Readings on Faiths Around the World - header - 2560x800

A Book Group Exploring the Diversity of Religion

WHAT:  Learning Circle

WHEN: Every 2nd and 4th Thursday at 8:30 AM Pacific / 11:30 AM Eastern
Begins April 14, 2022

WHERE:  Online Via Zoom

Readings on Faiths Around the World is a book group that reads and discusses books covering the vast diversity of world faiths. Of course, the standard seven world religions will be included but we will also explore less well-known religious/spiritual groups including Afro-Caribbean, Bahá’í, Humanist, Jain, Pagan, Zoroastrian, and more. The only prerequisite needed for this group is a desire to learn more about the world’s religious traditions.

We will begin with Stephen Prothero’s God is not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World, one of the best books on world religions.

From the title it is clear Prothero does not believe religions are the same. He argues we distort religions by claiming how similar they are rather than looking at the differences that make each unique.

Prothero points to what he calls “pretend pluralism.” Pluralism became popular following World War II with religious writers/scholars like Huston Smith. Smith presented the idea in his book The Religions of Man published in 1958. The Religions of Man claims the essential unity of religions by focusing on spiritual experience rather than doctrine or dogma. This led to the claim that the world’s religions were simply different paths leading to the same goal. Prothero, however, argues that religion is too important to pawn off as having no significant differences. Religions should be understood as they are, not just at their best but also at their worst.

Prothero closes his introduction with the following:

"One of the most common misconceptions about the world’s religions is that they plumb the same depths, ask the same questions. They do not. . . . Every religion, however, asks after the human condition. Here we are in these human bodies. What now? What next? What are we to become?" (24)

To learn more or join, send an email to
info@processandfaith.org.