As I wrote in a previous post, the U.S. has witnessed a stunning religious transformation over the last 40 years and Christians are struggling to adjust.
Today, there are 1,700 federally recognized religious bodies in the U.S., 600 of which are non-Christian and just last week Pew Research Center reported how Christianity’s share of the U.S. population is steadily decreasing with more Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and “nones” emerging on the American religious marketplace.
Faced with questions, fears, and honest desires to adapt, learn, and be hospitable toward their neighbors of other religious perspectives most congregations opt for a world religions “Bible” study. The vast majority of these studies are amateurish at best. While most leaders of these studies start with the intention to help their parishioners learn more about the world’s religions, the way they go about it usually leads to nominally increased religious literacy. Even worse, these studies often exacerbate pre-existing prejudices or presuppositions about those religious studied.
In place of these studies I suggest the following three practical means of learning more about your neighbors of different religions.