Earlier this year, several blogs participated in a review tour for Stephen Prothero’s book, God is not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Rule the World and Why Their Differences Matter. Here’s a quote from the introduction.
To claim that all religions are the same is to misunderstand that each tradition attempts to solve a different aspect of the human condition. For example:
- Islam: the problem is pride / the solution is submission
- Christianity: the problem is sin / the solution is salvation
- Confucianism: the problem is chaos / the solution is social order
- Buddhism: the problem is suffering / the solution is enlightenment
- Hinduism: the problem is the endless cycle of reincarnation / the solution is release
- Judaism: the problem is exile / the solution is our return back to God and to our true home
When we gloss over these differences we fail to appreciate each religion on its own terms.
The book appears to be a survey and not an apologetic. This Lutheran reviewer said she wanted more from the Christianity chapter “wishing I could add to further clarification regarding . . . consequences that 95 theses had on the world.” Unfortunately, the list of blogs doesn’t link directly to the reviews, save one. So here’s a link to a review from someone who disagrees with the book’s central premise.