Saturday, September 22, 2012

Book Review: Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day

I think the title. "Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day" is quite a lofty one. Understanding some of the world religions can take years, especially my own, Catholicism. I have not even made a dent in completely understanding Christianity in the five years since I became a Baptized Christian.

Lofty title aside, this book set out to basically give us a better understanding of some of the religions that we hear about but may not quite grasp the basics behind. Some religions were separated into sub groups to allow for a more thorough look into the basics. In 40 chapters, the author covers roughly 25 different religions or perspectives (with the exception of any that the author considers cults). Several chapters are dedicated to the more established religions such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism. Overall, this book covers most any proper religion that a person may be interested in gaining a better understanding of.

Now, I must offer my personal feelings on this book as a Roman Catholic Christian. I feel that the chapter on Catholicism was totally watered-down and that the author really doesn't know much about Roman Catholicism. This leads me to wonder how accurate the rest of the book is. For example, the book covers the basis behind the Protestant Reformation (which should have been covered in the Protestant chapter) and papal infallibility (one of the most controversial aspects of the Church) but never once mentions the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist (the source and summit of the Catholic Church). I feel that this book was written from a Protestant Christian viewpoint and that Protestant Christians are the target audience.

As a primer for learning a little about religions other than your own, I think this book does have merit and would recommend it. If you are looking to possibly convert to another religion, be it to Christianity or another religion, do not use this book as a guide as to what religion would suit you.

This book was provided to me free of charge by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Alicia Hart

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