As a followup to my Twitter mini-course on the great religions in 140 characters, here's a 2d semester effort to stamp out religious illiteracy 140 characters at a time: Religion 140+-: pros/cons of the 8 rival religions that run the world. Started with Confucianism . . .
I'm about to find out! Accompanying the launch of "God is Not One" (on 4/20/10) is a virtual book tour through the religio-blogosphere. Touring with lovers of Gaia and Jesus and the Buddha and other lovers of truth and confusion. Stops include: April 14th: Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom April 15th: Pagan Godspell April 20th: Random Thoughts of a Lutheran Geek April 21st: change therapy April 26th: Diamonds in the Sky With Lucy April 28th: Amy Reads April 29th: Happy Lotus May 3rd: Knowing the Difference May 4th: A Church for Starving Artists May 5th: Anchors and Masts May 11th: Don’t Eat Alone May 13th: SMS Book Reviews May 23rd: Journey With Jesus
Apparently so. Here's mine, courtesy of the folks at HarperOne, Shave Media, and YouTube, for "God is Not One."
Interview with R. Scott Poole on his new history of Satan. He says some nice things here about my American Jesus (October 30, 2009).
Short "Christian Century" piece on where I get my news, why I joined Twitter, and why, when it comes to newspapers, I'm still "old school" (September 22, 2009).
Thanks, Erica! Erica Hendry giving my Tweeter micro-course on the world's religions (@sprothero) a shout out from her "Wired Campus" blog at the Chronicle (June 12, 2009).
I give up. As of June 2009 I’m on Twitter. Starting w/ Great Religions 140 minicourse. Wiping out religious illiteracy 140 characters at a time. Tweeting Islam first . . .
Islam140: Allah told Gabriel told the prophet Muhammad (PBUH): Just 1 God, pray to Him 5x day, give alms, fast, hajj to Mecca. Submit! Ahh!
April 24, 2009: I don't recommend writing this sort of thing if you want peace and quiet in your inbox . . .
It's happy-making to be named alongside Chris Lehmann of "Slate," Lawrence Wright of "The New Yorker," and Ira Glass of NPR's "This American Life" to Jeff Sharlet's list of the best religion stories of 2008 at "The Revealer"
One of HNN's missions is "bringing to the attention of readers important new titles." Fun to know that its editors consider the historical argument in Religious Literacy important.
Good story by the CBS Evening News on a mandatory high school world religions course in Modesto, CA.
The editors at the Washington Post just named "Religious Literacy" one of their best books of 2007--one of only two in the Religion category. In her review in the Post, the noted atheist Susan Jacoby called the book "provocative and timely."
"Religious Literacy" has been listed as one of the "Best Books of 2007" in the "Customers' Favorites" category at Amazon.com. The book came in 88th, a tad behind J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," which was of course number one. But I'll take it.
The end-of-the-year lists are now coming in, and "Religious Literacy" made it onto the Religion list at PW. Fun to be in the company of such books as A.J. Jacobs' "The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible."
More good news for "Religious Literacy," which won the Quill Book Award in the Religion/Spirituality category. Other winners include Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" (General Fiction) and Al Gore's "The Assault on Reason" (History/Current Events/Politics). The Quill Awards ceremony takes place on October 22 in New York City and will be will be televised on NBC affiliates on October 27. Al Roker of the Today Show will host the event, which will feature guest appearances by Stephen Colbert, Tom Brokaw, and Tina Brown. If I can get around the fact that I don't have a black tie, I hope to be there to pick up the award.
Booklist: "Top Ten Religion Books" 2007
Alongside books by Pope Benedict VI, Christopher Hitchens, and Gary Wills, "Religious Literacy" was named one of the top ten religion books of 2007 by "Booklist" magazine.
False, I argue in this contribution to Newsweek's cover story (July 2-9, 2007) on "Global Literacy." "Coming at the problem of religion from the angle of difference rather than similarity is scary," I write. "But the world is what it is. And both tolerance and respect are empty virtues until we actually understand whatever it is we are supposed to be tolerating or respecting."
"Religious Literacy" was named an "editor's choice" in the New York Times Book Review (June 17, 2007).
The Quills is a book award chosen by readers, booksellers, and librarians. In the 2007 competition, "Religious Literacy" was nominated in the religion category. Nominees in other categories include Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" (general fiction), Walter Isaacson's "Einstein" (biography/memoir), and Aayan Hirsi Ali's "Infidel" (history/current events/politics).
