Reader reviews and comments on A New Religious America, plus links to write your own review.

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A New Religious America

How a Christian Country Has Now Become the World's Most Religiously Diverse Nation

by Diana Eck

A New Religious America
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2001, 404 pages
    May 2002, 416 pages

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Ross B. (12/15/11)

A student's take.
I had to read this book as an assignment in my historian's craft course this semester. After reading the introductory chapter of the book I didn't know whether to laugh or be sick. Eck uses the lofty rhetoric from the political correctness camp that really took off in the 1990's such as diversity being a "source of our strength." And just how is it that a pluralistic and diverse society is such a strength? Any facts on that one Eck? No. None at all. If we look at other pluralistic societies we can get a better idea of how that works, like in Yugoslavia, or the Soviet Union, or the Roman Empire. All evolved into pluralistic and diverse societies. Yet it seems Eck's "great strength of diversity" she speaks so highly of wasn't able to hold them together. If pluralism and diversity are strengths, then countries without them ought to be weak, like Japan for instance. Japan obviously doesn't rely on "diversity" or "pluralism" to be strong. China is 92 Han. Not very diverse either.
I think Eck is completely wrong in this aspect. Today, we can clearly see what these ideas are doing and that is creating more division, more animosity, and more distrust. Eck writes these off as mere "challenges we face" in the future. It's her code word for "big problems" which would serve to hurt her arguments. Of course she is a professor from Harvard, but it usually takes a very intelligent person to convince themselves of ideas that aren't true. Fortunately, I think a few of my fellow students held similar opinions towards her book.
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