Out of Many Faiths:
Religious Diversity and the American Promise.
Hardback: Princeton UP, 2018.
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Reviewed by Barton Price
The question that pervades the volume Out of Many Faiths is how the United States can thrive in a diverse, multifaith social environment that finds common ground among all religious faiths for the betterment of society. This has been the chief question that has captured Eboo Patel’s career and rise in popularity. At the heart of Patel’s essays is the core American faith, a civil religion that transcends religious identity. Patel asserts that civil religion “hold[s] a diverse society together, to provide us with a narrative that allows people from a range of backgrounds to not only feel American but also feel that there is something sacred in that” (23). His definition of civil religion is informed by Philip Gorski’s American Covenant—a book that I reviewed for ERB in 2017. Yet he departs quite drastically from Gorski’s and Robert Bellah’s understanding of American civil religion as rooted in a Judeo-Christian tradition and its sacred texts of the Hebrew Bible and Christian New Testament.