God Is Not One – Stephen Prothero’s Argument – Essay
Having read the book by ProtheroI agree with his acknowledgement of the eight religions as being different from one another in many ways including; how they perform their rituals, the goals to which they each aspire, how they adhere to their doctrines, their experience, their laws and their mythology.I concur with Prothero in his observation of the eight religions’ convergence in the ethics arena.I agree with his views and distinctive categorizations of the eight religions where he terms Islam as the way of submission; where pride is the problem of the Muslims and to which submission is the solution. He refers to Christianity as the way of salvation; where the problem of Christians is sin and whose solution is salvation. Hinduism is referred to as the way of devotion due to its focus on devotional activities. For Buddhism the way of awakening, suffering is the challenge and awakening is the solution. Daoism as the way of flourishing emphasizes the flourishing of human beings and the nurturing of life while Judaism is observed as the way of exile and return, where exile is the problem and returning to God is the solution. The connection of heaven and earth, people with one another and orishas and human beings is the goal of the Yoruba religion.
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In the provision of guidance towards the answering of the eternal questions of life and the living of it, I agree with Prothero that each religion in its own right has served a purpose by making relevant contributions. This being the case, the diversity of religious expression and faith deserves respect.I disagree with his observation and consequent reference to the eight different religions as rivals. In my observation, knowledge, and understanding, I do not see the religions as competitive against one another. The assumption that because, they are different implies competition is overstretched, deceiving, and obviously incorrect.I also disagree with Prothero’s assertion that all the eight religions lead to the same essential end, to which his controversial book title; God is not one, refers.
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I am of the opinion that is assertion is rushed and untrue and adequately reflects the weaknesses of some of the author’s arguments and some of the ideas the book appears to be advancing in name of educating the readers. Deeper knowledge of the differences in religion is a welcome topic especially in these tumultuous times and can help in the deciphering and providing solutions to some of the challenges being faced by the world today for instance as is reflected in the war against terrorism and the Muslim fundamentalists. The book’s intent to increase awareness and understanding of the great religions of theworld is undermined by the use of a title that is not only controversial but also unnecessarily offensive.The content provided in the book is mismatched with a title that is presumptuous and that is founded on simplistic analysis based on superficial observations and broad categorizations.The assertions made by the book regarding God not being one, read like introductions to deeper conversations, and cannot be taken to be substantive or conclusive.
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Prothero’s reference to faith as driven by hyperactive imagination is in my opinion simplistic and shows a certain lack of understanding of the working of the human in spirit in unseen and veiled realms or dimensions. These dimensions have to do with the scientific view of all things existing in the universe as energy and vibrating at different frequencies, including human beings.
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