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Showing 1-10 of 95 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 169 reviews
on March 5, 2009
My friends, "Is this what you are looking for?" I guess that if you are looking for something in specific and you do not get it you might feel disappointed. Perhaps sometimes we are looking for shortcuts to gaining huge amounts of knowledge, and actually I think there aren't many. Knowledge and wisdom are acquired through a lifetime process in which each one of us need to embark in a quest for it, not necessarily depending upon one book only. What I mean is that religion, which is the theme that concerns us now and that is dealt with in this book, is a topic much too deep to be discussed in one book speaking of each of them individually. My opinion is that each religion therefore should be analyzed independently in texts written by people well versed in each of them and that actually they profess, so the information is not biased.

That said, the question is, "does this book delivers what it was intended to?" I guess so, since I think that the purpose of this book basically to lead us to the understanding of the fact that we are a nation with a shameful religious ignorance that should be addressed efficiently and in a a timely manner, not only by the state, but by ourselves, and establishes the responsibility we as citizens of a multicultural society have towards it. It actually establishes the importance of such knowledge in terms of understanding the international conflicts our nation is involved in and the basics of our neighbors religions that don't necesarily has the same set of beliefs we do, in order to live together in peace with each other. It does not indicate, by any means that it is the only problem that we have, as someone suggested. There are other issues to address but there are also people with expertise in those other areas that should rather write and convince the nation upon the need to understand them and to fight for those other causes. We are voters and have a voice and thus a power that can influence our government in one way or the other. Therefore, with this information at hand we should get better educated so that we can confront the ignorance that has been taught to us.

I think that the book actually tells us that there are many facts, mainly and mostly historical, that we actually ignore about our nation, the way it was founded and the laws that rules it. All of these facts should be pondered since there are actions been taken upon the misinterpretation of such laws taking advantage of our own ignorance to fulfill such purposes. We have to open our eyes towards these issues and take action.

The title of the book is ironic since it is titled "Religious Literacy..." and basically it points out the contrary, "that we are very illiterate regarding religion." So what we need to know is answered; We need to know more about every religion professed in our country. What we doesn't know... well the previous premise tells us. We do not know the basics of world religion, therefore we are subject to believe what anyone wants to tell us wether it is true or not. We actually do not have the basic knowledge to discern the truth from the lie. Buy it and don't expect to get every answer about every religion. To the contrary, expect to understand the reasons why we should be more Religious literate.
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on November 7, 2011
Both readers that are religiously literate and illiterate will benefit from this book. For those that are illiterate, Dr. Prothero outlines and defines what he considers to be essential religious knowledge following a lengthy discourse on *why* religious knowledge is essential. For the religiously literate, however, his discussion of how religious education has evolved (devolved?) in America as well as its current slide toward being more emotional and less intellectual will motivate you to re-review his religious glossary. I grew up in a non-religious home so I count myself among those with a sub-par religious literacy and, as such, found the breadth and depth of this book spot on. Regardless of your religious literacy, however, you'll likely agree that "Americans' knowledge of religion runs as shallow as Americans' commitment to religion runs deep" (pp. 26) -- this book is a first step in the direction back toward generalized religious literacy.
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on September 30, 2014
I used this as a primary resource for a paper I was writing, but I am so glad I didn't just borrow this title from the library. It has earned a place on the permanent bookshelves in my home. Good message, clearly presented.

It gets me thinking and it makes me inspired to be a little less cynical about the world and a little more hopeful about actions we can take to promote peace, understanding, and information.
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on February 27, 2017
Another good buy from Amazon.com! This site always has what I'm looking for and I'm a very happy customer. You will be too.
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on October 8, 2016
For me, the first part was preaching to the choir. Yes, indeed we so need to understand the beliefs of others. The definitions were so good that instead of passing the book to someone else, I bought the book for others and intend to keep my copy as a reference.
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on December 29, 2008
RELIGIOUS LITERACY has been nominated for the 2009 Rodda Award sponsored by the Church and Synagogue Library Association (CSLA), an international organization serving congregational libraries of all faiths. CSLA's Rodda Award is named for Dorothy Rodda Sargent, a lifetime member and one of the founders of the organization. This award recognizes a book which exhibits excellence in writing and has contributed significantly to congregational libraries through promotion of spiritual growth. The award is given to books for adults, young adults, and children on a three-year-rotational basis. The 2009 Rodda Award focuses on books for adult readers and this year's winner will be announced at the CSLA annual conference to be held at the McKinley Grand Hotel in Canton, Ohio, July 26-28. To learn more about CSLA and the Rodda Award go to[..].
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on November 22, 2015
I thought this would be a good topic but boring to read. It is actually both very interesting and easy to understand. It is one of those subjects about which all citizens should have a good understanding. In a world where so many people make decisions based on their beliefs, we should all know something about each other.
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on August 1, 2014
I have not completely read this presentation by Dr. Prothero ,however, it has very strong christian bias. I am a member of a
Christian church--but I take rather seriously the text that says---Seek ye the truth and the truth shall set you free----since
God has not written any of the religious texts, one can always wonder which is the best religion or the best representation
of the here after.
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on February 14, 2014
Faith without substance seems to mark religious development throughout the world. Though this book is somewhat dated, it nevertheless gives the reader a good inside look at the decline of religious content in most faith groups along with reasons for and possible outcomes of the trend. If the topic is of interest to you, then this is a good source for an overall understanding of this continuing faith reality.
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on June 24, 2011
In Religious Literacy, Stephen Prothero draws much-needed attention to the shocking state of religious illiteracy in the country, and seeks to provide "What Every American Needs to Know--and Doesn't" (the book's sub-title).

In the Introduction and Parts 1-5 of the book, Prothero explains why religion matters, how we got into the present predicament, and what we need to do to redeem ourselves, as he puts it. These sections, which constitute two-thirds of the book, are very detailed, and make a strong case for seeking to close the gap in religious knowledge. They also whet our appetite for information that would actually provide what's needed.

The next section, Part 6, covers information that Prothero considers necessary for Americans to become knowledgeable enough to "understand and participate in religiously inflected public debates". However, this Part of the book is surprisingly thin. Its 85-page "Dictionary of Religious Literacy" covers a large number of diverse topics arranged in alphabetic order, without an obvious basis for selecting the topics or determining their relative importance. Some entries are a page long, while others are covered in just a few lines; and some entries provide the historical context and significance of the religious term or practice, while others provide only the bare facts.

Had this book not been billed as "what every American needs to know" about the world's religions, the highly uneven coverage of terms, beliefs, practices, and personalities of various religions might have been just fine. In my view, given its ambitious objective, Prothero sets the bar too low, and the "religious dictionary" provides only a sampling of the information that is needed. I could not help thinking that had the lead-in (Parts 1-5) to the "knowledge" section been much shorter, and Part 6 considerably longer and meatier, the book might have better succeeded in achieving its stated purpose.

The information provided in the book is thus a small step towards eradicating religious illiteracy. Much more is needed, for which other sources of knowledge would have to be tapped. Nevertheless, the book serves as a timely wake-up call for improving religious literacy in the country. Prothero is right also to emphasize that the proposed religious education courses should adequately cover all world religions.
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