Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know--And Doesn't

Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know--And Doesn't - Stephen R. Prothero According to Stephen Prothero's book, 10% of Americans believe that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife. For a country that is mostly Protestant very few know the basics of their own religion. Christianity isn't the only one that suffers though, and the author provides a dictionary of terms for the world's major religions. The book is partly historical reference and details how we got from where we were at the beginning of our nation's history to our present state of ignorance. The other part is an admonition to begin the teaching of religion in public schools. No matter what your stance is on religion, I think most agree that it isn't going anywhere for awhile, and knowing as much as one can about the culture and history of a people is good practice. We hardly know anything about our own religion, and know even less about Islam and Buddhism. However, given the state of public schools around the country, I'm not sure the author doesn't have false hope in the ability of teachers to just teach religion and not preach it. The recent "Texas Schoolbook Massacre" and the ongoing efforts to beat back attempts at teaching creation and/or intelligent design tell me that we have a long way to go before we can trust teachers to keep their opinions out of the classroom.