Pluralism and Religious Diversity Week
Religious Pluralism, Religious Nationalism, and the Culture Wars
Stephen Prothero (Boston University)
Friday, March 17th, 2017
The value of religious diversity is widely acknowledged in Canada and in most urban areas in the United States. But a new age of strongmen from President Trump to India’s Prime Minister Modi in India seems to be ushering in a new age of religious nationalism. This lecture places this battle in the context of the so-called culture wars in the United States, which for more than two centuries have pitted “exclusivists” wary of foreigners and their faiths against “inclusivists” who have seen ethnic and religious diversity as a strength. What lessons (and what hope) might these cultural battles offer for 2017 and beyond?
Stephen Prothero is Chair of the Department of Religion at Boston University and the author of numerous books including Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (HarperOne, 2016), God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World—and Why Their Differences Matter (HarperOne, 2010), and the New York Times bestseller Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know—and Doesn’t (HarperOne, 2007). His books have been published on five continents and translated into eight languages. Prothero has commented on religion on hundreds of National Public Radio programs, and on television on CNN, MSNBC, FOX, PBS, and all the major networks. He was also a guest on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart, "The Colbert Report," and "The Oprah Winfrey Show." A regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, he has also written for the New York Times, Slate, Salon, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe. Prothero was the chief academic adviser for the critically acclaimed six-hour WGBH-TV series, "God in America." He also worked as a Senior Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, and as the chief outside writer for CNN's "Belief Blog." He received his BA from Yale in American Studies and his PhD in the Study of Religion from Harvard. He lives on Cape Cod, and he tweets @sprothero.