America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity

ISBN-10: 0691134111
ISBN-13: 9780691134116
Edition: 2005
Authors: Robert Wuthnow
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Description: Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and adherents of other non-Western religions have become a significant presence in the United States in recent years. Yet many Americans continue to regard the United States as a Christian society. How are we adapting to  More...

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Book details

List price: $45.00
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 7/22/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 416
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.298
Language: English

Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and adherents of other non-Western religions have become a significant presence in the United States in recent years. Yet many Americans continue to regard the United States as a Christian society. How are we adapting to the new diversity? Do we casually announce that we "respect" the faiths of non-Christians without understanding much about those faiths? Are we willing to do the hard work required to achieve genuine religious pluralism? Award-winning author Robert Wuthnow tackles these and other difficult questions surrounding religious diversity and does so with his characteristic rigor and style.America and the Challenges of Religious Diversitylooks not only at how we have adapted to diversity in the past, but at the ways rank-and-file Americans, clergy, and other community leaders are responding today. Drawing from a new national survey and hundreds of in-depth qualitative interviews, this book is the first systematic effort to assess how well the nation is meeting the current challenges of religious and cultural diversity. The results, Wuthnow argues, are both encouraging and sobering--encouraging because most Americans do recognize the right of diverse groups to worship freely, but sobering because few Americans have bothered to learn much about religions other than their own or to engage in constructive interreligious dialogue. Wuthnow contends that responses to religious diversity are fundamentally deeper than polite discussions about civil liberties and tolerance would suggest. Rather, he writes, religious diversity strikes us at the very core of our personal and national theologies. Only by understanding this important dimension of our culture will we be able to move toward a more reflective approach to religious pluralism.

Robert Wuthnow, a native of Kansas, teaches sociology and directs the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University. He is the author of many books about American religion and culture, including "Remaking the Heartland: Middle America since the 1950s" and "Small-Town America: Finding Community, Shaping the Future" (both Princeton).

List of Tables
Preface
Introduction Confronting Diversity
A Special People in a Diverse World
First Encounters
Toward a New Nation
From Missions to Comparative Religion
The Tripartite Settlement 30 Beyond Christian America?
The New Diversity
American Hindus
American Buddhists
American Muslims
Living among Christians
Pluralism or Coexistence?
The Signi .cance of Religious Diversity
A Threat to Democracy?
Fairness and Decency
Challenges to American Values
Religion as Moral Order
Embracing Diversity: Shopping in the Spiritual Marketplace
Trev Granger's Story
Becoming a Spiritual Shopper
The Shopping Mentality
Toward a New Consciousness?
"Many Mansions": Accepting Diversity
Sandra Michaelson: Beauty in Every Religion
Coming to Terms with Diversity
How to Be an Inclusive Christian
Envisioning an Inclusive Society
"One Way" : Resisting Diversity
Trisha Mobley: "It Is Written"
The Road to Resistance
Maintaining an Exclusivist Worldview
The Social Implications of Christian Exclusivism
The Public's Beliefs and Practices
Beliefs about Religious Truth
Views of America
The Impact of Non-Western Religions
Social and Cultural Factors
Interreligious Contact and Attitudes
Interreligious Programs
Conclusions
How Congregations Manage Diversity
What Churches Are Doing
The Role of Theology
Strategies of Avoidance
Strategies of Engagement
The Imprint of Pluralism
Beyond Insularity?
Negotiating Religiously Mixed Marriages
Falling in Love
Negotiating with Religious Authorities
The Parsing of Practices
Disaggregating Religious Identities
The Normalization of Diversity
From Religion to Culture
How Pluralistic Should We Be?
Reflective Pluralism
The Case for Cooperation
An Effort to Promote Understanding
Multiple Models
Why Interreligious Efforts Fail
How Interreligious Efforts Succeed
What Else Needs to Be Done
Extrapolating to Other Kinds of Diversity
The Challenges Ahead
Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index

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