A New Religious America: How a ''Christian Country'' Has by Diana L. Eck

By Diana L. Eck

Why knowing America's non secular panorama Is an important problem dealing with Us at the present time The Nineteen Nineties observed the U.S. army fee its first Muslim chaplain and open its first mosque.There are shortly greater than 300 temples in la, domestic to the best number of Buddhists within the world.There are extra American Muslims than there are American Episcopalians, Jews, or Presbyterians.

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Extra resources for A New Religious America: How a ''Christian Country'' Has Become the World's Most Religiously Diverse Nation

Sample text

How do I articulate my faith in a world in which neighbors, colleagues, and students live deeply religious lives in other communities of faith? When I began my studies of the Hindu tradition, living in the sacred city of Banaras, I tried to articulate, in Banaras, City of Light, what this holy city and all it represents means for Hindus. Further along life’s journey, I wrote Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Banaras, which tackled another equally difficult question: What does Banaras and all it represents mean for me, as a Christian?

My students held all the usual preconceptions and misconceptions afloat in mainstream American culture; these religions were seen as exotic, deeply spiritual, perhaps seductive, even dangerous. In any case, they were far away, at least until the gurus of the “new age” brought them to America. But never did I imagine as I started teaching at Harvard in the 1970s that by the 1990s there would be scores of Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh students in my classes—not just international students from India, but second-generation Americans, the children of what we have come to call the new immigration.

Finally, they stood for the lamp offering called arati and sang the traditional Hindi verses, which many of the students knew by heart. It was a simple celebration, but in the life of an American institution like Harvard, even such a simple celebration is truly a revolution. With a happy heart, I stayed for the ras garbha and danced till I dropped. What has happened here has also happened at colleges and universities throughout the country. Our campuses have became the laboratories of a new multicultural and multireligious America.

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