Catalogue


America and the challenges of religious diversity /
Robert Wuthnow.
imprint
Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, 2005.
description
xvii, 391 p.
ISBN
0691119767 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, 2005.
isbn
0691119767 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
5603030
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Robert Wuthnow is Andlinger Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"This book is one of Wuthnow's best. He lends his fine-grained analysis to a topic that is at the heart of the experiment called American democracy: how people manage the idea that religion should be about the one true faith with their desire to welcome faiths other than their own."--Alan Wolfe, Boston College "This is a wonderful book. I know of no other works that interrogate the contradictions between the historical sense many Americans hold that America is a "Christian nation" and the current realities and challenges of religious diversity and pluralism. It is a very thorough, penetrating examination of a topic that requires immediate attention."--Lynn Davidman, Brown University
Flap Copy
"This book is one of Wuthnow's best. He lends his fine-grained analysis to a topic that is at the heart of the experiment called American democracy: how people manage the idea that religion should be about the one true faith with their desire to welcome faiths other than their own."-- Alan Wolfe, Boston College "This is a wonderful book. I know of no other works that interrogate the contradictions between the historical sense many Americans hold that America is a "Christian nation" and the current realities and challenges of religious diversity and pluralism. It is a very thorough, penetrating examination of a topic that requires immediate attention."-- Lynn Davidman, Brown University
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2006-06-01:
Another commendable study from prolific sociologist Wuthnow (Princeton Univ.), this comprehensive assessment of US religious self-understanding demonstrates how religious diversity is challenging the privileged notion of the US as a "Christian" nation. After historically situating the country's religious identity, chapter 2 introduces Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims--the major non-Christian/Jewish religions in the US. Chapters 4-6 describe three types of Americans based on interview data: "Spiritual Shoppers," who integrate disparate religious traditions; "Inclusive Christians," who remain precariously open to other faiths while adhering to their own; and "Exclusive Christians," who uncomfortably commit to their own tradition while trying to participate in the broader society. Chapter 7 summarizes survey responses on perceptions of the US religious heritage, personal influences on religion and spirituality, familiarity with teachings of other groups, and level of contact with as well as attitudes toward other religious and ethnic minority groups. Wuthnow also addresses congregational responses to diversity and the special case of religiously mixed marriages. Since Americans believe in the right of groups to worship freely but are not motivated to learn about or interact with diverse believers, Wuthnow advocates a proactive "reflective pluralism" for creating a more hospitable national ethos. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. G. Marti Davidson College
Appeared in Library Journal on 2005-08-01:
How have changes in the non-Judeo-Christian population affected the Christian United States, and in this pluralistic society, has that population found acceptance in the melting pot of Christianity? Drawing on his own research, Wuthnow (sociology, Princeton Univ.; Restructuring of American Religion) concludes that religious diversity is a mid-20th-century phenomenon and takes the reader on a journey through the history of religious traditions, practice, and ideals in America. Wuthnow then groups present-day beliefs and practices in the United States into three orientations: "Spiritual Shopping" (smorgasbord religion), "Christian Inclusivism" (Christian but respectful of other beliefs), and "Christian Exclusivism" (wherein there is only one way of thinking: Believe in the Bible or you won't go to Heaven). A religion and diversity survey further distinguishes the three orientations and presents a futurist view of the nation. Wuthnow sees the United States as a religiously, ethnically, and culturally diverse society and lists some of the challenges ahead for Christians in homogeneous enclaves who must reconcile themselves to the notion of the religious melting pot. This thought-provoking text is recommended for larger religious collections.-L. Kriz, West Des Moines P.L., IA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
All of Robert Wuthnow's formidable skills as the nation's leading 'public sociologist' are prominently displayed in this disciplined, accessible study.
"All of Robert Wuthnows formidable skills as the nations leading public sociologist are prominently displayed in this disciplined, accessible study."-- Mark A. Noll, Christianity Today
Another commendable study from prolific sociologist Robert Wuthnow, this comprehensive assessment of US religious self-understanding demonstrates how religious diversity is challenging the privileged notion of the US as a 'Christian' nation. . . . Since Americans believe in the right of groups to worship freely but are not motivated to learn about or interact with diverse believers, Wuthnow advocates a proactive "reflective pluralism" for creating a more hospitable national ethos.
"Another commendable study from prolific sociologist Robert Wuthnow, this comprehensive assessment of US religious self-understanding demonstrates how religious diversity is challenging the privileged notion of the US as a 'Christian' nation. . . . Since Americans believe in the right of groups to worship freely but are not motivated to learn about or interact with diverse believers, Wuthnow advocates a proactive 'reflective pluralism' for creating a more hospitable national ethos."-- Choice
As Robert Wuthnow amply documents, the United States is (on the whole) an open and welcoming country, ready to extend the full benefits of citizenship to strangers who could expect second-class status in much of the rest of the world.
