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[D]espite living in the most modernized and technologically advanced country, Americans report one of the world’s highest levels of belief in God. Americans’ faith in God appears constant even as we have come to embrace twenty-first-century technology and the benefits of modern science….
While Americans tend to be religiously devout, we paradoxically tend to know very little about religion, our own or others’. Religion scholar Stephen Prothero has shown that America is composed of “Protestants who can’t name the four Gospels, Catholics who can’t name the seven sacraments, and Jews who can’t name the five books of Moses.” Religious illiteracy increases the odds of misunderstanding and conflict….
[T]he simple fact that nearly 95 percent of Americans say they believe in God undermines any notion that we are engaged in a holy war over the existence of God.
We might, however, be in a war over who God is….
The extent to which we believe God interacts with us and offers us blessings has a profound effect on what we think is right and wrong and what we feel we should do doing with our lives….
Knowing a person’s image of God, therefore, provides us with an opportunity to understand the most intimate moral and introspective conversations they have. Simply put, our picture of God is worth a thousand queries into the substance of our moral and philosophical beliefs…
In asking dozens of questions about God, we have uncovered two that pinpoint the most crucial theological disagreements in America. They are:
- To what extent does God interact with the world?
- To what extent does God judge the world?
If we know the answers to these broad questions, then we have tremendous insight into your entire worldview. In fact, our responses to these two questions predict the substance of our worldview much better the color of our skin, the size of our bank account, the political party we belong to, or whether we wear a white Stetson or faded Birkenstocks….
Our image of God is never simply a reflection of the beliefs of our religious community. The traditional method of classifying people as Catholics or Baptists or Jews tells us little of consequence about what they believe.~ American’s Four Gods
By Paul Froese
& Christopher Bader
One of the major issues that we will be addressing is religious literacy. Americans are very religious, but we know very little about religion. In a USA Today article, “Americans get an ‘F’ in religion,” Boston University Professor Stephen Prothero offers a remedy:
Prothero’s solution is to require middle-schoolers to take a course in world religions and high schoolers to take one on the Bible. Biblical knowledge also should be melded into history and literature courses where relevant.
For this election, we are looking to do the type of mailings and door-to-door canvassing suggested by this New York Times article:
Before the 2006 Michigan gubernatorial primary, three political scientists isolated a group of voters and mailed them copies of their voting histories, listing the elections in which they participated and those they missed. Included were their neighbors’ voting histories, too, along with a warning: after the polls closed, everyone would get an updated set.
After the primary, the academics examined the voter rolls and were startled by the potency of peer pressure as a motivational tool. The mailer was 10 times better at turning nonvoters into voters than the typical piece of pre-election mail whose effectiveness has ever been measured.
We will be using the NationBuilder platform.
The New Rochelle School Board budget passed in 2013 was $239.5 million. What we learn can be used in the September primaries, the general election in November, and next year’s School Board election.
Click here to download brochure that will handed out at the New Rochelle NAACP branch meeting.