I recently got to review the book God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World–and Why Their Differences Matter by Stephen Prothero as part of the TLC Book Tours. By now, I’m sure many of you have heard about, if not read this book – it’s been talked about on The Wild Hunt and by Ruby Sara over at Pagan Godspell – both of which did such amazing reviews that I think anything I saw after them will be somewhat lacking!
In the book, Prothero discusses the eight major religions of the word (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, Yoruba, Confucianism, and Hinduism) and what each of them states is the “human problem” and the “solution” to the problem. For example, in Christianity, Prothero states, the problem is sin and the solution is salvation. I would give you the problem and solution for Paganism, or since it’s obviously a specific religion, Wicca, but Prothero didn’t actually bother with it (even though many consider it to be the fastest growing religion in the world). That isn’t all he discusses, of course, but it’s the gist of it: Prothero trying to show that all the world’s religions are different because they have different teachings and themes. By accepting that all religions are different, we can start to learn to build understanding and coexist.
Personally, I doubt any amount of delving into each other’s religious views is going to turn any of the fundie heads around to seeing a different point of view, though I do recommend this book to anyone who has a real interest in studying different religions and delving into different points of view on religious topics. For those who really do believe that “God is One”, you might want to give it a pass.
Personally, I found this book slightly frustrating for it’s lack of reference to any Pagan traditions, as one of the primary tenets of so many I’ve studied has been the idea that all gods are one god – and that he/she comes to everyone in the fashion that is best for the individual at that particular time in their life. When discussing if God is One, wouldn’t it be prudent to discuss the religious traditions that actually really do believe that fact?