Nelson’s Illustrated Guide to Religions – A Comprehensive Introduction to the Religions of the World

Have you ever wondered about the roots of Islamic Militancy, the schism in the Anglican Communion or the history of Kabbalah? What are the teachings of the Satanic Bible? Who is the founder of the Scientology religious philosophy? What are the rules for Sikh living? James A. Beverley has left few stones unturned in this comprehensive and well researched introduction to the religions of the world.
 
The significance of religious beliefs is reflected in the headlines of our newspapers. Religion is a complicated topic and in today’s world it’s more important than ever to understand the beliefs of our neighbors. Beverly’s book provides a welcome means of exploring the origins of religion regardless of your own particular faith. Although the analysis is from a Christian perspective each religion is approached with love and tolerance. Information is presented in an objective style without bias, partisanship or judgment.
 
The book has chapters on Baha’i, Branch Davidians, Buddhism, Christian Science, Christian Sectarian Groups, Hinduism, Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Judaism, Mormonism, The New Age, Orthodoxy, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Satanism, Scientology, Sikhism, Unification Church and Witchcraft. There is historical information and timelines on each major religion. In addition to key principles and beliefs there are profiles of the primary leaders. New groups are explored and there are opinions and commentary on controversial issues. The pictures may not be necessary but they break up the text and make the book more readable. There’s a vast amount of information but glossaries and an index simplify usage. The recommended reading is helpful if you want to investigate further.
 
I believe this is a must have for students and teachers of religion but the easy to read format makes it a good resource for a layperson like myself. It certainly helped me to accomplish my goal of understanding people of other faiths and what they believe. Anyone with a curiosity and desire to be enlightened will benefit from reading this book. My copy has already been borrowed by a friend and I expect I won’t see it back for awhile.
 
James A. Beverley is Professor of Christian Thought and Ethics at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, Canada and Associate Director, Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara. He has thirty years of research, investigation and meetings with religious leaders, including the Dalai Lama in India, behind him
 
Publisher: Thomas Nelson; 1 edition (May 19, 2009)
ISBN: 978-0785244912
Pages: 644
Price: $ 39.99

Gail Pruszkowski reviews for “Romantic Times BOOKreviews” magazine and her work has been published in the “Cup of Comfort” Anthologies.

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