can identify all 5 significant global religions and 15 percentage can't identify any. approximately two-thirds of usa citizens think that the Bible holds the solutions to all or so much of life's easy questions, but in basic terms 1/2 American adults can identify even one of many 4 gospels and so much american citizens can't identify the 1st publication of the Bible. regardless of this loss of simple wisdom, politicians and pundits proceed to root public coverage arguments in spiritual rhetoric whose meanings are missed—or misinterpreted—by nearly all of american citizens. "We have a big civic challenge on our hands," says faith student Stephen Prothero. He makes the provocative case that to treatment this challenge, we must always go back to educating faith within the public colleges. along "reading, writing, and arithmetic," faith should turn into the "Fourth R" of yankee schooling. Many think that America's descent into non secular illiteracy used to be the doing of activist judges and secularists hell-bent on banishing faith from the general public sq.. Prothero finds that it is a profound false impression. "In one of many nice ironies of yank spiritual history," Prothero writes, "it was once the nation's so much fervent humans of religion who prompt us down the line to non secular illiteracy. simply how that occurred is among the tales this ebook has to tell." Prothero avoids the seize of spiritual relativism through addressing either the middle tenets of the world's significant religions and the true modifications between them. whole with a dictionary of the major ideals, characters, and tales of Christianity, Islam, and different religions, non secular Literacy unearths what each American must be aware of that allows you to confront the household and international demanding situations dealing with this nation this present day.
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Extra info for Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know--And Doesn't
Later in US history, Native Americans responded to efforts to “civilize” and “Christianize” them with new religious movements such as the Ghost Dance, which played a major role in the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890. Religion mattered in the American Revolution too, which proceeded very differently from France’s more secular revolt. The Great Awakening of the 1730s and 1740s, a grand revival that stretched up and down the eastern seaboard, helped to knit the colonists into one people and in so doing paved the way for a rebellion against the British Crown that many understood theologically—as a quest to make good in the political realm on the liberty they had already found in the spiritual.
44 The Gospel of John instructs Christians to “search the scriptures” (John 5:39), but little searching, and even less finding, is being done. In 1997 Tonight Show host Jay Leno took to the streets of New York to find out how much average Americans know about the Bible. 45 But biblical illiteracy is not limited to Manhattan. 49 • When asked whether the New Testament book of Acts is in the Old Testament, one quarter of Americans say yes. 52 In 2005 an enterprising journalist called up the ten cosponsors of an Alabama bill that sought to protect public displays of the Ten Command- A Nation of Religious Illiterates 31 ments.
More than any of these religious newcomers to American society, however, Islam has pushed powerfully into politics. Thanks to groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Muslims were quite active in both the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. ) In Dearborn, Michigan, Muslims constitute a potent political force. ” Unfortunately, however, Americans’ knowledge of religion runs as shallow as Americans’ commitment to religion runs deep. Many cannot recognize the phrase “Hail, Mary” except as the name of a football play; many are unaware that the pop singer Madonna was actually named after someone.