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God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World--and Why Their Differences Matter von [Prothero, Stephen]
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God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World--and Why Their Differences Matter Kindle Edition

4.0 von 5 Sternen 3 Kundenrezensionen

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“enormously timely, thoughtful and balanced” (Los Angeles Times)

“God is Not One is 2010’s must-read for anyone religiously illiterate….Don’t know much about the world’s faiths? Get a copy now.” (The Daily Beast)

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

“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)

“Stephen Prothero has done it again. This is a powerfully-written, paradigm-shifting book. 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 Prothero is as good a guide as you will find.” (Eboo Patel, founder and executive director of 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.” (Harvey Cox, Hollis Research Professor of Divinity, Harvard University, and author of The Future of Faith)

“A very much needed book!” (Miroslav Volf, Professor, Yale University, and author of Exclusion and Embrace)


In God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World, New York Times bestselling author of Religious Literacy and religion scholar Stephen Prothero argues that persistent attempts to portray all religions as different paths to the same God overlook the distinct problem that each tradition seeks to solve. Delving into the different problems and solutions that Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Confucianism, Yoruba Religion, Daoism and Atheism strive to combat, God is Not One is an indispensable guide to the questions human beings have asked for millennia—and to the disparate paths we are taking to answer them today. Readers of Huston Smith and Karen Armstrong will find much to ponder in God is Not One.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 1316 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 404 Seiten
  • Verlag: HarperCollins e-books; Auflage: Reprint (6. April 2010)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B003F1WMAC
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
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  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Verbesserter Schriftsatz: Aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.0 von 5 Sternen 3 Kundenrezensionen
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #410.111 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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4.0 von 5 Sternen
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The book begins in an interesting way and has a deep pull factor; it's readable (I certainly finished it ...) The linguistics and philosophical issues that arise from a simple use of 'gog' are profound, BUT be warned:

a. It's written by someone who is clearly more drawn towards straightforward comparative religion which itself is not a deep criticism, but means that the book lacks depth on a theoretical level. Even as a book on comparative religions it's actually quite poor - it says nothing about different religions and their relationships to sex, money, economics, eating, dressing, womens issues, individual freedoms, etc. There is actually a good reason why he doesn't go into these deatils and that's because it means opening up a hornet's nest of controversy that this author is uncomfortable with ... ;

b. He is not very objective - it's written from a very conservative agenda of only ever saying nice things to religion which gets a little tiresome;

c. His shocking treatment of 'new athies' shows his biased sensibilities. After happily concluding the 'new atheism' is indeed a religion, he then goes on to treat without any of the respect and consideration he gives to the other religions - sure new athiests have valid concerns, issues and experiences too? Why are they never probed and empathised with?

Is you want a book on comparative religion there's much better out there than this ... If you want a debate about the word 'god' where we are all talking about the same thing, OR are under an illusion here and are actually talking about very different things, then wait for someone to has more analytic training and rigour.

In brief, don't bother.
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What Boston University professor of religion Stephen Prothero objects to is the idea that (1) all religions are one, or (2) all religions are "the same idiocy, the same poison." (p. 324). The first opinion Prothero attributes to "the perennial philosophers" and people like Indian saint Ramakrishna. The second he hangs on those he calls "the New Atheists." He calls these mind sets "Godthink."

To counter these misconceptions Prothero has written "God Is Not One" to give the general reader a detailed account of what each of eight world religion traditions profess, believe and practice and how they actually do differ. He adds a ninth chapter on atheism which--especially in the writings of "the New Atheists"--he defines as something like a religion itself.

Let's begin with his line up and how he ranks the major world religions. He begins with Islam calling it today the greatest of all religions. Why? Because even though it currently has fewer adherents than Christianity it is growing faster. Furthermore Prothero insists "Islam is the leader of the pack in terms of contemporary impact." (p. 19) Additionally Islam's preeminence is partly due to the fact that Muslims do not restrict their faith to the private realm and do not believe as most Christians do in the separation of church and state.