"Religious Literacy" made Publishers Weekly's religion bestseller list for April and again for June. Other books on the June list include Pope Benedict's "Jesus of Nazareth" and Deepak Chopra's "Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment."
Is the Pope Catholic? "Religious Literacy" named the #1 bestseller by the Catholic Book Publishers Association for April, May, June, and July 2007.
"At Commencement, a Call for Religious Literacy," by Peter Steinfels in his "Beliefs" column in the "New York Times" (May 12, 2007). "In today's world it is irresponsible to use the word 'educated' to describe high school or college graduates who are ignorant of the ancient stories that continue to motivate the beliefs and behaviors of the overwhelming majority of the world's population."
Thanks to Oprah and Tavis, and to lots of inquiring readers, it's now three straight weeks on the New York Times bestseller list (hardcover non-fiction) for Religious Literacy, this time for the week ending April 7, 2007.
Yes, the Oprah Winfrey Show. In this segment on Bible courses in public schools I note that you can't understand even the titles of many of her book club selections ("East of Eden," "Rapture of Canaan," "Song of Solomon") without some basic biblical literacy. Friday, April 6.
"Religious Literacy" a New York Times Bestseller
"Religious Literacy" debuts on the New York Times bestseller list for the two weeks ending March 24 and March 31! Other lists that have recognized the book include the Washington Post bestseller list (week ending March 18), the Wall Street Journal bestseller list (week ending March 24), the USA Today bestseller list (week ending March 25), and the American Booksellers Association Booksense extended bestseller list (week ending April 1).
"The Case for Teaching the Bible": April 2, 2007 "Time Magazine" cover story by religion writer David Van Biema explaining "Why We Should Teach the Bible in Public Schools (But Very, Very Carefully)." Van Biema is a great reporter, and this piece is well researched, well written, and timely. "Religious Literacy," writes Van Biema, "presents a compelling argument for Bible-literacy courses." He then devotes the rest of the article to exploring that argument.
If you want to take my Religious Literacy Quiz, here's a reprint of it from the Deseret News of Salt Lake City. Good luck!
Op-ed by me calling for academic courses about the Bible in US public schools (March 14, 2007). BTW, I did NOT write the headline!
Op-ed by me calling for required religious studies courses in US colleges (March 16, 2007).
Feature by Cathy Lynn Grossman of USA Today on Americans' religious ignorance, including portions of my "pop quiz" and a list of suggested readings (March 8, 2007).
Do you know the Bible? The Buddha? Prove it by taking my religious literacy quiz, featured in Newsweek online (March 2, 2007).
My latest book was published by HarperSanFrancisco on March 13, 2007. The puff piece in their catalog is calling it "the first essential religion primer and an argument for why religion must become the 'Fourth R' in American education." Sounds good to me, though I think of it more as an exploration of this simple question: How is it that the United States is one of the most religious places on earth but most Americans don't know anything about their own religions, much less the religions of others? I try to answer this question historically, looking back to earlier times when learning to read and learning about religion went hand in hand. But I also offer practical solutions to the problem of religious illiteracy today, including mandatory Bible and world religion courses in public high schools. Throughout I interpret religious illiteracy as a civic problem. How can citizens understand the war in Iraq without knowing something about Islam? Or debates about gay marriage, stem-cell research, and capital punishment without knowing something about the Bible? You may or may not like the fact that religion is rampaging into the public square, but as a matter of fact it is, so it makes sense to know something about it.
I have just agreed to serve as one of the panelists (aka bloggers) for a new Washington Post/Newsweek online venture called "On Faith." Each week the moderators of this conversation (Newsweek's Jon Meacham and Sally Quinn of the Post) pose a question, and then the panelists go at it. This diverse group includes atheists and believers, scholars and preachers, and imams and rabbis--among them Madeleine Albright, Desmond Tutu, Rick Warren, and Elie Wiesel(December 2006).
An edited volume of mine, "A Nation of Religions: The Politics of Pluralism in Multireligious America," has just been published by the University of North Carolina Press. This book focuses on how Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs are making their way in the U.S. public square, and how their contributions are changing both American religion and American politics. It includes essays by some wonderful contributors, including Robert Thurman of Columbia and James Davison Hunter of the University of Virginia.