This page includes our recommendations for some of the best books related to multi-faith engagement, religious diplomacy, religious freedom, religious conflict, and peacemaking.
Jesus & the Religions (Cascade Books, 2012), by Bob Robinson
How should followers of Christ live in a multi-religious world? Bob Robinson argues that the example of Jesus has something fresh and helpful to say to those who ponder the question. It takes something old—the example of Jesus—to say something new to our pluralist world. Most of the book examines the meetings of Jesus with Gentiles and Samaritans. These are found in some of the most poignant and dramatic encounters and teaching passages in the Gospels: a synagogue address with near-murderous consequences; the healing of a pagan centurion's servant; the setting free of the afflicted child of a Gentile mother; a moving encounter at a Samaritan well; the unlikely story of a compassionate Samaritan—and more. This is a scholarly but accessible discussion of what it might mean to "have the same attitude of mind that Christ Jesus had" in our contemporary multi-religious world.
The Global Public Square: Religious Freedom and the Making of a World Safe for Diversity (InterVarsity Press, 2013), by Os Guinness
How do we live with our deepest differences? In a world torn by religious conflict, the threats to human dignity are terrifyingly real. Some societies face harsh government repression and brutal sectarian violence, while others are divided by bitter conflicts over religion's place in public life. Is there any hope for living together peacefully? Os Guinness argues that the way forward for the world lies in promoting freedom of religion and belief for people of all faiths and none. He sets out a vision of a civil and cosmopolitan global public square, and how it can be established by championing the freedom of the soul—the inviolable freedom of thought, conscience and religion. In particular he calls for leadership that has the courage to act on behalf of the common good. Far from utopian, this constructive vision charts a course for the future of the world. Soul freedom is not only a shining ideal but a dire necessity and an eminently practical solution to the predicaments of our time. We can indeed maximize freedom and justice and learn to negotiate deep differences in public life. For a world desperate for hope at a critical juncture of human history, here is a way forward, for the good of all.
Hospitality & the Other (Orbis Books, 2008), by Amos Yong
Building on a life of careful Biblical scholarship and insights into the practices of Jesus and the early Church, launched on the day of Pentecost, Amos Yong shows (1) that the religious "other" is not a mere object for conversion but a neighbor to whom hospitality must be extended and from whom Christians should be open to receiving hospitality; and (2) that the practices of the Christian community must reflect this insight if they are to be faithful to the trinitarian God of Jesus Christ. This book is pivotal in the shift to a new paradigm of theology of religion, interreligious interchange, and the nature of missionary theory and practice. Yong's argument is all the more impressive in not reducing Christian theological categories to modern insights. Instead, he shows how contemporary practice needs to catch up with the revolutionary Biblical notion of extending hospitality beyond every boundary of faith, nation, and ethnicity.
Bold as Love: What can happen when we see people the way God does (Thomas Nelson, 2012), by Bob Roberts
In Bold as Love, Pastor Bob Roberts shows you what it looks like to live out your faith daily in the global public square among people of other faiths—Jews, Muslims, atheists, Hindus, Buddhists. While he admits that it can be challenging to engage people of other faiths whose beliefs are as strong as yours, he demonstrates how to enter into this critical dialogue in a radical yet loving way. “We have to learn to speak with one conversation and give the same message everywhere to everyone,” he says. “We are commanded to love God and love others. And sometimes that requires risky boldness.”
