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

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

by Stephen Prothero


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061571282
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/03/2011
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 388
Sales rank: 62,323
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

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.

Table of Contents

A Note on Dates and Diacriticals ix

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Islam: The Way of Submission 25

Chapter 2 Christianity: The Way of Salvation 65

Chapter 3 Confucianism: The Way of Propriety 101

Chapter 4 Hinduism: The Way of Devotion 131

Chapter 5 Buddhism: The Way of Awakening 169

Chapter 6 Yoruha Religion: The Way of Connection 203

Chapter 7 Judaism: The Way of Exile and Return 243

Chapter 8 Daoism: The Way of Flourishing 279

Chapter 9 A Brief Coda on Atheism: The Way of Reason 317

Conclusion 331

Acknowledgments 341

Notes 343

Index 375

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.”

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God Is Not One 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 62 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.
HenryG on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This book delivered exactly what I wanted--basic religious literacy. It lays out the basic beliefs, themes and practices of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Daoism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Yoruba and Buddhism with clear and engaging writing. That's a tall order, and sometimes it gets kind of dense, but given the task, Prothero did a great job. His tone remains objective and his focus is on helping the reader appreciate the differences between religions without favoring one over another. This approach is geared at offering a means to understand how religion affects and influences society and culture in broader ways. At the end is an excellent essay on atheism.
nabeelar on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This was the final book we read for the Ill Fated Muslim Book Club.Stephen Prothero's argument is that the eight biggest relgions in the world (and he even makes some space for atheists!) are all standing on different 'spiritual mountaintops' and as such are approaching God from completely different and incompatible angles. He tries to sum up each major religion by one word or theme. Chances are, if it is your religion, you will feel he has not touched upon all the 'depth' of your faith -yet he has covered those 'other people's relgion' just fine! The book club concensus was that Prof. Prothero had not made a compelling case for his "they are all completely different" argument- still too much gray area in this.My husband chose this book, in large part, because there is an extensive section on Yoruba religions. Since many Western religion books overlook the contribution of African religion and culture, this was a very nice introduction to this complicated and story-rich tradition. I loved the Yoruba tales.Alas, the Muslims couldn't be bothered to read about other people's religions. We had our lowest turn-out ever. Only one other person had read the entire book. The other couple that turned up admitted they had only read the Islam section and found it too thin.This was the book that broke the Ill Fated Muslim Book Club. After this book, came Ramadan, my husband followed my advice, and the Ill Fated Muslim Book Club died with a whimper.My husband concluded, "People like the IDEA of a book club, they can pretend to be intellectuals. But when it comes to the actual work, the actual DOING of being an intellectual (reading, thinking, discussing), they don't want to do that." We had confronted, up close and personal, the Poseur mentality.So that's my story of the Ill Fated Muslim Book Club. We had a list of 30 people, we live in a community that prides itself on their economic and intellectual prowess, many consider themselves leaders and role models. Despite all this "promise", we couldn't make it work. Now if we had gotten the local shaykh to get involved.....
TedWitham on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Stephen Prothero, a professor of religious studies, is passionate about religions and their differences. He believes that religious literacy is an essential surivival skill in the modern world.In _God is Not One_, Prothero gives clear descriptions of the eight most influential religions in the world (Islam, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Yoruba, Buddhism, Judaism and Daoism), showing how they are different one from another, and how their practice affects society.As a former teacher of religious education, I wish I had a text like this, engaging, informative, encylopedic, for my own interest as well as for my students.
Janientrelac on LibraryThing 8 months ago
All is not sweetness and light on the religious front, this does not surprise me. I was impressed and intetrested by his coverage of the one I had never heard of, Yoruba. I was dismayed by his use of statistics, page 85, parapharsed, "in 1800 23% of the world was Christian, between 1815 and 1915 the number of Christian's in the US jumped 10 fold," the total population jumped something considerable. there are other comparisions of percentage increases and total numbers increases as if they were the same.The brief coda on atheism says "it has aways been for elites rather than ordinary folk" and had no impact before the 20th centuary, next paragraph " Buddists, Jains and some Hindus also denied a personnal god" AH, Buddists's had no impact?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a good place to start for anyone trying to understand the challenges we face in getting along with each other.
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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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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