God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World--and Why Their Differences Matter
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God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World--and Why Their Differences Matter

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by Stephen Prothero
     
 

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In God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World, New York Times bestselling author of Religious Literacy and religion scholar Stephen Prothero argues that persistent attempts to portray all religions as different paths to the same God overlook the distinct problem that each tradition seeks to solve. Delving into the different

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Overview

In God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World, New York Times bestselling author of Religious Literacy and religion scholar Stephen Prothero argues that persistent attempts to portray all religions as different paths to the same God overlook the distinct problem that each tradition seeks to solve. Delving into the different problems and solutions that Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Confucianism, Yoruba Religion, Daoism and Atheism strive to combat, God is Not One is an indispensable guide to the questions human beings have asked for millennia—and to the disparate paths we are taking to answer them today. Readers of Huston Smith and Karen Armstrong will find much to ponder in God is Not One.

Editorial Reviews

Rodney Stark
“An urgently needed and very nicely done corrective to politically correct nonsense.”
Eboo Patel
“Stephen Prothero has done it again. This is a powerfully-written, paradigm-shifting book. How religious differences can be a bridge of cooperation rather than a bomb of destruction is one of the most important challenges of our era, and Prothero is as good a guide as you will find.”
Harvey Cox
“This book could well be the most highly readable, accurate, and up-to-date introduction to the world’s major religions.”
Miroslav Volf
“A very much needed book!”
Booklist
“Provocative, thoughtful, fiercely intelligent and, for both believing and nonbelieving, formal and informal students of religion, a must-read.”
The Daily Beast
“God is Not One is 2010’s must-read for anyone religiously illiterate….Don’t know much about the world’s faiths? Get a copy now.”
Los Angeles Times
“enormously timely, thoughtful and balanced”
Publishers Weekly
Expressing his astonishment, Prothero (Religious Literacy) arrives late at the party that has been celebrating for years the diversity and plurality of the world's religions. Although he is correct in asserting that an entire generation of scholars, teachers, and interested readers have claimed in the interest of religious tolerance that the world's religions were simply different paths to the same one God, such a claim functions as little more than a red herring in what is otherwise a useful introduction to the world's religions. Once past that assertion, Prothero sets up a helpful model for examining each religion on its own terms: he explores a problem that dominates the religion, the religion's solution to the problem, the technique the religion uses to move from problem to solution, and the exemplar who charts a path from problem to solution. For example, in Buddhism the problem is suffering; the solution is nirvana; the technique is the Noble Eightfold Path; and the exemplars are the arhats, bodhisattvas, and lamas. Despite his naïveté about contemporary interreligious dialogue, Prothero's survey is a useful introduction to eight of the world's great religions.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061571282
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/03/2011
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
388
Sales rank:
158,971
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are saying about this

Rodney Stark

“An urgently needed and very nicely done corrective to politically correct nonsense.”

Miroslav Volf

“A very much needed book!”

Eboo Patel

“Stephen Prothero has done it again. This is a powerfully-written, paradigm-shifting book. How religious differences can be a bridge of cooperation rather than a bomb of destruction is one of the most important challenges of our era, and Prothero is as good a guide as you will find.”

Harvey Cox

“This book could well be the most highly readable, accurate, and up-to-date introduction to the world’s major religions.”

Meet 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.

