From the Introduction- Religion makes an important difference in the lives of nations, peoples, communities, and individuals. In this book we ask, How does religion matter in the everyday lives of ordinary people and in the present-tense affairs of the communities in which we live? The emphasis is on our own country, the United States. Religion--so we maintain--makes vast difference in the social order, and for most Americans it forms a primary fact of life. But how, in concrete terms, are we to identify the difference religion makes? The contributors to this volume provide answers to that question.
In this companion to the best-selling World Religions in America: An Introduction, renowned contributors explore the importance of religion in the lives of people, communities, and nations. Their concern is not with particular doctrines within the various religious traditions, but with how real people live these traditions today and the impact this has on the larger social order.
William Scott Green is Professor Emeritus of Religion and Judaic Studies and Dean Emeritus of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York.
Jacob Neusner is Distinguished Service Professor of the History and Theology of Judaism and Bard Center Fellow at the Bard College Institute of Advanced Theology in Annondale-on-Hudson, New York. He is the author of several books, including Judaism When Christianity Began, The Emergence of Judaism, and the popular textbook World Religions in America, all of which are available from WJK.
How does religion influence life in this postmodern and pluralistic era? In
every way, assert the 17 diverse essayists who examine various religious
influences on political discourse, gender, media and other aspects of American
life. How does, for example, the American Muslim experience of media reveal
hidden biases in reporting? How does a Buddhist encounter death? How does a
Christian respond to political and economic issues? Some essays, like John
Updike's review of religion's influence on literature, are outstanding. Others
are more academic, even pedantic. All strive to model toleration and religious
pluralism--which, as editor William Scott Green writes in the final essay, are
not only goals of democracy but also core values of the American experience.
The collection leaves unresolved, however, the question of how religions in
America, each asserting its own fundamental religious truths, can also share
the values of toleration and religious pluralism. (Nov.)