We are all Hindus now
by Lisa Miller, Newsweek, Aug 15, 2009
America is not a Christian nation. We are, it is true, a nation founded by
Christians [and Deists], and according to a 2008 survey, 76 percent of us continue to
identify as Christian (still, that's the lowest percentage in American
history). Of course, we are not a Hindu -- or Muslim, or Jewish, or
Wiccan -- nation, either. A million-plus Hindus live in the United States, a
fraction of the billion who live on Earth. But recent poll data show that
conceptually, at least, we are slowly becoming more like Hindus and less
like traditional Christians in the ways we think about God, our selves, each
other, and eternity.
A Hindu believes there are many paths to God. Jesus is one way, the Qur'an is another, yoga practice is a third. None is better than any other; all are equal. The most traditional, conservative Christians have not been taught to think like this. They learn in Sunday school that their religion is true, and others are false. Jesus said,
Americans are no longer buying it. According to a 2008 Pew Forum survey, 65 percent of us believe that "many religions can lead to eternal life"--including 37 percent of white evangelicals, the group most likely to believe that salvation is theirs alone. Also, the number of people who seek spiritual truth outside church is growing. Thirty percent of Americans call themselves "spiritual, not religious," according to a 2009 NEWSWEEK Poll, up from 24 percent in 2005.
Stephen Prothero, religion professor at Boston University, has long framed the American propensity for "the divine-deli-cafeteria religion" as
To continue reading this article, click here.
Home - Index