Huffington Post religion writer Nicole Neroulias offers a pretty good interview with Stephen Prothero, Boston University professor and author of the significant book, God Is Not One, which aims to expose the public to the huge differences among world religions.
We commend the article for emphasizing what those of us who study one religion know very well: "religion" is not a unitary concept, let alone "god."
Prothero points such things out very, very nicely. Some religions don't have gods. Some have one, some many. They're not all about ethics or even mostly about ethics. Most endorse compassion, but for reasons so varied and with outcomes so varied as to marginalize the significance of the similarity as presently construed. Thus, reducing all religions to a common denominator--as does the stylish, modern discipline of religious studies--is wildly misleading.
We also like Prothero's indictment of the intellectual dishonesty of atheism and his functional description of most atheists as simply rejecting the (usually Christian or Jewish) religion of their parents. Spot on.
Note as well Ms. Neroulias's ridiculous prologue to her interview, which offers only the blandest of categorical denials of Prothero's thesis, offering no evidence to the contrary. Of course, she writes for a left-wing web site, so proving her views has never been important to her professional advancement.
Props to Prothero for offering balance to the discussion. With all the world discussing similarities, someone needs to discuss differences. Long live the difference!