Monday, February 11, 2008

What Americans Should But Don’t Know About Religion

At the Pew Forum's biannual Faith Angle Conference on religion, politics and public life, Stephen Prothero, author of Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know -- And Doesn't, argues that the United States is one of the most religious countries on earth, but Americans know nothing about religion -- their own or the religions of others. He asks: How can we engage a politician who is rightly or wrongly invoking the Bible or using religion for political purposes without knowing something about religion ourselves, as citizens, journalists and academics? Prothero thinks the impact of religious illiteracy on foreign policy is even more significant: Did we understand Iraq as a place where people are, in many cases, primarily motivated by religion?

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