Show 210: Stephen Prothero – Religious Literacy

From Publishers Weekly:

(Stephen) Prothero (American Jesus), begins this valuable primer by noting that religious illiteracy is rampant in the United States, where most Americans, even Christians, cannot name even one of the four Gospels. Such ignorance is perilous because religion “is the most volatile constituent of culture” and, unfortunately, often “one of the greatest forces for evil” in the world, he writes.

Prothero does more than diagnose the problem; he traces its surprising historic roots (“in one of the great ironies of…history, it was the nation’s most fervent people of faith who steered Americans down the road to religious illiteracy”) and prescribes concrete solutions that address religious education while preserving First Amendment boundaries about religion in the public square. Prothero also offers a dictionary of religious literacy and a quiz for readers to test their knowledge.

Stephen Prothero is the Chair of the Department of Religion at Boston University and the author of numerous books, most recently Religious Literacy: What Americans Need to Know (Harper SanFrancisco, 2007) and American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003).

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