I’ve often heard, in efforts to minimize the differences and conflicts between the world’s major religions, that they all have the same origin—some early belief in transcendent unity—and so, they are all just different paths to the same God. Well, in Stephen Prothero’s view, this is minimizing and flat out wrong. In God is Not One, he contends that each of the world’s great religions is trying to solve a very different human problem, casting them inherently at odds:
His arguments make this text a necessary foil to the Traditionalist School of religious thinking, popularized by scholars like Huston Smith and Karen Armstrong.Islam: the problem is pride / the solution is submission
Christianity: the problem is sin / the solution is salvation
Buddhism: the problem is suffering / the solution is awakening
Judaism: the problem is exile / the solution is to return to God
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