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God Is Not One 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 57 reviews.
Jon_Monday More than 1 year ago
I work closely with Huston Smith and created and maintain his official website. Stephen Prothero grossly misrepresents Smith's statements and position on this subject. Huston, Huxley, or Campbell have never said that "all religions are the same" or anything like that. What they say is that there is one underlying reality (call it God, Creator, Self, Ground of Reality, etc.) that the different religions, in their distinctive ways, refer to. To suggest otherwise is to ignore the very definition of God, or believe that there is more than one God, or claim that only one religion has it right, and the others have it wrong. Prothero says that the one God idea was, "a defense mechanism developed by Hindus to reject 19th Century Christian missionaries and fostered by the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago in 1893." The realty is that the idea reaches back to the ancient Vedas which declared, "Truth is one; sages call it by various names." This cannot be translated as "all the religions are the same". The Vedantic version of this idea was expressed by Swami Vivekananda at the 1893 gathering, but it was well established by the Transcendentalist in the US well before then, and is also expressed in the mystical branches of the other religions. When pinned on these facts, Prothero admits he's talking more about how he, as a college student, and others have mistakenly interpreted the Perennial Philosophy as "all religions are the same". Prothero attributes Huxley, Smith, and Campbell as saying the differences between the religions are, "accidental." I am not aware of any of these three, or any Perennial Philosopher, saying anything of the sort. In fact, they address the differences as being very real and important to the practice of each faith. Prothero says, "People don't lump communism and democracy as the same, just slightly different. Why should they do it with religions?" Again, no one but Prothero is saying the various religions are the same, but in any case, Communism and democracy are the same in that they are different means to govern people - religions are the same in that they are different means to connect one's Self with its Source. It's a matter of defining what the underlying subject matter is. The ONLY way that Huxley, Smith, and Campbell say that religions are the same, is that they are all religions.
carbs_reader More than 1 year ago
This book is not designed to be a Theological Text Book (i.e. difficult and boring to read) but an introduction to the fact that "All roads do not lead to Heaven." As someone with an MDIV and a DMIN, I have found this book useful as a discussion starter when dealing with world religions. Overall it provides a pretty good introduction to the 8 major religions of the world. Not pushing the superiority of one over the other, he shows how ridiculous it is to think believers in each of these faiths want the same thing. I appreciate the professor writing in a manner that let's those without theological training to learn and hopefully fully investigat other faiths to open a well-needed dialogue.
megaloo More than 1 year ago
While many reviewers were extremely negative about this book, I found this book extremely helpful and well-organized. It's an excellent resource for anyone who wants to know about some of the world's religions, and particularly useful to students of religion. We're using this book as a resource in my World Religions class and this book clearly and effectively describes all of the concepts my professor doesn't. Prothero's writing style is a very welcome break to an endless line of dry, boring authors of religion. I highly recommend this book.
cindersJS More than 1 year ago
I found this book very informative, straight forward, sometimes humorous, and very fascinating, whereas I had expected something heavy and drab. This made me wish I had taken a religion course in college under his teaching. This is the best introduction of the major faiths I think you'll find anywhere!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read pieces by Stephen Prothero in the NYTimes and like his insights. I am not religious, but am curious. When I purchased my Nook, this was the first book I bought. I was not disappointed. I agree with all of the favorable reviews I've read to date, but I think some of the negative reviews were a bit myopic.
IndigoMM More than 1 year ago
Prothero's premise, that individual religious commitments understand god in different ways is an important insight. I especially like the pattern of explaining individual religions on the basis of their primary concern and the resolution to that concern that each religion offers. Unfortunately, all that is covered in the introductory chapter, leaving the remaining chapters to take the form of what appear to be randomized comments gleaned from recordings of joking classroom presentations complete with "over the top" Hinduism and "sensible" Protestantism. Hum . . . biased much? The book turns out to be an excellent example of how to get your credit-hungry Sophomore class chuckling over a collection of witticisms that offer little spiritual growth but fuel the campus politics that keeps Professor Prothero in those all-important contact hours that fuel his teaching contract. I do not recommend the book for tenure.
Nsp88 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed Stephen Prothero's book very much. It is well written he goes into detail on 8 of the worlds "greatest" religions. Each is detailed enough to get a basic understanding and grasp each's core elements without being wordy or to academic, I would encourage everyone to read it. 
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Recommended.
LI1971 More than 1 year ago
This book was very useful for my religious class. I recommendedthis book to anyone thats studying religious.
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Was glad to find a paperback version for my class.
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