So here is his line up from the greatest to the merely great, as it were:

Yoruba Religion

Naturally practically every reader (I would imagine) would disagree with some part of this line up. I certain do not think that Islam is the greatest religion mainly because I disagree with Prothero's criteria for greatness.
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Für das Thema interessieren sich viele Menschen. Deshalb ist dieses aufschlussreiche Buch so wichtig. Es bringt in verständlicher Sprache umfassende Einblicke in die Ausrichtung und Ziele aller Hauptreligionen. Es rückt jeden Kuschelkurs, jede naive Einstellung zurecht und gibt Ausblicke, auf das was möglich ist und realistischer Weise erwartet werden kann - oder eben auch nicht.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 3.9 von 5 Sternen 203 Rezensionen
109 von 118 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Rather Disappointing 7. August 2010
Von Devon J. Stanko - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
In my opinion, the introduction is the best chapter in the book. I was glad to have a book written by a professor of religion, for (during some parts) it felt like I was actually in his class.

In the intro Mr. Prothero outlines four basic criteria for a religion: a problem (addressed), a solution, techniques (for achieving that solution), and exemplars (to use as guides). Every other book on religion that I had read had focused mainly on descriptions and explanations; this book begins with the premise that religions are not all the same in the end because they address different topics, see completely different "ultimate problems", and instruct their followers to do things to fix the problem that often clash with other religions. It gives you an easy to understand formula to apply to religion, and promises that based off this formula all religions are very different.

So far so good.

The chapters in this book cover:
1- Islam
2- Christianity
3- Confucianism
4- Hinduism
5- Buddhism
6- Yoruba
7- Judaism
8- Daoism
9- Atheism

After the first chapter I was left with a feeling of disappointment. Sadly, that feeling never really went away. Although the author refutes the "perennial philosophy" of prominent authors (to include Karen Armstrong and Huston Smith)that all religions are basically the same, he does little to include and prove his argument in each chapter. The topics he does cover are communicated brilliantly, but they offer little more that what is covered in books by authors he disagrees with.

I fully expected the author to apply his four point formula to the eight religions covered, and through the use of that formula prove to us that religions are NOT all different paths up the same mountain. After all, Islam's solution of submission to the problem of human pride is nothing at all like Christianity's solution of salvation to the problem of human sin or Confucianism's solution of social order to the problem of societal chaos, right?

If you've read Karen Armstrong's book "The History of God", then chapters 1, 2, and 7 in this book give you nothing new. If you've also read her "Case for God", then chapters 2 and 7 in this book will probably bore you. If you've read her "Islam", or Rezla Aslan's "There is no god but God", then chapter 1 here is just a re-hash. If you've read Robert Wright's "The Evolution of God", then chapters 1, 2, 4, 7, and 9 here are useless to those who are looking for new information. I'm not here to plug Armstrong or Aslan or Wright; I'm simply pointing out that Mr. Prothero argues against most of their positions, then does almost nothing to back up his hypothesis.

Perhaps the best (and most useful) chapters in the book are the ones on Confucianism, Yoruba, and Daoism. I have not found another book on the Chinese religions that examines them in the way this one does, and if you go to your local bookstore you'd be hard-pressed to find a mainstream religious author that dares to travel farther east than Buddhism or farther into Africa than transplanted Islam. That being said, it seems silly to buy a book for only 27% of its content.

I'm not here to bash the book, insult the author, or downplay the importance of the basic message of the book. I do agree that not all religions are the same, nor are they taking us through different paths to the same end goal. I just really wish that Mr. Prothero had been more aggressive and forthright in his argument throughout the course of the book, rather than beginning with a spectacular introduction and following with what I've read over and over before.

This is an AMAZING book for people who want to start a collection on religious philosophy and need a good overarching text. For those of us who have a few years (and authors) under our belts, I recommend passing on this one.
226 von 251 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Good premise, but ultimately superficial and "chatty" 11. Juni 2010
Von Tom Mott - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
The initial premise is intriguing: Prothero want to disabuse us from the notion that all great religions are essentially the same--i.e., that Allah/God/Yahweh are just different names for the same deity, and "believers" are simply ascending different sides of the same mountain, but with the same ultimate goal).

The book does give a reasonably good overview of eight major religions, and I am thankful for some of his insights. For example, he discusses why a "Godless" religion (like Confucianism) deserves to be thought of as a religion and not just a systems of ethics. He also points out that someone can be deeply religious but in a quiet manner: A fire-and-brimstome evangelical preacher isn't necessarily *more* religious than, say, a quietly devoted Methodist.

