Monday, April 28, 2008

Book Review: Religious Literacy

Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know—and Doesn't
Stephen Prothero
(HarperOne)


Out here in the sex industry, we hear a lot of the same religiously conservative arguments over and over again against gay marriage and abortion rights, for abstinence-only education, and why porn is ruining our social and moral fibre. More often than not these debates are paired with Bible citations; whether they be Soddom and Gemmorah or Adam and Eve. The inability of the pro-choice and marriage-equality crowd to engage in these disagreements with the same artillery as the religious right is a disservice to our opinions, points, and general discourse. Wouldn't it be great if the people fighting from the left understood Biblical texts and could point out weaknesses in arguments against tolerance?

Stephen Prothero didn't write Religious Literacy to lay out a strong case for the left's religious education: He wrote the book to hold a mirror up to society and prove that almost all Americans lack a comprehensive understanding of even the most basic religious information; causing a serious impediment to our grasp on international issues as well as domestic political policy. The book makes a very strong case for teaching at the very least a basic world religion course to high-schoolers; as well as a separate Bible 101 class. And coming from a particularly agnostic viewpoint, I gotta say: The man has a point.

[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]

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