Stephen Prothero

Aired:  06/14/10 Views: 42,902

According to Stephen Prothero, pretending all religions are the same doesn't serve to understand the world. (5:33)

EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT HAS WRITTEN A

BOOK ABOUT THE EIGHT RELIGIONS

THAT RUN THE WORLD.

I'M NOT SURE WHAT THE OTHER FIVE

ARE AFTER CHRISTIAN, JEWISH AND

iPHONE.

PLEASE WELCOME STEPHEN PROTHERO.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

IT'S PROTHERO, PROTHERO.

>> HOWEVER YOU WANT TO SAY IT,

PROTHERO, RIGHT.

>> STEPHEN: HOWEVER I WANT TO

SAY IT?

>> NO.

>> STEPHEN: NOW, SIR, YOU HAVE A

NEW BOOK HERE CALLED "GOD IS NOT

ONE: THE EIGHT RELIGIONS THAT

RUN THE WORLD AND WHY THEIR

DIFFERENCES MATTER."

SO YOU ADMIT THAT THERE ARE

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN RELIGIONS,

BECAUSE I HEAR A LOT OF LIKE ALL

ONE PATHS.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

ONE OF THE MAIN ARGUMENTS OF THE

BOOK IS THAT RELIGIONS ARE NOT

ALL DIFFERENT PATHS UP THE SAME

MOUNTAIN.

>> STEPHEN: NO, THEY AREN'T.

SOME AREN'T GOING UP THE

MOUNTAIN.

SOME ARE GOING DOWN THE

CREVASSE.

>> I LIKE TO THINK THEY'RE GOING

UP DIFFERENT MOUNTAINS.

CHRISTIANS TRY TO GET TO

SALVATION.

THEY TRY TO ATTACK THE PROBLEM

OF SIN, BUT BUDDHISTS TRY THE

DEAL WITH THE PROBLEM OF

SUFFERING AND THEY TRY TO

ACHIEVE NIRVANA.

SO VERY DIFFERENT PATHS, VERY

DIFFERENT GOALS.

>> STEPHEN: BUDDHISTS HAVE

SUFFERING?

>> BUDDHISTS ARE TRYING TO GET

RID OF SUFFERING.

CHRISTIANS AREN'T AIMING TO GET

RID OF SUFFERING.

>> STEPHEN:, NO WE EMBRACE

SUFFERING.

THAT'S WHY WE HAVE CHRIST ON A

CROSS, INSTEAD OF JUST A

PROTESTANT CROSS, AND I'M ALWAYS

LIKE, WHAT HAPPENED TO JESUS.

WE HAVE CHRIST ON THE CROSS, AND

WE GO, I EMULATE THE SUFFERING

OF CHRIST.

AND THAT'S HOW GOD WANTS US TO

DO IT.

S THAT HOW GOD WANTS EVERYONE TO

DO IT, BY THE WAY.

>> THIS IS THE POINT OF THE

BOOK.

RELIGIONS ARE NOT THE SAME.

THEY'RE NOT EQUAL.

>> STEPHEN: SIR, ARE THEY EQUAL?

ARE RELIGIONS ALL EQUAL IN

>> NEW YORK I DON'T THINK THEY

ARE.

>> STEPHEN: WHAT'S THE BEST ONE?

>> YOU COULD GET A LOT OF PEOPLE

ON THE SHOW TO TELL YOU WHICH IS

THE BIGGEST AND THE BADDEST AND

THE BEST, BUT THAT'S NOT THE

POINT OF MY BOOK.

THE POINT OF THE BOOK IS TO SAY,

THERE ARE EIGHT DIFFERENT

RELIGIONS GOING ABOUT LOOKING AT

THE PROBLEMS OF THE WORLD, HOW

TO BECOME A HUMAN BEING IN VERY

DIFFERENT WAYS.

>> STEPHEN: WHAT IS THE PROBLEM

OF ISLAM?

WHAT'S THE PROBLEM WITH ISLAM?

>> THE PROBLEM WITH ISLAM IS

PRIDE.

SO WE THINK WE CAN LIVE IN A

SELF-SUFFICIENT WAY WITHOUT GOD

AND WE NEED TO SUBMIT TO GOD.

THAT'S WHAT ISLAM MEANS.

IT DOESN'T MEAN PEACE.

IT MEANS SUBMISSION.

WE NEED TO BOW DOWN AND PRAY

FIVE TIMES A DAY.

>> STEPHEN: HINDU, WHAT'S THEIR

PROBLEM?

>> WE KEEP GETTING REBORN OVER

AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN AND

THAT'S HORRIBLE.