"As Robert Wuthnow amply documents, the United States is (on the whole) an open and welcoming country, ready to extend the full benefits of citizenship to strangers who could expect second-class status in much of the rest of the world."-- Gary Rosen, New York Times Book Review
A wide-ranging and insightful study into how Americans are responding to dramatic increases in religious and cultural diversity.
"A wide-ranging and insightful study into how Americans are responding to dramatic increases in religious and cultural diversity."-- Mark E. Button, Perspectives on Politics
His book marks a major contribution to the study of American religion, both for its lucid arguments, its broad canvassing of the relevant literature, and its research methodology.
"His book marks a major contribution to the study of American religion, both for its lucid arguments, its broad canvassing of the relevant literature, and its research methodology."-- Patrick J. Hayes, Catholic Library World
The great virtue ofAmerica and the Challenges of Religious Diversitylies in its careful depiction of the state of American Christianity today. Wuthnow's narrative is endlessly subtle and informative.
"The great virtue of America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity lies in its careful depiction of the state of American Christianity today. Wuthnow's narrative is endlessly subtle and informative."-- Clifford Orwin, The American Interest
This is a supple, nuanced and thoughtful book, among Wuthnow's best.
"This is a supple, nuanced and thoughtful book, among Wuthnows best."-- John A. Coleman, America
Winner of the 2007 Mirra Komarovsky Best Book Award, Eastern Sociological Society Finalist for the 2006 Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in Analytical-Descriptive Studies, American Academy of Religion Finalist for the 2006 Book Award in Christianity and Culture, Christianity Today
With . . . America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity, Wuthnow zeros in on one of the most significant issues facing the country today.
"With . . . America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity, Wuthnow zeros in on one of the most significant issues facing the country today."-- Heather Grennan Gary, Publishers Weekly
Wuthnow has conducted careful research, including thousands of interviews, to find out how ordinary American Christians deal in their day-to-day lives with this new religious diversity: how they think about non-Christians; what sort of encounters they have with them, from workplace chatter to interfaith services and even intermarriage; and how they and their pastors deal with such theologically troubling issues as whether non-Christians can be saved or whether Christians should make active efforts to convert them.
"Wuthnow has conducted careful research, including thousands of interviews, to find out how ordinary American Christians deal in their day-to-day lives with this new religious diversity: how they think about non-Christians; what sort of encounters they have with them, from workplace chatter to interfaith services and even intermarriage; and how they and their pastors deal with such theologically troubling issues as whether non-Christians can be saved or whether Christians should make active efforts to convert them."-- Charlotte Allen, Washington Post
Wuthnow is one of the best and most prolific sociologists of religion on the contemporary scene. His work often sets the agenda not only for other scholars, but also for religious leaders and practitioners concerned with making their faith relevant to social issues. . . . In the end [of America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity], Wuthnow calls for a strategy of 'reflective pluralism.' Reflective pluralism will overcome the reluctance to acknowledge significant differences between religions.
"Wuthnow is one of the best and most prolific sociologists of religion on the contemporary scene. His work often sets the agenda not only for other scholars, but also for religious leaders and practitioners concerned with making their faith relevant to social issues. . . . In the end [of America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity ], Wuthnow calls for a strategy of 'reflective pluralism.' Reflective pluralism will overcome the reluctance to acknowledge significant differences between religions."-- Fred Kniss, Christian Century
"Wuthnow's book is a clear exposition of the state of belief and practice with regards to views on religious diversity in America, and an impassioned call for increasing religious tolerance."-- Albert Wu, Religious Studies Review
This book is one of Wuthnow's best. He lends his fine-grained analysis to a topic that is at the heart of the experiment called American democracy: how people manage the idea that religion should be about the one true faith with their desire to welcome faiths other than their own.
This is a wonderful book. I know of no other works that interrogate the contradictions between the historical sense many Americans hold that America is a "Christian nation" and the current realities and challenges of religious diversity and pluralism. It is a very thorough, penetrating examination of a topic that requires immediate attention.
