God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World--and Why Their Differences Matter

God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World--and Why Their Differences Matter - Stephen R. Prothero There are two kinds of variability with in all categories, a between and a within. Except for well designed experiments it is not possible to separate the variability because of confounding (the mixing up). This book looks at mostly the within differences (variability) for each of the major religions he writes about. Each major religion understudy has larger difference within its subgroups than they often seem to have between categories. I wish he would have analyzed the between also.

The author could have written a much better book if he also spent more time analyzing the differences between categories by using some of the themes he had developed within the religions. Experience (Buddhist, Pentecostal, ...) contrasted with divine revelation or commitments to ritual and other categories he used to described the within category for each category.

In the end the book mostly read as a series of Wikipedia articles on the major religions or at best he is writing as if he's teaching a class to undergrads and wants no controversy.

He really marred the book by including a chapter on Atheism. He's obvious somebody who needs to justify his life of studying religion and makes silly statements regarding atheism. Saying "Belief in atheism" makes it like a religion is just using the Wordplay of Wiggenstein. Atheist don't accept "pretending to know things they don't know", a belief in something means pretending with out evidence. The best we can do is show things less false. Nobody but teenagers look to 'Ayn Rand for scripture' (his words not mine). The scripture according to Ayn Rand would be the only kind of love is love at first sight, Liberty always trumps Equality, social Darwinism is relevant, and other comic book characteristics. While I might still read comic books, I no longer read Ayn Rand.

Who would be my scriptures? I would start with Origin of Species (probably the greatest story ever told), and I would include Newton's Principia, and also would have Dialogues Concerning Two World Systems (one of my favorites, even though there should have been three world systems covered, and even though Galelio thinks the universe is made of mathematics (geometry)).

One final thing, why is Danniel Dennett singled out for his negativity. I read most of his stuff and what I have read doesn't seem to make him a negative person. Having Imaginary Friends and thinking they are real strike me as the very definition of delusion.

I did borrow this book from the library, but I would have never wanted to have paid for it.