Understanding World Religions -Review

In Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day, cross-cultural expert and professor Garry Morgan explains the key beliefs, histories, and practices of more than twenty religions, including the familiar–Christianity, Judaism, Mormonism–and some of the lesser known–Baha’i, Sikhism, and New Age religions. Broken into forty short readings, each chapter is engaging and easy to understand. In just minutes a day you’ll soon have a better understanding of the world’s beliefs.

** I was able to read this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for a review**

 

When I saw that this book was one I could read and review I was kinda excited. I wanted a book like this; one I could research other religions in bite size pieces and come away with some knowledge. I was pleased yet a little disappointed with this book.

This book has very short chapters -roughly 4 pages each topic. So if you wanted to get a rough idea of a certain religion you could do so. In some cases I wanted to learn more and this created the perfect diving board to get  started. I learned a few tidbits that I didn’t know before:

  • Ch. 3  “All other religious systems believe the main responsibility for solving life’s problems rest upon people. Christianity reveals and demonstrates that we cannot set things right by our own efforts”
  • Ch. 9  “Native peoples highly value living in balance with the natural environment.”
  • Ch. 13 “One universal human problem all religions seek to handle is the presence of both good and evil in the world. Dualism is the philosopgical term for this perpetual struggle and religion wrestle with it in so many ways.”
  • Ch. 14 “Islam is an Arabic word meaning “submission” and the religion’s central theme is submission to the will of God.”
  • Ch. 28 “Lamas meaning “superior ones””

These are some of sentences that made this book worth while.

However, there were some issues that I had. Religion is so broad, and it’s hard to narrow it down to a few. Then try to cram those few religions into a few paragraphs. The Author, it seems, had a hard time doing this too. One whole chapter -Shinto- was not very descriptive. I read that chapter and didn’t have a clue what it was. The author talked about how it is Japan’s national religion then went on to talk about China’s religions. It was mostly a chapter about the history not the religion itself.

Also, the Author devoted several chapters to certain religions like Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism. As I said because of how vast each religion is instead of giving a complete description on each one, he wrote maybe a paragraph or two on what it was. Then went on and wrote more of the chapter or chapters on the founder, history, and geology of the religion. Which isn’t bad because that is always useful but I wanted to know about the religion and how it works and how they worship.

One last problem I had with this book was the underlying Christian tone. Instead of being a completely biased religion book. I felt it was entirely too Christian. Sometimes it would be a simple comparing of the two religions or sometimes it would be “well we know the Bible says” type tone set in there. That really put me off. It’s not that I don’t appreciate what the Author is trying to remind me but I came reading this book to find out what a particular religion believes not how it compares to Christianity.

All in all ,even with my complaints, this is a useful book to have. Especially if you are doing some research into a particular religion.

 

 

 

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