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Extended Audio Sample Religious Literacy, by Stephen Prothero Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,077 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stephen Prothero Narrator: Stephen Prothero Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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What's Your Religious Literacy IQ? Quick—can you:

  • Name the four Gospels?
  • Name a sacred text of Hinduism?
  • Name the holy book of Islam?
  • Name the first five books of the Hebrew Bible or the Christian Old Testament?Name the Ten Commandments?
  • Name the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism?

If you can't, you're not alone. We are a religiously illiterate nation, yet despite this lack of knowledge, politicians continue to root public policy arguments in religious rhetoric whose meanings are missed—or misinterpreted—by the vast majority of Americans.

"We have a major civics education problem today," says religion scholar Stephen Prothero. He makes the provocative case that to remedy this, we should return to teaching religion in the public schools.

Alongside "reading, writing, and arithmetic," religion ought to become the fourth "R" of American education. Many believe that America's descent into religious illiteracy was the doing of activist judges and secularists hell-bent on banishing religion from the public square. Prothero reveals that this is a profound misunderstanding. "In one of the great ironies of American religious history," Prothero writes, "it was the nation's most fervent people of faith who steered us down the road to religious illiteracy. Just how that happened is one of the stories this audio has to tell." Religious Literacy reveals what every American needs to know in order to confront the domestic and foreign challenges facing this country today.

Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “This book is a must-read not only for educators, clergy and government officials, but for all adults.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Smart but gentle, loving but blunt, Prothero is uniquely qualified to guide us through the fraught fields of faith.”

    Bruce Feiler, author of Walking the Bible and Where God was Born

  • “A compelling, provocative, wholly innovative historical interpretation of the place of learning in American religious life. I love this book!”

    Lauren F. Winner, author of Girl Meets God and Real Sex 

  • “Provocative and timely…Combines a lively history with a set of proposed remedies.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “Remarkable…an especially deft examination of the reasons for Americans’ religious literacy.”

    Washington Monthly

  • Religious Literacy presents a compelling argument for Bible-literacy courses.”


  • “Prothero makes you want to go back to college…a scholar with the soul of a late-night television comic.”


  • “Compelling and persuasively presented…a critical addition to the debate about teaching religion in public school.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • AnAmazon Top Customer Favorite
  • ABooklist Top 10
  • AWashington Post Book World Best Book of the Year
  • APublishers Weekly Best Book
  • ANew York Times Editor’s Choice
  • APublishers Weekly Bestseller
  • ANew York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Kristen | 2/15/2014

    " Interesting though the interview with Terry Gross was much meatier. It was too general and too dogmatic. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Todd Landrum | 1/26/2014

    " I was looking for more of a religious education than reasons on why I should be educated. A good 2/3s of the book is the history of religion in the USA - interesting, but much too long and not what I wanted. The final 1/3 is a collection of important religious terms and ideas. While educational, it is too disjointed to form anything coherent. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Carol | 1/15/2014

    " It was okay. A lot of the history was interesting. The glossary was a good collection of terms, but I found the alphabetical listing kind of confusing. I would have like him to group the terms together under the different religions they are attached too. I do agree, though, that a knowledge of religion is important to understand other points of view on political and world issues. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Jennifer | 12/28/2013

    " OK. Some good points about our basic ignorance about religion in the history of our country, the beliefs of our neighbors, and even in our own religious institutions. "

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