Evangelical Peacemakers: Gospel Engagement in a War-Torn World (Cascade Books, 2013), David P. Gushee, editor
This book contains fifteen essays originally presented at a conference on evangelical Christianity and global peacemaking held at Georgetown University in September 2012, together with a critical analysis of the collection by the editor, David P. Gushee. The essays fall into two categories: the first four essays primarily engage theoretical issues in the ethics of war and peace, considering pacifism, just war, and just peacemaking approaches, all in contemporary US context. The other eleven essays offer glimpses into current evangelical peacemaking efforts being undertaken by individuals, congregations, parachurch organizations, and global evangelical bodies. The collection as a whole gives considerable attention to Christian-Muslim relations and offers a number of extraordinary accounts of evangelical peacemaking with Muslims and efforts to engage Islam as a living religious tradition. The concluding essay suggests that while evangelical peace and war thinking cannot escape the paradoxes and challenges that have always bedeviled Christian theorizing about war, contemporary evangelical peacemaking efforts reflect substantial progress in implementing the radical love of Jesus Christ in some of the most challenging contexts and conflicts in our world today.
Beyond the Burning Times: A Pagan and Christian in Dialogue (Lion, 2008), by Philip Johnson and Gus diZerega, edited by John W. Morehead
In this intriguing dialogue, an established pagan and a respected Christian theologian engage in open, honest conversations about human spirituality and belief. Paganism is a rapidly expanding belief system, and this helpful exchange both introduces novices to its basic tenets and compares them to the beliefs and ideals behind Christianity. Such topics as the nature of spirituality, who or what is deity, how humans relate to the divine, the sacred feminine, gender, and sexuality are all addressed, along with specific debates involving the teachings and claims of Jesus. Offering a fair assessment and valuable insights into both faith systems, this is an engaging look at the state of belief in the modern world.
A Muslim and Christian in Dialogue, 2nd ed. (Herald Press, 2011), by Badru D. Kateregga and David W. Shenk
Millions of Muslims and Christians are neighbors, and they agree that they worship the one and only God. Yet they seldom witness to each other, and the issues they deal with are profound. Rather than an antagonistic interaction, Badru Kateregga and David Shenk pioneer another way--that of authentic dialogue between friends. This 2011 updated edition includes a new cover, new endorsements and new discussion questions.
Christian. Muslim. Friend. Twelve Paths to Real Relationship (Herald Press, 2014), by David W. Shenk
Can Christians and Muslims be friends? Real friends? Even in a post-September 11 era of alienation and religious violence, David Shenk says yes. He lays out twelve ways that Christians can form authentic relationships with Muslims, characterized by respect, hospitality, and candid dialogue.
Rooted in his fifty years of friendship with Muslims in Somalia, Kenya, and the United States, Shenk invites Christian readers to be clear about their identity, develop trust, practice hospitality, confront distortions of both faiths, and seek out Muslims committed to peace.
He invites readers to both bear witness to the Christ-centered commitments of their faith while also reaching out in friendship with Muslims. Through astounding stories of his animated conversations with Muslim clerics, visits to countless mosques around globe, and pastors and imams who join hands to work for peace, Shenk offers tested and true paths to real relationships.
A compelling resource with practical application for mission personnel, Sunday school classes, and any Christian who rubs shoulders with people of Islamic faith in their neighborhood or workplace.
Unclean: Meditations on Purity, Hospitality and Morality (Wipf & Stock, 2011), by Richard Beck
"I desire mercy, not sacrifice" Echoing Hosea, Jesus defends his embrace of the "unclean" in the Gospel of Matthew, seeming to privilege the prophetic call to justice over the Levitical pursuit of purity. And yet, as missional faith communities are well aware, the tensions and conflicts between holiness and mercy are not so easily resolved. At every turn, it seems that the psychological pull of purity and holiness tempts the church into practices of social exclusion and a Gnostic flight from "the world" into a "too spiritual" spirituality. Moreover, the psychology of purity often lures the church into what psychologists call "The Macbeth Effect" the psychological trap that tempts us into believing that ritual acts of cleansing can replace moral and missional engagement. Finally, time after time, wherever we see churches regulating their common life with the idiom of dirt, disgust, and defilement, we find a predictable wake of dysfunction: ruined self-images, social stigma, and communal conflict. In an unprecedented fusion of psychological science and theological scholarship, Richard Beck describes the pernicious (and largely unnoticed) effects of the psychology of purity upon the church. Tremendous implications for multi-faith engagement in relation to concerns for purity, contamination and fears of syncretism.
Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition (Eerdmans, 1999), by Christine D. Pohl
Although hospitality was central to Christian identity and practice in earlier centuries, our generation knows little about its life-giving character. Making Room revisits the Christian foundations of welcoming strangers and explores the necessity, difficulty, and blessing of hospitality today.
Combining rich biblical and historical research with extensive exposure to contemporary Christian communities -- the Catholic Worker, L'Abri, L'Arche, and others -- this book shows how understanding the key features of hospitality can better equip us to faithfully carry out the practical call of the gospel.
Multi-faith Engagement Foundations
From Bubble to Bridge: Educating Christians for a Multifaith World (IVP Academic, 2017), by Marion Lason and Sara Shady
In a world of deep religious strife and increasing pluralism it can seem safer to remain inside the "bubble" of our faith community. Christian college campuses in particular provide a strong social bubble that reinforces one's faith identity in distinction from the wider society. Many Christians worry that engaging in interfaith dialogue will require watering down their faith and accepting other religions as equally true. Bethel University professors Marion Larson and Sara Shady not only make the case that we can love our religious neighbors without diluting our commitment, but also offer practical wisdom and ideas for turning our faith bubbles into bridges of religious inclusion and interfaith engagement. Drawing on the parables of Jesus, research on interreligious dialogue, and their own classroom experience, Larson and Shady provide readers with the tools they need to move beyond the bubble. Interfaith dialogue is difficult, and From Bubble to Bridge is the timely guide we have been waiting for.
Flourishing: Why We Need Religion in a Globalized World (Yale University Press, 2017), by Miroslav Volf
More than almost anything else, globalization and the great world religions are shaping our lives, affecting everything from the public policies of political leaders and the economic decisions of industry bosses and employees, to university curricula, all the way to the inner longings of our hearts. Integral to both globalization and religions are compelling, overlapping, and sometimes competing visions of what it means to live well.
In this perceptive, deeply personal, and beautifully written book, a leading theologian sheds light on how religions and globalization have historically interacted and argues for what their relationship ought to be. Recounting how these twinned forces have intersected in his own life, he shows how world religions, despite their malfunctions, remain one of our most potent sources of moral motivation and contain within them profoundly evocative accounts of human flourishing. Globalization should be judged by how well it serves us for living out our authentic humanity as envisioned within these traditions. Through renewal and reform, religions might, in turn, shape globalization so that can be about more than bread alone.
Emotional and Psychological Challenges
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics and Religion (Vintage, 2013), by Jonathan Haidt
As America descends deeper into polarization and paralysis, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has done the seemingly impossible—challenged conventional thinking about morality, politics, and religion in a way that speaks to everyone on the political spectrum. Drawing on his twenty five years of groundbreaking research on moral psychology, he shows how moral judgments arise not from reason but from gut feelings. He shows why liberals, conservatives, and libertarians have such different intuitions about right and wrong, and he shows why each side is actually right about many of its central concerns. In this subtle yet accessible book, Haidt gives you the key to understanding the miracle of human cooperation, as well as the curse of our eternal divisions and conflicts. If you’re ready to trade in anger for understanding, read The Righteous Mind.
Handbook of Religion: A Christian Engagement with Traditions, Teachings and Practices (Baker Academic, 2014), edited by Terry Muck, Harold Netland and Gerald McDermott
This comprehensive handbook provides a Christian perspective on religion and its many manifestations around the world. Written by top religion scholars from a broad spectrum of Christianity, it introduces world religions, indigenous religious traditions, and new religious movements. Articles explore the relationship of other religions to Christianity, providing historical perspective on past encounters and highlighting current issues. The book also contains articles by adherents of non-Christian religions, offering readers an insider's perspective on various religions and their encounters with Christianity. Maps, timelines, and sidebars are included.
Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know - and Doesn't (HarperOne 2008), by Stephen Prothero
Despite this lack of basic knowledge, politicians and pundits continue to root public policy arguments in religious rhetoric whose meanings are missed—or misinterpreted—by the vast majority of Americans.
"We have a major civic problem on our hands," says religion scholar Stephen Prothero. He makes the provocative case that to remedy this problem, we should return to teaching religion in the public schools. Alongside "reading, writing, and arithmetic," religion ought to become the "Fourth R" of American education.
Many believe that America's descent into religious illiteracy was the doing of activist judges and secularists hell-bent on banishing religion from the public square. Prothero reveals that this is a profound misunderstanding. "In one of the great ironies of American religious history," Prothero writes, "it was the nation's most fervent people of faith who steered us down the road to religious illiteracy. Just how that happened is one of the stories this book has to tell."
Prothero avoids the trap of religious relativism by addressing both the core tenets of the world's major religions and the real differences among them. Complete with a dictionary of the key beliefs, characters, and stories of Christianity, Islam, and other religions, Religious Literacy reveals what every American needs to know in order to confront the domestic and foreign challenges facing this country today.
Multi-faith Engagement Examples
Evangelical Zen: A Christian's Spiritual Travels with a Buddhist Friend (Patheos Press, 2015), by Paul Louis Metzger with Kyogen Carlson
Evangelical Zen is part "Augustine's Confessions" and part Robert Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance." Here Paul Louis Metzger, an Evangelical Christian, reflects on his spiritual journey-an inner pilgrimage of sorts that weaves through a physical forty-day journey with his family to Japan. The experiences of that journey, the beauties of Japan, its culture, and its religion become for him a lens on a deeper quest: here he is searching for and, he believes, finding a global humanity in conversation with Kyogen, his Buddhist friend.
How Not to Kill a Muslim: A Manifesto of Hope for Christianity and Islam in North America (Cascade Books, 2015), by Joshua Graves
The adherents of Islam and Christianity comprise half of the world's population, or 3.5 billion people. Tension between them exists throughout the world and is increasing here in North America. In How Not to Kill a Muslim, Dr. Joshua Graves provides a practical subversive theological framework for a strategic posture of peaceful engagement between Christians and Muslims. Based upon both academic and personal experience (Josh grew up in Metro Detroit), this book will provide progressive Christians with a clear understanding of Jesus' radical message of inclusivity and love. There is no one who is not a neighbor. There is no them. There's only us. Our future depends upon this becoming true in our cities, synagogues, churches, and mosques. In pluralistic societies such as those of Canada and the United States, the true test of Christianity is what it offers those who are not Christian. And it starts with Islam.
Who Is My Enemy? Questions American Christians Must Face About Islam - and Themselves (Brazos Press, 2011), by Lee C. Camp
Current discussion of Islam in America tends toward two polar extremes. On one hand is the notion that Christianity is superior to Islam and that Muslims are warmongers. On the other is the notion that all religions basically say the same thing and are peaceable. Theologian and critically acclaimed author Lee Camp argues that both these extremes are wrong. He introduces Christian and Islamic views on war and peace making and examines Christian and non-Christian terrorism to help readers confront their own prejudices. Camp shatters misconceptions about religious violence, arguing that American Christians often opt for an ethic that has more in common with the story of Muhammad than with the story of Jesus. This book shows readers how to respond faithfully and intelligently to Muslims in today's world as well as to the New Atheists who suppose that all religion is inherently violent. It provides balanced teaching on war and peacemaking, offering hope for reconciliation in a post-9/11 world.
American Christians and Islam: Evangelical Culture and Muslims From the Colonial Period to the Age of Terrorism (Princeton University Press, 2013), by Thomas S. Kidd
In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, many of America's Christian evangelicals have denounced Islam as a "demonic" and inherently violent religion, provoking frustration among other Christian conservatives who wish to present a more appealing message to the world's Muslims. Yet as Thomas Kidd reveals in this sobering book, the conflicted views expressed by today's evangelicals have deep roots in American history.
