Stephen Prothero's Religious Literacy

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In Stephen Prothero’s, Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know and Doesn’t (New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2007), 297 we discover the average American’s lack of religious knowledge. Prothero discusses religious illiteracy in three ways. How it exists, came to be, and just how to possibly solve this problem. Today religious illiteracy is at least as pervasive as cultural illiteracy, and certainly more dangerous. Religious illiteracy is more dangerous because religion is the most volatile constituent of culture, because religion has been, in addition to one of the greatest forces for good in world history, one of the greatest forces for evil. Religion has always been a major factor in US politics and international affairs.…show more content…
Prothero demonstrates numerous examples of religious illiteracy. One example was a situation in which he gave a religious literacy quiz to his Boston University students in the spring of 2006. Majority of the students failed this quiz. Biblical illiteracy has been fairly well recognized. According to the Gallup Organization, which has tracked trends in US religion for over fifty years, Bible reading has declined since the 1980s and “basic Bible knowledge is at a record low.” This chapter is full of facts and statistics. This is a great strength as it gives readers a realization that we are seriously a nation of illiterates. This was a great transition from the introduction and it sets up a good case for this…show more content…
I certainly appreciated the perspective that was taken. The book was well written and the reading level did not feel difficult. I think middle school students would be capable of effortlessly reading with comprehension. This is definitely a must read for anyone who has interests in religion. Even if religion is not an interest, this is still a good book to read. The book demonstrates the importance of religious literacy and gives basic knowledge that all Americans need to know. I think the author was successful in writing this. Prothero kept the point right on target and successfully established the problem and a possible solution. I feel that if Prothero had a bias in one area, it was religion. I got the feeling that he focused more heavily on Christianity. I would say this was handled well though and seemed not to exceedingly get in the way. Prothero supported his thesis with much evidence. He shared many facts and statistics. My favorite thing about this book is how it opens your eyes to a much broader knowledge of religion. America is still actually a religious nation even though our knowledge and understanding seems limited. No matter your interests, this is a worthy
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