Thursday, August 23, 2012

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

In 15 minutes a day?!! I had to see this book. Believe it or not, this book lives up to expectations. Morgan states in his preface that his aim is to be concise and recommends a textbook he uses in his classes for those that what to learn more. Condensing any major religion into a 15 minute read is a challenge and one that I feel he has met well.

He defines religion at the start and that is helpful given the various ideas that exist. There is also a brief discussion of why looking at other's religion is important. Especially so now in the globalization of nearly everything. His descriptions give the basics of each religion covered. Remember the 15 minutes a day thing.

Another of his aims is to be descriptive and not necessarily comparative and to avoid the “mine’s better than yours” rhetoric. In that he generally succeeds. As he admits, a person’s cultural point of view is difficult to avoid, and from time to time you will see in his word choices some minor reflection of his particular bias.

I found his chapters on the religions generally associated with India and China very informative. Their history covers centuries and Morgan found a way to cover that time span with enough depth to understand them better and stay within his 15 minutes a day theme. That requires skill and he has shown the ability to accomplish that.

I do recommend this book as a great start point for understanding our neighbors globally and locally much better. Maybe this will be useful in better communication between us. One can always hope.

This book was provided to me by Bethany House Publishers for review.

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