a very early stage of my adult life I was advised there were two topics to
avoid in discussions. One was politics and the other? Religion!
I rather took the advice to heart, as these days I am a confirmed atheist,
but at least this was to give me a clean slate to read The Religions Book
(ISBN 978-1-4093-2491-1, DK, 2013) without bias in any particular direction
The Contents page begins with Primal Beliefs from prehistory, followed by
Ancient and Classical Beliefs from 3000 BCE. It then covers Hinduism,
Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity (from first century CE), Islam (from 610
CE), Modern Religions (from the 15th Century), finishing with a directory,
glossary and an index.
Right from the start the reader has to face concepts such as “Why are we
here?”, “Why do we die?” and then “Sacrifice and Blood Offerings.” All these
concepts helped form a belief system, which apparently the society of man
Certain belief tenets are traced, such as “The Good Live Forever in the
Kingdom of Osiris” a concept mirrored in many other religions often called
the ‘Heaven’ destination. (And does anyone have a couple of coins to pay the
ferryman across the river Styx?)
Timelines are used throughout the book, showing the religions ‘in vogue’ at
any particular period, and then further timelines showing the significant
events in any particular religion.
The transition from multiple Gods to monotheism is well explained, and how
some of these still exist today. For some people, there is a case to answer
when it is recorded that “God told Abraham that Jewish people must be
circumcised.” In today’s society, that might be a harder concept to sell!
Surveying the world’s religions, from Buddhism and all its branches to
Zoroastrianism, and even the Cargo Cult, this book is providing succinct yet
thought-provoking insight into the philosophy and practices of each, The
Religions Book is ideal for anyone seeking to gain a better understanding of
the world’s religions.
With intriguing artwork, flow charts, and diagrams, complex world religions
are made accessible in this comprehensive guide. The Religions Book is also
perfect for religion and philosophy students, or literally anyone with an
enquiring mind, wondering about the ‘why’ and the ‘how’.
The principles of the five main world religions - Hinduism, Buddhism,
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as well as ancient and primal belief
systems are explored in much detail, and it is the attention to detail that
makes this book stand out.
At B. 825 for this beautifully executed hard-back, it is a literary bargain.
A reference book full of interest (even for atheists) that has been
meticulously researched by notable contributors. Anyone with an enquiring
mind will find this book fascinating.
Pre-eminent figures such as Mahatma Gandhi, St Paul, and Al-Ghazali are
covered, with how they spread their sphere of influence.
May I quote from Thomas Jefferson, “Religions are all alike - founded upon
fables and mythologies.” I leave you to decide if this is indeed true, after
you have read this book! This is definitely one that you should have on your
shelves instead of Bookazine’s.