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, August 2005
New York Times Book Review, October 2005
Choice, June 2006
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and adherents of other non-Western religions have become a significant presence in the United States in recent years. Yet many Americans continue to regard the United States as a Christian society. How are we adapting to the new diversity? Do we casually announce that we "respect" the faiths of non-Christians without understanding much about those faiths? Are we willing to do the hard work required to achieve genuine religious pluralism? Award-winning author Robert Wuthnow tackles these and other difficult questions surrounding religious diversity and does so with his characteristic rigor and style.America and the Challenges of Religious Diversitylooks not only at how we have adapted to diversity in the past, but at the ways rank-and-file Americans, clergy, and other community leaders are responding today. Drawing from a new national survey and hundreds of in-depth qualitative interviews, this book is the first systematic effort to assess how well the nation is meeting the current challenges of religious and cultural diversity. The results, Wuthnow argues, are both encouraging and sobering--encouraging because most Americans do recognize the right of diverse groups to worship freely, but sobering because few Americans have bothered to learn much about religions other than their own or to engage in constructive interreligious dialogue. Wuthnow contends that responses to religious diversity are fundamentally deeper than polite discussions about civil liberties and tolerance would suggest. Rather, he writes, religious diversity strikes us at the very core of our personal and national theologies. Only by understanding this important dimension of our culture will we be able to move toward a more reflective approach to religious pluralism.
Main Description
Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and adherents of other non-Western religions have become a significant presence in the United States in recent years. Yet many Americans continue to regard the United States as a Christian society. How are we adapting to the new diversity? Do we casually announce that we "respect" the faiths of non-Christians without understanding much about those faiths? Are we willing to do the hard work required to achieve genuine religious pluralism? Award-winning author Robert Wuthnow tackles these and other difficult questions surrounding religious diversity and does so with his characteristic rigor and style. America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity looks not only at how we have adapted to diversity in the past, but at the ways rank-and-file Americans, clergy, and other community leaders are responding today. Drawing from a new national survey and hundreds of in-depth qualitative interviews, this book is the first systematic effort to assess how well the nation is meeting the current challenges of religious and cultural diversity. The results, Wuthnow argues, are both encouraging and sobering--encouraging because most Americans do recognize the right of diverse groups to worship freely, but sobering because few Americans have bothered to learn much about religions other than their own or to engage in constructive interreligious dialogue. Wuthnow contends that responses to religious diversity are fundamentally deeper than polite discussions about civil liberties and tolerance would suggest. Rather, he writes, religious diversity strikes us at the very core of our personal and national theologies. Only by understanding this important dimension of our culture will we be able to move toward a more reflective approach to religious pluralism.
Table of Contents
List of Tablesp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Introduction: Confronting Diversityp. 1
A Special People in a Diverse Worldp. 8
First Encountersp. 10
Toward a New Nationp. 14
From Missions to Comparative Religionp. 19
The Tripartite Settlementp. 30
Beyond Christian America?p. 34
The New Diversityp. 37
American Hindusp. 38
American Buddhistsp. 47
American Muslimsp. 56
Living among Christiansp. 63
Pluralism or Coexistence?p. 73
The Significance of Religious Diversityp. 75
A Threat to Democracy?p. 78
Fairness and Decencyp. 84
Challenges to American Valuesp. 88
Religion as Moral Orderp. 95
Embracing Diversity: Shopping in the Spiritual Marketplacep. 106
Trev Granger's Storyp. 108
Becoming a Spiritual Shopperp. 110
The Shopping Mentalityp. 119
Toward a New Consciousness?p. 126
"Many Mansions": Accepting Diversityp. 130
Sandra Michaelson: Beauty in Every Religionp. 133
Coming to Terms with Diversityp. 135
How to Be an Inclusive Christianp. 143
Envisioning an Inclusive Societyp. 153
"One Way": Resisting Diversityp. 159
Trisha Mobley: "It Is Written"p. 160
The Road to Resistancep. 163
Maintaining an Exclusivist Worldviewp. 173
The Social Implications of Christian Exclusivismp. 183
The Public's Beliefs and Practicesp. 188
Beliefs about Religious Truthp. 190
Views of Americap. 198
The Impact of Non-Western Religionsp. 201
Social and Cultural Factorsp. 208
Interreligious Contact and Attitudesp. 212
Interreligious Programsp. 220
Conclusionsp. 228
How Congregations Manage Diversityp. 230
What Churches Are Doingp. 233
The Role of Theologyp. 237
Strategies of Avoidancep. 244
Strategies of Engagementp. 247
The Imprint of Pluralismp. 253
Beyond Insularity?p. 255
Negotiating Religiously Mixed Marriagesp. 259
Falling in Lovep. 260
Negotiating with Religious Authoritiesp. 264
The Parsing of Practicesp. 270
Disaggregating Religious Identitiesp. 276
The Normalization of Diversityp. 278
From Religion to Culturep. 281
How Pluralistic Should We Be?p. 286
Reflective Pluralismp. 287
The Case for Cooperationp. 292
An Effort to Promote Understandingp. 295
Multiple Modelsp. 299
Why Interreligious Efforts Failp. 301
How Interreligious Efforts Succeedp. 303
What Else Needs to Be Donep. 305
Extrapolating to Other Kinds of Diversityp. 306
The Challenges Aheadp. 308
Notesp. 315
Selected Bibliographyp. 351
Indexp. 371
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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