Monday, April 19, 2010

Review: God is Not One by Stephen Prothero

Anyone taking the long walk of faith should read Stephen Prothero's new book, God is Not One: Eight Rival Religions that Run the World and Why Their Differences Matter (Harper One, 2010). Prothero teaches World Religion at Boston University and is the best selling author of the book Religious Literacy.

Prothero's main thesis is that contrary to public opinion, people do not believe the same thing! I have come across this very same affirmation many times in Church gatherings and in my courses in Christian Spirituality, people often will say, "well, after all, don't we all believe in the same God?"

Prothero takes a look at the top eight religious belief systems in the world and shows us how they are similar but also, more importantly where they divirge as far as practices, matters of faith, and formation of community.

The eight religions included in the book are:

Yoruba Religion

This book includes, history, highlights major religious figures in each religious belief system, and offers some insights into matters of worship and community. I found this book very enlightening. Prothero has an easy to read conversational style which you often don't find in theological or religious themed books. This book was refreshing because aside from Islam and Judaism I knew very little about Daoism or Yoruba religions. So for me this book offered insight into how many people view the world, sin, salvation, death, the afterlife, and so forth.

God is Not One will stimulate, provoke, and delight at the same time. I do not teach World Religions, but if I did, I certainly would use God is Not One in the classroom, it is that good!