Economic globalization, high-speed communication, and increasingly diverse cultural settings, have exposed people around the world in to other religions and their adherents to a degree not imaginable even 20 years ago. Nevertheless, authentic and accurate knowledge about these other religions remains difficult to find.
Religious stereotypes abound, hampering a serious exploration of the unfamiliar beliefs, perspectives, practices, and even the cultural dynamics posed by other religions. This problem seems to be amplified by the belief--at the popular level--that all religions are the same only complicates the issue. Such a perspective does not require that other religions be taken seriously or respected for their differences. After all, according to this view its all the same, so why spend time learning about them? Understanding World Religions: An Interdisciplinary Approach
presents an religion as a complex and intriguing matrix of history, philosophy, culture, beliefs, practices, and culture.
Nevertheless, while this book explores religion with an admittedly appreciative attitude, Irving Hexham (a world renowned scholar of religion) believes that a certain degree of objectivity and critique is inherent in the study of religion, and he guides readers in responsible ways of carrying this out. Thus, readers will receive both an appreciative account Of various religions as well as a critique from the perspective of a Christian scholar.
Particularly unique in this volume is Hexham's decision to explore African religions, which have frequently been absent from major religion texts. Hexham explores religion through its three major parent categories Yogic, Abrahamic, and African while covering the following individual major religions:
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