Making Religious Pluralism an American Value
This concluding chapter discusses how the acceptance of pluralism by liberal Protestants that occurred between 1870 and 1930 proved imperfect. Most of the proponents retained the conviction that while all forms of religion might be good, Protestant Christianity was still the best. This attitude could limit interfaith conversations or threaten them entirely, as happened with the goodwill movement of the 1920s. However, even in its hesitant forms, this new enthusiasm for religious pluralism signified a stark departure from the exclusivism that characterized not only Protestantism but also most individual denominations during the nineteenth century. Through small-scale cooperation, and eventually creating larger institutions, Protestant Americans discovered commonality of experience across the lines of religious traditions, and in doing so, came to see the benefits of religious diversity.
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