Here’s an interesting interview with the author of what I expect to become an important book on the inherent differences in the world’s religions.
My hunch is that Prothero’s book will prove interesting, but one bit gives me pause:
There used to be a gentleman’s agreement that kept both our faith and our doubt out of the public square. After Christians raced into U.S. politics in the 1970s and 1980s, that agreement was breached.
It seems that–at least in how Prothero positions himself vis-a-vis the “New Atheists”–he is offering at best a wildly simplistic history of American politics and at worst a potentially inaccurate theory of religious engagement in politics. Many thinkers (foremost, I would suggest, of whom would be Jeffrey Stout, Stan Hauerwas and William Cavanaugh) have recently began questioning the assumption that religious conviction has no role to play in public debate or policy shaping.
At any rate, I’m more likely to be motivated by solidly religious (which is to say, theological) reasons for political engagement than purely historical ones.