77. God is not one: the eight rival religions that run the world – and why their differences matter

God is not one - Stephen ProtheroThe concept — peace is better served by knowing our differences than by pretending they don’t exist — is a breath of fresh air. Literacy in any area is always a better foundation for dialogue than illiteracy.

Religion’s purpose is to propose a solution to a problem — this is just one idea about the nature of religion. Most evangelical Christians and many Muslims would respond that they’re pursuing a relationship with the (in)effable rather than a theology that solves a fundamental problem. Many Christians I know would deny that they subscribe to a religion at all, although this is partly semantics.

The problem-solving approach may suffer from some necessary flatness — how do you objectively observe competing definitions of the human condition and its deficiencies without in some way equalizing, and thereby devaluing, them? But that *does* happen here: there’s a sense, in essaying each of these traditions, that their problem/solution propositions are all somehow diminished by comparison to each other.

But I did appreciate this book, and especially the compassionate and relatively fair-minded attempt to describe each major world religion in language that the probably-biased-toward-one-or-another layman could understand.

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