Tracing Islam's role in the popular imagination of American Christians from the colonial period to today, Kidd demonstrates that Protestant evangelicals have viewed Islam as a global threat--while also actively seeking to convert Muslims to the Christian faith--since the nation's founding. He shows how accounts of "Mahometan" despotism and lurid stories of European enslavement by Barbary pirates fueled early evangelicals' fears concerning Islam, and describes the growing conservatism of American missions to Muslim lands up through the post-World War II era. Kidd exposes American Christians' anxieties about an internal Islamic threat from groups like the Nation of Islam in the 1960s and America's immigrant Muslim population today, and he demonstrates why Islam has become central to evangelical "end-times" narratives. Pointing to many evangelicals' unwillingness to acknowledge Islam's theological commonalities with Christianity and their continued portrayal of Islam as an "evil" and false religion, Kidd explains why Christians themselves are ironically to blame for the failure of evangelism in the Muslim world.
Infidels: A History of the Conflict Between Christendom and Islam (Random House, 2005), by Andrew Wheatcroft
Here is the first panoptic history of the long struggle between the Christian West and Islam. In this dazzlingly written, acutely nuanced account, Andrew Wheatcroft tracks a deep fault line of animosity between civilizations. He begins with a stunning account of the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, then turns to the main zones of conflict: Spain, from which the descendants of the Moors were eventually expelled; the Middle East, where Crusaders and Muslims clashed for years; and the Balkans, where distant memories spurred atrocities even into the twentieth century. Throughout, Wheatcroft delves beneath stereotypes, looking incisively at how images, ideas, language, and technology (from the printing press to the Internet), as well as politics, religion, and conquest, have allowed each side to demonize the other, revive old grievances, and fuel across centuries a seemingly unquenchable enmity. Finally, Wheatcroft tells how this fraught history led to our present maelstrom. We cannot, he argues, come to terms with today’s perplexing animosities without confronting this dark past.
The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims (Pluto Press, 2012), by Nathan Lean
Fear sells and the Islamophobia Industry — a right-wing cadre of intellectual hucksters, bloggers, politicians, pundits, and religious leaders — knows that all too well. For years they have labored behind the scenes to convince their compatriots that Muslims are the enemy, exhuming the ghosts of 9/11 and dangling them before the eyes of horrified populations for great fortune and fame. Their plan has worked.
The tide of Islamophobia that is sweeping through Europe and the United States is not a naturally occurring phenomenon. It is their design. In recent years, Muslim-led terrorist attacks have declined yet anti-Muslim prejudice has soared to new peaks. The fear that the Islamophobia Industry has manufactured is so fierce in its grip on some populations that it drives them to do the unthinkable.
This powerful and provocative book explores the dark world of monster making, examining in detail an interconnected, and highly organized cottage industry of fear merchants. Uncovering their scare tactics, revealing their motives, and exposing the interests that drive them, Nathan Lean casts a bright and damning light on this dangerous and influential network.
Peacemaking, Religious Conflict and Terrorism
Just Peacemaking: The New Paradigm for the Ethics of Peace and War (Pilgrim Press, 2008), Glen H. Stassen, editor
Just Peacemaking is the product of 23 scholars across various denominations who have collaborated annually for six years to specify the 10 practical steps and develop the undergirding principles of this critical approach.