WE DON'T WANT TO DO THAT, WHICH

IS VERY DIFFERENT FROM

CHRISTIANITY WHERE THE GOAL IS

TO BE BORN AGAIN.

HINDUS HAVE A VERY DIFFERENT

PROBLEM THEY'RE ATTACKINGEN CON

FEW SHANS ARE TRYING TO DEAL

WITH THE PROBLEM OF SOCIAL

ORDER.

WE HAVE DISORDER IN SOCIETY AND

WE CAN CREATE SOCIAL ORDER

THROUGH ETIQUETTE, PROPRIETY AND

RITUALS.

>> THE DOWISTS, WHAT'S THEIR

DEAL?

>> THE DOWISTS ARE TRYING TO

HAVE A LIFE THAT'S REALLY ALIVE.

THE IDEA IS CON FEW SHANS ARE

TELLING YOU, DO ALL THIS EMPTY

RITUAL AND ETIQUETTE.

IT MAKES YOU FEEL STILTED.

THEY WANT TO LIVE A LIFE THAT'S

NATURAL AND FREE.

>> STEPHEN: SO IS DOW ITCH A

RESPONSE TO CON FEW SHANISM?

>> IT IS.

>> STEPHEN: WHAT ABOUT HINDU AND

BUDDHISM?

>> HINDUISM COMES EARLIER AND

BUDDHISM COMES AFTER THAT.

>> STEPHEN: WAS THAT A RESPONSE

TO HINDUISM?

>> PRETTY MUCH.

>> STEPHEN: IS BUDDHISM TO

HINDUISM AS CHRISTIANITY IS TO

JUDAISM?

>> I'M NOT SURE ABOUT THAT.

[LAUGHTER]

>> STEPHEN: WE'LL GO WITH YES.

>> WE'LL GO WITH YES IN THE

SENSE THAT IT CAME AFTER, BUT IN

JUDAISM FOR EXAMPLE, THERE ISN'T

THIS IDEA OF SIN THAT WE HAVE IN

CHRISTIANITY.

>> STEPHEN: ADAM AND EVE.

ADAM AND EVE WERE JEWISH.

CHECK UNDER THE FIG LEAVES, MY

FRIEND.

>> CHRISTIANS UNDERSTAND THAT

STORY AS A STORY OF SIN, BUT

IT'S UNDERSTOOD DIFFERENTLY IN

THE JEWISH TRADITION.

THERE ISN'T THIS PROBLEM OF

ORIGINAL SIN IN JUDAISM.

YOU DON'T NEED THE SAVIOR TO

COME DOWN AND DIE ON THE CROSS

AND TAKE AWAY OUR SINS.

IT'S A DIFFERENT PROBLEM THAN

WHEN WE'RE EXILED FROM GOD AND

WE'RE EXILED FROM ONE ANOTHER.

WE WANT TO RETURN TO ONE

ANOTHER.

>> STEPHEN: SO WHY DID YOU WRITE

THE BOOK?

>> I WROTE THE BOOK BECAUSE

RELIGIONS ARE HORRIBLY

MISUNDERSTOOD.

THEY'RE VERY, VERY IMPORTANT IN

THE WORLD, BUT WE HAVE ATHEISTS

SAYING ALL THE RELIGIONS ARE THE

SAME AND BAD.

AN WE HAVE MULTICULTURISTS WHO

ARE SAYING ALL THE RELIGIONS ARE

THE SAME AND GOOD.

I DON'T THINK THE IDEA THAT THE

RELIGIONS ARE ALL THE SAME

SERVES TO UNDERSTAND THE WORLD.

THE WORLD IS FURIOUSLY

RELIGIOUS.

WE HAVE ALL THESE RELIGIONS THAT

ARE VERY INFLUENTIAL.

YOU CAN'T UNDERSTAND CHINA

WITHOUT CON FEW SHUNNISM.

YOU CAN'T UNDERSTAND THE MIDDLE

EAST WITH UNDERSTANDING JUDAISM,

ISLAM AND...

>> STEPHEN: WHO IS WINNING?

>> I THINK ISLAM IS WINNING, I

HATE TO SAY.

I LIST THE RELIGIONS IN TERMS OF

THEIR MARKET SHARE, BUT

CHRISTIANITY IS LOSING.

>> STEPHEN: JESUS ALWAYS WINS IN

THE END.

HE LOVED TO RUN UP THE ODDS.

HE LET THEM THINK HE HAD THEM ON

THE ROPES.

>> THAT'S TRUE.

>> STEPHEN: THREE DAYS LATER,

HE'S BACK, THEY CLEAN UP AT THE

TABLE.

>> SO RIGHT NOW THAT MAY BE THE

CASE, AND THAT WILL BE THE CASE

FOREVER AFTER.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

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