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

"Out of Many: Religious Pluralism in America" Lecture
Wednesday, June 26, 2013

6 pm

Diana Eck, Harvard University

“The United States is the most religiously diverse nation in the world,” writes Diana Eck in her pathbreaking work “A New Religious America.” After the Immigration Act of 1965 eliminated the quotas linking immigration to national origins, diverse peoples from across the globe have come to call America home. Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Zoroastrians, and new varieties of Jews and Catholics have arrived from every part of the globe, radically altering the religious landscape of the United States. Members of the world’s religions live not just on the other side of the world but in our neighborhoods; Hindu children go to school with Jewish children; Muslims, Buddhists, and Sikhs work side-by-side with Protestants and Catholics.

This new religious diversity is now a Main Street phenomenon, yet many Americans remain unaware of the profound change taking place at every level of our society, from local school boards to Congress, and in small-town Nebraska as well as New York City. How Americans of all faiths and beliefs can engage with one another to shape a positive pluralism is one of the essential questions – perhaps the most important question – facing American society. While race has been the dominant American social issue in the past century, religious diversity in our civil and neighborly lives is emerging, mostly unseen, as the great challenge of the twenty-first century.

Join us as Prof. Eck analyzes these developments. Prof. Eck will discuss not only her book, but also her ongoing efforts to promote a broader understanding of America with Harvard University’s Pluralism Project, a project she launched in 1990.

Diana Eck is Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies; Fredric Wertham Professor of Law and Psychiatry in Society in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; and a member of the Faculty of Divinity at Harvard University.

Prof. Eck’s lecture is a part of the Scholl Center’s ongoing National Endowment for the Humanities’ Bridging Cultures at Community Colleges program, “Out of Many: Religious Pluralism in America.” For more information, please contact scholl@newberry.org

You may hear the program in its entirety here. Please be aware that by clicking this link, you will be downloading a large (101 MB) mp3 file.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.