Monday, April 7, 2008

World Religions The Great Faiths Explored And Explained

World Religions The Great Faiths Explored And Explained Cover

Book: World Religions The Great Faiths Explored And Explained by John Bowker

This richly Illustrated book shows the world's most important religions with detailed annotation of sacred texts, paintings, epic imagery, symbolism, iconography, key beliefs, architecture and artifacts. World Religions gives insights into the world's main religions and offers a deeper appreciation for the belief you have chosen as your own.

Unlike other books that claim to present an unbiased, fair view of the religions of the world, this one actually delivers on that promise. It discusses in depth the various major religions, offering pictures of artifacts, religious ceremonial equipment, and illustrations of the gods/goddesses involved. I was impressed by the religious timelines, continental graphs by religious practices, and Golden Rule section that closes the book (saying to basically be respectful of others' views). This book does not endorse any of the religions, nor does it neglect any of them either. If you are shopping for an impartial, complete, detailed account of all of the world's major religions, I highly recommend this book to you.

Through the pages, the author looks at the beliefs and practices of many different religions from the ancient Egyptians to the faiths practiced today. I have so enjoyed John Bowker's books and he has given me so insights into the religions of the world. He was the dean of Trinity College, Cambridge from 1984 to 1991. He is the author of many books, including The Meanings of Death and The Complete Bible Handbook. With the knowledge presented, you can learn about the central leaders and their teachings, examine the similarities and differences and discover the main beliefs behind each faith. The chapters include:

What is Religion? - An explanation of what it means to be religious.

Ancient Religions - Why have most cultures had a religion?

- Hinduism
- Jainism
- Buddhism
- Sikhism
- Chinese Religions
- Japanese Religions
- Judaism
- Christianity
- Islam
- Native Religions

Colorful pictures enhance each page with virtually every detail identified via arrows and described in a detailed caption. Each chapter begins with a succinct Introduction and is followed by one-or-two page sections that explain the basic tenets of the faith, symbols, events, people, buildings, works of art, and the differences and similarities to other religions. Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are included as are Jainism, Sikhism, Chinese and Japanese religions, and Native religions. The time line places key figures and events of one faith in relation to important people of another belief. Maps identify locations of sacred sites and the spread of the religion. Pages that include tall pictures are printed sideways across the double-page spread. This means the illustrations can be larger and clearer, but it is awkward for readers, who must constantly turn this oversized volume around. However, this is a visual feast that will be useful in most collections.

The Golden Rule - How this rule exists in all religions in some form or the other. Religious Timeline and Maps - Six pages, one with a very helpful timeline that shows when the religion came to be and how it evolved over time. Further Reading - A page of books organized according to the religion they explain.

"What you do not want done to you, do not do to others." - Confucius, is found in every religion in some form or the other!

The belief in a higher power is found in every culture and seems almost essential to our existence. Why do we "want" to believe in a God? Why do we choose one religion over the other? Here you can explore your choice and see the choices of others.


Buy John Bowker's book: World Religions The Great Faiths Explored And Explained

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