December 6, 2012

Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day, by Garry R. Morgan

When it comes to understanding the many religions of the world, I do not know a lot.  Not only that, sometimes what I do know gets jumbled and confused and I confuse my facts.

Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a DayThat is why I opted to review Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day.  Written by Garry R. Morgan, it was what I expected.  It provides an overview of the various religions in short chapters.  It differentiates between similar faiths.  It defines what a religion is and is not.  Understanding World Religions also provides some historical background on how the religions began and often how they spread.  Many of the religions are popular, though he also includes lesser-known religions, too.  Occasionally, a chapter is devoted to a couple of similar faiths, while some religions have several chapters devoted to it.  All of this is done from a Christian perspective, though I think this book would be informative to anyone looking for a brief overview of various religions because Morgan is mostly descriptive, not so much evaluative in his writing.

The chapters in Understanding World Religions are short, while providing a lot of information.  (I actually read most of the book in short snippets while waiting for my oldest daughter at the bus stop.)   Having recently read about the Mormon faith, I thought how this author summarized the Mormon faith was quite appropriate.

I appreciated that Christianity was an early focus in the book for several reasons.  Not all Christians are just  like me.  (That's right...not only do we have different personal convictions, but we also understand the Bible differently which gives us a slightly different theology/doctrine.  Actually, with the chapters listed below, you'll notice that theological differences can be rather large.)  Below are the chapter titles just dealing with Christianity.  Islam also has just as many chapters devoted to it.

  • Christianity: What Sets It Apart
  • Roman Catholic Christianity
  • Eastern Orthodox Christianity
  • Protestant Christianity
  • Evangelical Christianity (which is the category in which I belong)

As a Christian-and really as a person- I want to be able to engage my neighbor or friend who has beliefs other than my own.  That is why I want to understand other religions a bit more.  By doing so, I think it shows respect for others' beliefs.  It also helps me to help them to understand why I believe as I do...and possibly soften their heart to hearing of salvation provided through Jesus.

If you are looking for an in-depth study of religions, this is not for you.  But if you are looking for a book of descriptions of many of the world religions, and less than 200 pages, this will likely fit the bill.  Understanding World Religions was easy to read and informative-just what I needed.

I thank Bethany House for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

~ Annette {This Simple Mom}

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