Let me say at the very beginning, though, that there are two ways to talk about religion.
This is a message that I’ve figured out only by talking about my book over the last year.
And I found that the conversations I have with my friends in journalism and in publishing are actually, in a lot of cases, more interesting than the conversations I have with my colleagues about American religion.
What I’d like to do today is talk a little bit about this religious literacy project that I’ve been working on.
The author of , Prothero says the United States is one of the most religious countries on earth, but Americans know nothing about religion – their own or the religions of others.
He asks: How can we engage a politician who is rightly or wrongly invoking the Bible or using religion for political purposes without knowing something about religion ourselves, as citizens, journalists and academics?
Pew Forum Faith Angle Conference Key West, Florida Some of the nation’s leading journalists gathered in Key West, Fla., in December 2007 for the Pew Forum’s biannual Faith Angle Conference on religion, politics and public life.
Stephen Prothero, chair of the Department of Religion at Boston University, discussed the issue of religious illiteracy in the United States.
And especially in an arena like religious studies, where many of us, at least in academia, feel we have things to offer and things to say to the general public, I think it’s, for obvious reasons, important for us to be trying to write our own more popular pieces and also working with people like you.
One thing I said at the meeting was that I’ve never actually had a situation where I felt a journalist totally misunderstood what I was saying.
I’ve been at Boston University now for 10 years, and it was maybe about five, six years ago I started noticing a shift. (Laughter.) I would have to do this iteration with them, and it became really intriguing to me to see when I had to do that and how often I started doing that. I think about one out of nine of my students would pass with 60 percent or better.