But the book feels superficial. It reads like a professor giving an overview of religions for college freshmen, and wanting to keep it fun and fast paced: hoping to become their favorite professor. After each chapter, I found myself needing to turn to the Internet to read up on each religion for more information on the basic beliefs and practices of each.

Prothero writes in a chatty, "witty" tone which some may find charming, but I found annoying: as if he's worried the material will be too dry or too impenetrable for his audiences, so he funs-it-up and dumbs-it-down. Here are the first two sentences of the chapter on Buddhism:

"Buddhism begins with a fairy tale. Unlike Cinderella or Rocky, however, this is no underdog fantasy of someone who has nothing and gains the whole world."

Really? That's how we're going to begin an overview of Buddhism? And does he mean that Buddhism themselves think of the story of The Buddha as a fairy tale, or is that just his opinion?

The final chapter on atheism seems dashed off and dismissive. Take this sample sentence:

"After all, atheism is a religion of sorts, or can be. Many atheists are quite religious, holding their views about God with the conviction of zealots and evangelizing with verge."

After writing in depth about three non-theistic religions (Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism), it's odd that he then writes a "coda" about atheism at all, and then jumbles up theism and religion as analogous concepts.

He also tends to weigh the merits of each religion against his own personal experience, as if he's shopping for the best religion and trying to figure out which is the best fit. I feel like I know more about Stephen Prothero now than I do about the major religions.
554 von 623 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Feeling both Conflicted and Informed 5. Mai 2010
Von Ravi - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I'm feeling a little bit conflicted on this. On one hand, I've had Steve Prothero as a professor. He's extremely intelligent and completely engaging - more so than any other college professor I've come across. Great human being in person too. I found the book to be fair and well-researched, definitely a clear and worthy introduction to many major world religions. His unique method of introducing the problem/ solution that each religion offers is fantastic. Christianity addresses sin through salvation, Islam addresses pride through submission, etc. For its content, I think this should be the standard introduction to world religions for any high school or undergraduate course. There is never a dull moment and he draws fascinating parallels and brings in interesting anecdotes. Further, the Professor makes a very valid point. In our politically correct world, people try to underplay important differences in doctrine, ritual, and worldview and paint all religions as one. Forget about disparity between religions, huge differences exist within religions: the God of Abraham is very unlike the God of Moses or the God of Second Isaiah. This is where the Professor makes a valid and important point - these religions are not the same, so we need to stop pretending they are! Not only is it false, but it's intellectually demeaning.

Now, here's where the conflict comes in. I completely disagree with the entire premise of the book, that "God is not one." In fact, the unity of Godhead is the one thing that all religions seem to share. The very definition of God itself presupposes an all-inclusiveness; if there is a God, God MUST be one. In the same way that Christopher Hitchens took on Islam's phrase "Allahu Akbar" with his book "God is not great" - Professor Prothero here seems to take on the Jewish phrase "Jehovah Echad" with this book: "God is not one." I noticed Huston Smith's biographer posted a defense of the perennial philosophy on here, which is a philosophy I find myself subscribing to on a very deep level. I think the issue behind the conflict is that people often confuse religion and God. God exists independent of religion. God may be one, but there is no doubt that the religions that attempt to reach God are very very different. However, just because particular religions have different opinions about God, does not mean that they are speaking about separate gods. Each person I meet has different opinions and conclusions about me, but that does not mean that there are multiple versions of me. I am one person. We cannot dismiss God's unity simply because various folks approach deity in unique ways.

All religions talk about two realms, the heavens and earth, matter and spirit, prakriti and purusha, etc. To truly understand God as he/she is we need to approach it on the spiritual realm, not the material realm. All that religions and rituals and even words can possibly discuss are in the material world. They are just the finger pointing at the moon, not the moon itself. As the Tao Te Ching says "The way that can be spoken of is not the constant way; the name that can be named is not the constant name." To the mystics, which were not deeply addressed in the book, there is a shared experience of a common underlying Reality because they reach God through the spiritual realms, not through material dogma, ritual, and myth. Jehovah and Vishnu are worlds apart, but the Kabbalistic Ain Soph and Vedantic Brahman are one in the same. So here, perhaps the better book title would have been "Religion is not One." Not as catchy, but perhaps more accurate.

