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15 August 2012

Christianities and Islams

Turns out that while Muslims generally agree on a couple central tenets, there is widespread diversity in their beliefs (based on Pew data comprising 38,000 face-to-face interviews in 39 countries). One might even say that there isn't a single "Islam" as much as there are multiple "Islams."

In previous posts (here and here), I have argued that we should stop referring to "Christianity" and instead speak of "Christianities" because of the immense diversity of belief and behavior (not to mention belonging) among those who call themselves Christians. One might begin to think that I'll eventually push to pluralize every religious moniker, but I don't see that becoming the case. In fact, I can think of a few examples of religions that are still homogeneous enough not to need an "s." Mormonism comes to mind. Sikhism would be another. These are comparatively smaller religions--and that is the point, I think. As religions grow larger, they inevitably fragment into divergent traditions, sects, and denominations at which time we need to acknowledge their heterogeneity. 

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