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Is There an Interfaith God?

The world’s faiths are paths to the same God. It’s a beautiful idea with one problem – says scholar Stephen Prothero – it’s wrong.

Religious leaders at the Elijah Interfaith Convention in Haifa, Israel, 2009. Attending were about 50 leaders representing Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. (AP)

We’ve heard the mantra so often that it can seem like obvious truth: all religious paths lead, ultimately, to one God — to one great universal. 

Since the 1960s — and even before that — it’s been the great message and hope of open-minded believers seeking peace and unity. 

But my guest today says “no.” God, says scholar of religion Stephen Prothero, is not one. All paths do not lead to the same “cosmic mountaintop.”

And if we pretend otherwise, Prothero says, we may be stuck with the opposite of peace and understanding. 

So, who’s right? 

This Hour, On Point: the scholar who says God is not one.

Guests:

Stephen Prothero, professor of religion at Boston University and author of “God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World–and Why Their Differences Matter.” You can read an exerpt. His other books include “Religious Literacy” and “American Jesus.”

Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and professor of theology at Chicago Theological Seminary, where she served as president from 1998-2008.  She’s also a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. She writes a weekly column for the Washington Post’s “On Faith” section. She has written or edited 13 books, and translated two editions of the Bible.

More:

In case you missed it, Tom moderated a panel this month with Rabbi David Wolpe and atheist/writer Christopher Hitchens. It was billed as “The Great God Debate.” Check it out…

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The Rev. Jamal Bryant leads a rally outside of the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station during a march and vigil for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP)

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