Plus sides:
- Informative about major world religions
- Unbiased in portraying the good, bad, and ugly of various traditions
- Fun to read and not a dull moment, very engaging
- Great problem/ solution method - simple but not simplistic

Down sides:
- Focuses on mainstream religion, ignores the esoteric/ mystical paths
- Assumes religious differences mean God is not one

Buy it. Even if you don't subscribe to the idea of "God is not one" - it will be a great and informative read, especially on lesser-known religions such as the Yoruba, Taoism, and Confucianism.
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2.0 von 5 Sternen Promised much but did not deliver 11. März 2011
Von Anonymous - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Through the first 8 chapters I thought this was a very good book. I found it very informative, especially in the religions that I had little prior knowledge of. I thought the book got a little bit too much into the history of the religions and not quite enough into how they are practiced by the general population, but it was otherwise pretty good. Then I came to the section on atheism, which made me rethink the entire book.

The first problem I had was that, while Prothero seemed to take an unbiased observer's approach to the eight religions, giving a general overview and not completely ignoring the bad parts of them, but focusing on their positives, the atheism section was a different story. From this section it seems that he takes personal offense at the very existence of atheism, and so uses this chapter to vilify and caricature atheists. In this chapter he focuses on all of the negatives and none of the positives. He focuses on a few prominent atheists without much detail on the average Joe atheist. A major focus in this section is arguing that atheism is bad based on the fact that they believe all of the various religions to be wrong, however he doesn't do this with the other chapters. For example he doesn't spend the majority of the Christianity chapter discussing how they think followers of all of the other religions are going to hell. This made all of the previous chapters seem a little bit too light and fluffy in comparison.

The way the author injected himself into the final chapter seemed to tell more about his own insecurities than about atheism. He argues against atheism for things many religions do as well. For example, he says "every refusal of a person of faith to come over to the atheist side is viewed not as a principled disagreement but as evidence of stupidity or malice or worse...Why isn't the rest of the world exactly like us?" Christianity, the only other religion I can speak of from personal experience, however, feels exactly the same way about Christianity and the rest of the world, but he doesn't berate them for it. I'm betting at least some of the other religions are similar. He also talks about atheists using the metaphor of a war between science and religion, which is definitely a tactic that Christians (and some other religions, from what I can tell) have mastered all too well. He also states that most people of faith harbor some doubt, while atheists are very sure of themselves. From my experience, however, I've seen people across the spectrum of certainty and doubt in both Christianity and atheism, but as an overall pattern, the atheists tend to be a lot more willing to voice their self-doubt than Christians. All of this makes me think the author is just projecting his own religious uncertainties into this chapter and thus taking a cheap shot at atheism to justify his own feelings about religion. In his conclusion Prothero talks about the importance of needing to learn religious literacy from an objective stance, and were it only eight chapters long I would have thought this book was the answer, but he betrays himself in chapter nine to be not so objective after all. It is really too bad, because of the two groups in this book that are most vilified in the USA, he seemed to do a decent job dispelling some of the myths of the "evils of Islam", showing instead their common humanity, but with atheists he takes the opposite approach, choosing to play into the well-worn stereotypes.

Finally the blatant inaccuracies and vast oversimplification in this final chapter has led me to question the accuracies of the other chapters as well. I've seen from some other reviews that some of the other chapters (Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism) may have some big problems as well. This makes me wonder how much of what I read was actually about various religions and how much of it was Prothero's imagined versions of these religions.
26 von 30 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen It's About TIME!!! 24. Mai 2010
Von B. Ross - Veröffentlicht auf
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God is NOT one! Not all religions are striving for the same thing! Religious tolerance has condensed all of religious ideology into one format, and it has wrongly assumed that we are all climbing some imaginary mountain but taking different paths. The trouble is that we aren't all striving for the same goal. We aren't taking different paths to the same end! We are climbing different mountains! Prothero acknowledges that religions are DIFFERENT. Hallelujah! If there is going to be understanding and cohabitation, we need to grasp the fundamental differences in our world views and in what we believe happens at the end of life. That has everything to do with how we live, and how we live alongside others. This is a well-written book with very few biases. Where Prothero has opinions he openly states his self-perceived biases. It's easy reading and well, well worth the time.
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