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PBS Names Most Influential Figures

September 05, 1998|Religion News Service

Which religious figures have most influenced Americans during the past 100 years?

The PBS program "Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly" has come up with a list of 25 individuals it says fit that bill.

The list includes Americans and non-Americans, Christians, Jews, Muslims and at least one Buddhist and one Hindu.

In alphabetical order, they are: Karl Barth, Swiss pastor and theologian; Dietrich Bonheoffer, German pastor and theologian; Martin Buber, Jewish theologian; the Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhist leader; Dorothy Day, pacifist and founder of the Catholic Worker Movement; Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science; Mohandas Gandhi, Indian spiritual leader; evangelist Billy Graham; and Gustavo Guitierrez, Peruvian Catholic known as the father of liberation theology.

Also, Carl F.H. Henry, evangelical theologian and first editor of Christianity Today magazine; Abraham Joshua Heschel, rabbi and civil rights activist; Pope John XXIII; Pope John Paul II; the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.; Ayatollah Khomeini, Iranian Shiite Muslim leader; C.S. Lewis, Christian author and scholar; Thomas Merton, Trappist monk; Elijah Mohammed, Nation of Islam leader; Reinhold Niebuhr, Protestant theologian; Norman Vincent Peale, positive-thinking advocate; Walter Rauschenbusch, known as the father of the social gospel; Albert Schweitzer, theologian and humanitarian; Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the late Lubavitcher rebbe; Mother Teresa; and Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and author.

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