Why Can't They Get Along? A Trialogue Between a Muslim, a Jew and a Christian (Lion Hudson, 2013), by Dan Cohn-Sherbok, Daewoud El-Alami, and George Chryssides
Three men of faith – one Jew, one Muslim and one Christian – debate the differences between them. The result is a compelling discussion: What do their faiths teach on the big issues of life? What can be done to make for better relationships in the future? What can be done on the big global areas of conflict and tension? How can they get along? For hundreds of years, many of the biggest global conflicts have been fueled by religious hatred and prejudice. It is evident, in the early part of the 21st century that not much has changed. Whether it is fundamentalist Muslims waging jihad in Afghanistan and Pakistan, or the perpetual low scale hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians, to the man in the street, religion seems to make people more likely to fight each other, not less. Why is this? Why Can't They Get Along? is a powerful and much needed account. Current, passionate and compelling—it is essential reading.
Religion, Terror and Error: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Challenge of Spiritual Engagement (Praeger, 2011), by Douglas M. Johnston
How should the United States deal with the jihadist challenge and other religious imperatives that permeate today's geopolitical landscape? Religion, Terror, and Error: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Challenge of Spiritual Engagement argues that what's required is a longer-term strategy of cultural engagement, backed by a deeper understanding of how others view the world and what is important to them. The means by which that can be accomplished are the subject of this book.
The work realizes three important tasks. It shows how the United States can reposition itself to deal more effectively with the causal factors that underlie religious extremism; offers a successor to the rational-actor model of decision-making that has heretofore excluded "irrational" factors like religion; and suggests a new paradigm for U.S. leadership in anticipation of tomorrow's multipolar world. Describing how the United States should realign itself to deal more effectively with the factors underlying religious extremism, this innovative treatise explains how existing capabilities can be redirected to respond to the challenge and identifies additional capabilities that will be needed to complete the task.
Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism (Random House, 2006), by Robert Pape
One of the world’s foremost authorities on the subject of suicide terrorism, the esteemed political scientist Robert Pape has created the first comprehensive database of every suicide terrorist attack in the world from 1980 until today. In Dying to Win, Pape provides a groundbreaking demographic profile of modern suicide terrorist attackers–and his findings offer a powerful counterpoint to what we now accept as conventional wisdom on the topic. He also examines the early practitioners of this guerrilla tactic, including the ancient Jewish Zealots, who in A.D. 66 wished to liberate themselves from Roman occupation; the Ismaili Assassins, a Shi’ite Muslim sect in northern Iran in the eleventh and twelfth centuries; World War II’s Japanese kamikaze pilots, three thousand of whom crashed into U.S. naval vessels; and the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, a secular, Marxist-Leninist organization responsible for more suicide terrorist attacks than any other group in history.
Dying to Win is a startling work of analysis grounded in fact, not politics, that recommends concrete ways for states to fight and prevent terrorist attacks now. Transcending speculation with systematic scholarship, this is one of the most important studies of the terrorist threat to the United States and its allies since 9/11.
Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists (Ecco, 2010), by Scot Atran
Talking to the Enemy is an eye-opening and important book that offers readers a startling look deep inside terror groups. Based on the author’s unprecedented access to and in-depth interviews with terrorists and jihadis—including Al Qaeda, Hamas, and Taliban extremists, as well as members of other radical Islamic terror organizations—Talking to the Enemy provides fresh insight and unexpected answers to why there are people in this world willing to kill and die for a cause. A riveting, compelling work in the tradition of The Looming Tower and Terror in the Name of God, Talking to the Enemy is required reading for anyone interested in making the world a safer, more secure place for everyone.
Atheism and The Nones
Is the Atheist My Neighbor? (Cascade Books, 2015), by Randal Rauser
Do atheists hate God? Many Christians seem to think so. For the last three centuries Christians have widely assumed that atheism is always a result of a rebellious, sinful rejection of God. According to this view, at some level atheists really do know there is a God, but they sinfully suppress this knowledge because they want to live independently of God. But what if that is not correct? What if some folks are atheists not because they're sinful and foolish but because they've thought hard, they've looked carefully, and they have simply not found God? What if the common Christian assumptions about atheism are little more than an indefensible prejudice? What if the atheist really is our neighbor?
