Customer Reviews for

American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us

Average Rating 4
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  • Posted October 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

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    thought provoking

    This book is a treasure trove of observations about multi-denominational attitudes and behaviors and its intersection with political and social issues. But what I found most surprising and hopeful were the findings of integration across religious belief systems (e.g., the high rate of inter-faith marriages, friendships and shifts from one's parents' faith to another or no affiliation at all, etc.). As the subtitle suggests, faith does not only divide us, but in unexpected ways also unites us. A much needed message in today's volatile climate. The authors attribute this to a high level of religious tolerance. Unfortunately, they stopped short of distinguishing between religious tolerance and religious acceptance (tolerance involves "putting up with" people you disapprove of; acceptance involves refusing to pass judgment on people who are different from you). This would have been an important distinction as tolerance, with its condescending tone, is far less hopeful than acceptance. You can and must legislate tolerance while acceptance must come from the heart. And I believe that much of what they discovered was indeed religious acceptance. You'd have to go elsewhere for more on this distinction, such as another new book - ("Tolerant Oppression: Why promoting tolerance undermines our quest for equality and what we should do instead.") Keeping that in mind, the authors' application of religious distinctions and affiliations to a range of political issues including premarital sex, homosexuality, abortion, etc. spawned interesting observations. An important book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2012

    Fascinating, objective research. If you're at all interested in

    Fascinating, objective research. If you're at all interested in how politics has become so intertwined with religion in America these days, I highly recommend this book. Every page was interesting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2011

    Masterpiece of church and society information

    If you are curious as to how religiosity affects people's behavior, politics, etc., this book is for you. It's an absolute masterpiece and, despite being about 500 pages, is an easy, fascinating read. Packed full of data and analysis- from data about how churchgoers who join small groups and have friends in the congregation behave much more differently in terms of neighborliness and performing civic duties than those who worship but don't do much else, to information about how the young are less pro-choice than their elders but don't really vote accordingly.

    Highly recommended.

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