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Book On Major Religions?


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Does anyone have a book recommendation for taking a brief (please) look at the wisdom/truths in the other major religions of the world?

 

I come from a conservative, evangelical background where all other religions were considered to be either cults or false. But since my move to PC, I've become more openminded and would like to get an overview of the similarities of other religions to the teachings of Jesus.

 

Any recommendations anyone?

 

Thanks.

 

wayfarer

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Huston Smith's "The Worlds Religions" is very good. It covers the major traditions. He is very readable and an expert.

 

I recently picked up "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Exploring God." It goes more into the various religion's ideas of God, rather than into the religions themselves. It covers different views of God, like monotheism, pantheism, panentheism, monism, etc ... It gives a good insight into the beliefs, rather than the history.

 

I also picked up "The Complete Idiot's Guide to World Religions." It is a very shallow and brief exploration of the major religions from a comparative viewpoint.

 

Hands down, the best books on comparative religion are by Keith Ward. However his major comparative work is a four volume set, so it's not brief.

 

And although I haven't seen it, The Teaching Company has a course on "Great World Religions." It's on sale right now and is available in DVD, VHS, CD or audiotape format. Here is the link: The Teaching Company - Great World Religions

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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I have the Teaching Co, class on Great World Religions. They have recently updated it. VERY helpful and interesting.

 

Also Thich Nhat Hanh and Marcus Borg have books comparing Jesus and Buddha. Interesting.

 

www.Beliefnet.com is a great resource for everything from overviews to sacred texts of even pretty obscure religions.

 

Comparative religion was extremely faith-enhancing for me. It all comes together at the center and it's so very beautiful.

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Another website with lots of info is > http://www.myss.com

 

I am a great fan of the perennial philosophy which is mysticism. Aldous Huxley wrote THE PERENNIAL PHILOSOPHY in the 40s. It's a classic. I believe that the perennial philosophy is the common ground of all faiths.

 

Huxley wrote a summary in an intro to another book which can be found at >

http://members.tripod.com/~parvati/perennial.html

 

A similar approach is offered by Diarmuid O'Murchu in QUANTUM THEOLOGY. This book does not compare religions but does offer a unique and comprehensive approach to a spirituality which can be embraced by people of all faiths.

 

I'm working on a book on this topic and you can find some of my ideas here at the cafe. Also, at my website and blog (below).

Edited by mystictrek
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  • 1 month later...

Rather than looking for a single book I would recommend finding books from the perspectives of people from different religions. I was involved with a synagogue for several years and read quite a few books on being Jewish as well as becoming Jewish. IMO, it is better to read a book about judaism from someone who is Jewish than to read a book about Judaism written by someone of another faith or of no faith!

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  • 2 months later...
Does anyone have a book recommendation for taking a brief (please) look at the wisdom/truths in the other major religions of the world?

 

I come from a conservative, evangelical background where all other religions were considered to be either cults or false. But since my move to PC, I've become more openminded and would like to get an overview of the similarities of other religions to the teachings of Jesus.

 

Any recommendations anyone?

 

Thanks.

 

wayfarer

Toss in anything by Karen Armstrong. An ex-nun, she has written The Battle for God; A History of God: The 4000-Year Quest of Judaism,Christianity, and Islam; Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths; In the Beginning: A New Interpretation of Genesis; and Buddha a book in the Penguin Lives (that's with a long 'i' by the way!) :D series of biographies..

 

Philip Novak has written sort of a companion to Hustons Smith's The World's Religions--and Smith writes the foreword forthis book--which is a collection of sacred writings. Title: The World's Wisdom: Sacred Texts from the World's Religions.

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Willard G. Oxtoby edited a two volume set called "World Religions." One volume is subtitled "Western Traditions," and the other is subtitled, "Eastern Traditions."

 

He wrote one or two chapters and the introduction. There is a chapter for each religion he covers and most of them are written by individuals who practice the faith they write about. It's not the easiest book to read but it contains much information.

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Willard G. Oxtoby edited a two volume set called "World Religions." One volume is subtitled "Western Traditions," and the other is subtitled, "Eastern Traditions."

 

He wrote one or two chapters and the introduction. There is a chapter for each religion he covers and most of them are written by individuals who practice the faith they write about. It's not the easiest book to read but it contains much information.

 

 

 

That sounds good. I find that reading something by a scholar from within a tradition or a specialist on some religion is good. I do like Huston Smith. I find Karen Armstrong wrong on some points. However, I enjoy reading her books. I don't think that I ever quite grasp other religions anymore than I grasp Christianity.

Recently, I have been looking at Islam, a religion that I did not like when I was younger. I would love recommendations from you folks about what to read.

 

Edited by Ted Michael Morgan
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That sounds good. I find that reading something by a scholar from within a tradition or a specialist on some religion is good. I do like Huston Smith. I find Karen Armstrong wrong on some points. However, I enjoy reading her books. I don't think that I ever quite grasp other religions anymore than I grasp Christianity.

Recently, I have been looking at Islam, a religion that I did not like when I was younger. I would love recommendations from you folks about what to read.

 

 

A book on Islam that I would highly recommend is "No god but God" by Reza Aslan.

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A book on Islam that I would highly recommend is "No god but God" by Reza Aslan.

 

 

 

Thank you! :)I have seen the book at Barnes & Noble. Almost everything I have read about Islam is by Christian scholars, though ones knowledgable and sympathetic to the religion. I recently read Efraim Karsh’s Islamic Imperialism, which restores some balance about complaints about Western imperialism. However, it is a politcal work. I have several scholarly books on Islamic themes but nothing that is a simple introduction to the topic.

Edited by Ted Michael Morgan
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  • 7 months later...
Huston Smith's "The Worlds Religions" is very good. It covers the major traditions. He is very readable and an expert.

 

This is what I was thinking of suggesting :) I am currently enrolled in a world religions class and this book has been our primary "textbook" for Hinduism and Buddhism, and we also used it a bit for primal religions. All that we've read so far has been very interesting and well-written. I also have read a little of the section on Christianity and enjoyed that as well.

 

I would also recommend Philip Novak's The World's Wisdom: Sacred Texts from the World's Religions which has also been mentioned :)

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Does anyone have a book recommendation for taking a brief (please) look at the wisdom/truths in the other major religions of the world?

 

I come from a conservative, evangelical background where all other religions were considered to be either cults or false. But since my move to PC, I've become more openminded and would like to get an overview of the similarities of other religions to the teachings of Jesus.

 

Any recommendations anyone?

 

Thanks.

 

wayfarer

 

Well you might like the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh... I have read "Living Buddha, Living Christ"... and it was a wonderful book... While it is not a textbook or a synopsis of Buddhism... It is still really good... He draws parallels between the 2 faiths... and gives ideas on how to encorporate some buddhist practices into the christian faith...

 

He is very respectful of Jesus and looks to him as one of his teachers or prophets...

 

Peace & Love

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