Are we all Hindus? 8-31-09
August 31, 2009
Sometimes I am at least slightly mystified by some of the journalism on religion that I see, hear and view.
An example is a recent Newsweek piece called "We Are All Hindus Now." The point of the piece seems to be that the religious views and commitments of American citizens are changing. Well, yes. But that's not exactly news.
The piece also pointed out that some of Americans' newer views and positions on religious issues tend to resemble some of the views and approaches that Hindus have long held -- such as the notion that there are many paths to God and that no one religion represents all the truth.
Well, it's kind of interesting to make that point and, as the reporter, Lisa Miller, did, to use some recent polls and studies to back it up. Indeed, there really is something to that point.
But the reality is that most Americans, by far, still are Christian (however they would define that) and a big segment of those Christians intentionally steer away from almost all of the "Hindu-like" approaches that Miller suggests Americans are adopting. I can see such Christians reading such pieces (at least the headline) and imagining that the media, again, just don't get it.
So the headline, "We Are All Hindus Now," is clearly a wild stretch and nowhere near to truth. Yes, yes, I know that in some ways such headlines are metaphor, are hints, suggestions, are word plays. Their purpose often is not to convey accurate information but, rather, to draw readers in so they can be told information they might need.
But if publications such as Newsweek want to maintain any credibility with the wide range of Christians in America, perhaps something more accurate would be called for.
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IDENTIFYING FAITH IN CYBERSPACE
How do you list your religion on Facebook? I identify myself there simply as a Presbyterian elder. Some folks with the Washington Post's religion blog have been checking out some politicians. Click here to see what they found. Does any of this matter?
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P.S.: My latest Presbyterian Outlook column now is online. To read it, click here. To read all my previous Outlook column, click here.
ANOTHER P.S.: Please plan to join me and my co-author, Rabbi Jacques Cukierkorn, at one of the two events described here to launch our new book, They Were Just People: Stories of Rescue in Poland During the Holocaust. Rainy Day Books will be there to help you buy a copy and you'll even get to meet some of the people whose remarkable stories we tell in the book.