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Book Review: Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day

Today Ben has a book review for you! This is a title received from the blogging review program offered by Bethany House Publishers.

Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day | The Pajama Chef

Here is a description of the book from the publisher:

What religions are represented in your neighborhood, your workplace, and your children’s school? Things seem to be changing every day, and it can be hard to keep up. You may know a little about some of these religions. Others are new to you. You’d like to learn about them and how they differ from your beliefs, but who has time to do all the research?

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.

And here is Ben!

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When Sarah initially asked me to select a book from a list, I naively assumed that she wanted me to pick one for her.  Or possibly one for both of us to read together.  As it turned out, I was selecting a book for myself to read and review.  But when all was said and done, I’m glad I did read this book.

Having studied world religions as a specialization in college, I had some knowledge of a number of religions. Nevertheless, I found that Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day provides a plethora of information on numerous religions and worldviews in an easily digestible form.  The book is divided into small chapters intended to be readable in about 15 minutes (most took me less than 10, though).  Most chapters cover one religion, although the major world religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, etc.) each receive several chapters.

Author Garry Morgan states in his introduction that he is attempting to write about each religion with respect and without letting any personal bias interfere.  I feel he succeeds tremendously in this respect.  I found this to be very refreshing, as many Christian books about other religions devote themselves to explaining how those religions “get it wrong.”  While I certainly don’t advocate the view that all religions and worldviews are equally valid and I do believe in objective truth, if all a Christian ever hears about another religion is oversimplified generalizations in a negative context, it becomes difficult to truly respect, care for, and relate to individuals who may practice that religion.

If I have any complaint about the book, it’s that I would have liked to see it organized a little bit better.  While Morgan explains why some religions are grouped together, there didn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason as to the order of the religions discussed.  It would also have been nice to see a list of books for further reading.  But those are minor gripes.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who’s interested in getting an overview on many (or just a few) of the world’s religions.

What are you reading lately?

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Bethany House for the chance to read this great book!