That all religions are not the same is plainly obvious to traditional practitioners or believers in a particular religion. But where the public conversation around the topic has been dominated either by atheists attacking religion generally (“they’re all the same, and bad”) or by multi-culturalists and pluralists lifting them up (“they’re all the same, and good”), the distinctiveness of each religion has been ignored.
Enter religion professor Stephen Prothero. He first signaled a warning about the impoverishment of our understanding of world affairs and western civilization with his book, Religious Illiteracy, lamenting how dreadfully little we knew about major religions in general and Judaism and Christianity in particular, as influential as they have been and are in the West. Now he takes an additional step, pointing out not only our collective ignorance of basic doctrine, history, and practice of various religions but also our mental laziness and disrespect in proclaiming them “all basically the same.” The book is God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World and Why Their Differences Matter.
Check out the promo video below. This entertaining appearance on The Colbert Report offered the usual off-beat opportunity to promote the book afforded to Colbert guests.