An Atheist and a Christian Walk Into a Bar (Prometheus Books, 2016), by Randal Rauser and Justin Schieber
The question of God is simply too important--and too interesting--to leave to angry polemicists. That is the premise of this friendly, straightforward, and rigorous dialogue between Christian theologian Randal Rauser and atheist Justin Schieber. Setting aside the formality of the traditional debate, the authors invite the reader to join them in an extended, informal conversation. This has the advantage of easing readers into thorny topics that in a debate setting can easily become confusing or difficult to follow.
Like any good conversation, this one involves provocative arguments, amusing anecdotes, and some lively banter. Rauser and Schieber begin with the question of why debates about God still matter. They then delve into a number of important topics: the place of reason and faith, the radically different concepts of God in various cultures, morality and its traditional connection with religious beliefs, the problem of a universe that is overwhelmingly hostile to life as we know it, mathematical truths and what they may or may not say about the existence of God, the challenge of suffering and evil to belief in God, and more.
Refreshingly upbeat and amicable throughout, this stimulating conversation between two friends from opposing points of view is an ideal introduction to a perennial topic of debate.
Choosing Our Religion: The Spiritual Lives of America's Nones (Oxford University Press, 2016), by Elizabeth Drescher
To the dismay of religious leaders, study after study has shown a steady decline in affiliation and identification with traditional religions in America. By 2014, more than twenty percent of adults identified as unaffiliated--up more than seven percent just since 2007. Even more startling, more than thirty percent of those under the age of thirty now identify as "Nones"--answering "none" when queried about their religious affiliation. Is America losing its religion? Or, as more and more Americans choose different spiritual paths, are they changing what it means to be religious in the United States today?
In Choosing Our Religion, Elizabeth Drescher explores the diverse, complex spiritual lives of Nones across generations and across categories of self-identification such as "Spiritual-But-Not-Religious," "Atheist," "Agnostic," "Humanist," "just Spiritual," and more. Drawing on more than one hundred interviews conducted across the United States, Drescher opens a window into the lives of a broad cross-section of Nones, diverse with respect to age, gender, race, sexual orientation, and prior religious background. She allows Nones to speak eloquently for themselves, illuminating the processes by which they became None, the sources of information and inspiration that enrich their spiritual lives, the practices they find spiritually meaningful, how prayer functions in spiritual lives not centered on doctrinal belief, how morals and values are shaped outside of institutional religions, and how Nones approach the spiritual development of their own children.
These compelling stories are deeply revealing about how religion is changing in America--both for Nones and for the religiously affiliated family, friends, and neighbors with whom their lives remain intertwined.
Sacred Dissonance: The Blessing of Difference in Jewish-Christian Dialogue (Hendrickson Publishers, 2017), by Anthony Le Donne and Larry Behrendt
Moving beyond the all-too-common shallow recognition of differences, Sacred Dissonance: The Blessing of Difference in Jewish-Christian Dialogue explores the essential distinctions between religious identities and the cultural boundaries between Jews and Christians. Co-authored by colleagues deeply committed to their respective faiths -- one a Jewish lawyer, one a Christian New Testament scholar -- this book stands in opposition to the notion that all religions are basically the same, an idea commonly put forward in many secular circles or among those who follow personally appointed folkways rather than traditional religions.
Through deeply introspective essays on topics as personal as neighborhood relations and hospitality, and as difficult and sweeping as the Holocaust, Sacred Dissonance challenges the notion that a passive and self-contained approach to religious distinction will bring about peaceful coexistence. In candid conversations between the authors, every section of Sacred Dissonance models the ways in which conversation can be the means of both addressing a difficult past and a challenging present. In the course of exploring the ways in which Jews and Christians can speak to one another, Le Donne and Behrendt show that Christianity can become a "pro-Jewish" religion, Judaism can become a "pro-Christian" religion, and communities of faith can open space for others, rather than turning them away, even without breaking down the differences between them.