GOD IS NOT ONE, Best-Selling Author Stephen Prothero, Compares the Eight Rival Religions That Run the World—And Why Their Differences Matter

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In GOD IS NOT ONE, available from HarperOne Publishers April 20, religion scholar and author, Stephen Prothero supplies accessible and comparative knowledge of the world's great religions providing insight into the clashes of faith happening worldwide. How much do you know about the world's religions? Take the quiz!

Cover: GOD IS NOT ONE: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World -- And Why Their Differences Matter by Stephen Prothero

Throughout history and across the globe, religion matters. It has, after all, toppled the Bamiyan statues of the Buddha in Afghanistan and the Twin Towers in New York City.

In GOD IS NOT ONE, available from HarperOne Publishers April 20, religion scholar and author, Stephen Prothero supplies readers with much-needed literacy about each of the world’s great religions—opening our eyes to the religious clashes that threaten us worldwide, and creating a new context for the study of religion in the 21st century.

"At least since the first petals of the counterculture bloomed across Europe and the United States in the 1960s, it has been fashionable to affirm that all religions are beautiful and all are true....This is a lovely sentiment but it is dangerous, disrespectful, and untrue." – Stephen Prothero, from the Introduction

According to many popular religion writers like Karen Armstrong, Huston Smith, and Wayne Dyer, all religions are “different paths to the same God.”

Not true, says bestselling author and religion scholar Stephen Prothero. In his new book God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World—And Why Their Differences Matter (HarperOne; May 2010; Hardcover; $26.99; ISBN 9780061571275), Prothero shows how the world’s religions ask very different questions, tackle very different problems, and aim at very different goals. And he explains why this matters both personally and politically.

Beginning with Islam—which of all the great religions has the greatest contemporary impact—he then moves on (in order of influence) to Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Yoruba Religion, Judaism, and Daoism. He highlights the unique contributions each tradition has made to our collective conversation about the things that matter most. And along the way, he explains how each attempts to overcome a different roadblock to human happiness. For example:

  •     Islam: the problem is pride / the solution is submission
  •     Christianity: the problem is sin / the solution is salvation
  •     Confucianism: the problem is chaos / the solution is social order
  •     Buddhism: the problem is suffering / the solution is awakening
  •     Judaism: the problem is exile / the solution is to return to God

To claim that all religions are the same is foolish. And to suggest that these traditions don’t matter is not just foolish, but dangerous. Throughout history and across the globe, religion matters. It has, after all, toppled the Bamiyan statues of the Buddha in Afghanistan and the Twin Towers in New York City. It has stirred up civil war in Sri Lanka and Darfur. It has moved elections in the United States. And it has resisted coalition troops in Iraq.

In God Is Not One, Stephen Prothero supplies readers with much-needed literacy about each of the world’s great religions—opening our eyes to the religious clashes that threaten us worldwide, and creating a new context for the study of religion in the 21st century.

About the Author
Stephen Prothero is the New York Times bestselling author of Religious Literacy and a professor of religion at Boston University. His work has been featured on the cover of Time magazine, Oprah, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, National Public Radio, and other top national media outlets. He writes and reviews for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Boston Globe, Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Salon, and other publications.

Stephen Prothero will promote God Is Not One in the following cities:

New York, NY – April 19 - 20

Boston, MA – April 27 and ongoing

Chicago, IL – April 29 & 30

Manchester, VT – May 7

Atlanta, GA – May 11 & 12

Raleigh, NC – May 13

New York, NY – May 27 & 28

Praise for God Is Not One:

"Provocative, thoughtful, fiercely intelligent, and, for both believing and nonbelieving, formal and informal students of religion, a must-read.” — Booklist

"Prothero sets up a helpful model for examining each religion on its own terms...a useful introduction to eight of the world's great religions." — Publishers Weekly

"Stephen Prothero has done it again. This is a powerfully-written, paradigm-shifting book. We live in the most religiously diverse country in the world and the most religiously devout nation in the West at a time of global religious crisis. How religious differences can be a bridge of cooperation rather than a bomb of destruction is one of the most important challenges of our era, and on that question Stephen Prothero is as good a guide as you will find." — Eboo Patel,
Founder and Executive Director, Interfaith Youth Core, and author of Acts of Faith

"This book could well be the most highly readable, accurate, and up-to-date introduction to the world’s major religions. It does so by avoiding either polemics or the naive equating of them all as merely different paths to the same summit. Prothero faces the real differences among them squarely, but demonstrates how these differences can enrich, not prevent, dialogue and cooperation." — Harvey Cox, author of The Future of Faith

"So all religions lead to God? That is certainly the foundation for a widespread and well-meaning modern assumption. But as Prothero shows us in this erudite and very wide-ranging study, the world’s different faiths differ enormously in their essentials as well as their incidental manifestations, and any serious consideration of the role of religion must begin by recognizing that fact. God Is Not One is an elegant and thoughtful study that challenges much of what we think we know about the great religions." — Philip Jenkins, author of Jesus Wars

"An urgently needed and very nicely done corrective to politically correct nonsense."
— Rodney Stark, author of Discovering God: The Origins of the Great Religions and the Evolution of Faith

"With intelligence, wit, wisdom, and humor, Prothero has written an important and informative book, which happens to also be a very entertaining read! Through discussion of the world’s great religions, the book makes a convincing argument about religious difference, a hopeful antidote both to the idea that religions are mutually exclusive and to the schmaltzy claim that ‘all religions are one.’ In God is Not One, Prothero gives us a way to religious literacy. Everyone will benefit from reading this book." — Pamela Eisenbaum, author of Paul Was Not a Christian

"By giving us the best compact guide to world religions in years, Prothero has done an estimable public service in addressing religious illiteracy. With his usual combination of wit, insight, and breezy prose, he shows us that comparative religion can be both important and fun. His core point—that religions are diverse and plural, not necessarily mystical expressions of the same inner truth—is bracing and relevant. God Is Not One is the ideal jumping-off point for anyone who wants a single book that captures the core ideals and values of the leading religious traditions." — Noah Feldman, Bemis Professor of Law, Harvard Law School,
and author of The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State

"Enough of lazy paddling of a false and dangerous idea that all religions are the same! They are the same and they are different, they are clashing and complementary, overlapping and incongruous. To live together well in a globalized world, we need to know each other’s faiths, learn to debate in a civil way about their truth claims, and above come to respect each other even when we disagree on what matters to us the most. A very much needed book!" — Miroslav Volf, Professor, Yale University, and author of Exclusion and Embrace

GOD IS NOT ONE: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World—And Why Their Differences Matter
By Stephen Prothero

HarperOne, an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers
May 2010 | $26.99 | Hardcover | ISBN: 9780061571275

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