This concise and accessible encyclopedia contains nearly 300 entries on the world's major religions, as well as important articles on important holy places...prophets and historical figures...and spiritual practices and religions that predate organized religion... - Library Journal. From Aaron (the first high priest of Israel) to Zoroastrianism (once the dominant religion in Persia), The Religion Book provides an encyclopedic look at the practices of yesterday and today. Christians, Buddhists, Wiccans and the rest may have questions about othersâ€™ belief or even their own, and The Religion Book expertly explains the similarities, differences, and original ideologies of believers and skeptics around the world. Are Nirvana and Heaven the same? Who are the Raelians, and why are they cloning people? Whatâ€™s the difference between Christian Scientists and Jehovahâ€™s Witnesses? Dogma? Karma? Feng Shui? What do they all mean? Devils, ghosts, the afterlife—do they really exist? If killingâ€™s a sin, why are there jihads? From the prominence of Catholics to the head scratching of the Red Paint People, The Religion Book is the go-to resource for all ages—and it doesnâ€™t require dressing in go-to-meeting clothes. The Religion Book: Places, Prophets, Saints, and Seers is a readerâ€™s convenient parchment pulpit of easy understanding to some of the most asked-about religious topics. Five hundred-plus pages explore 300 key religious figures, prophets, deities, places, and scriptures that play important roles in the major religions of the world. Willis respectfully explains terms and concepts as they relate to their respective belief systems, whether mainstream, pagan, or cultish.
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Grade 9 Up–What distinguishes Willis's work from the many other guides to world religions? In a word, personality. Alphabetically arranged encyclopedic entries note sources (not pronunciation), and provide cross-references. The volume's wide scope includes Norse myth, Mithraism, ley lines, Kwanzaa, and Merlin; Santeria, Hasidism, and Sufis are mentioned but not indexed. American orientation makes Mormonism's entry five times that of Jainism, Dwight Moody's longer than Mahatma Gandhi's, and John Eliot's longer than both. B.C.E. replaces B.C., but the Western Wall appears as "Wailing Wall," and Judaism's view of the Fall is missing. There is an entry for abortion but none for homosexuality, and spotty coverage of ethno- or primal religions (but sympathetic entries on Gaia, Ghost Dance, and Feminist Theology). Entries on the Benedictines and Ten Commandments are misleading, and the Archbishop of Canterbury should not be called "Reverend Williams." Nevertheless, this is a fascinating book because it is suffused with an individual mind. Entries are intellectually expanded by unexpected quotations and connections challenging readers to think or to smile. Many questions are raised and left open-ended. Willis has a distinctive voice, and a lucid and engagingly immediate style. He is especially enlightening on Buddhism and Hinduism. The occasional black-and-white photos and engravings are adequate, but the book's appeal lies in its lively writing and thoughtful, personal approach.–Patricia D. Lothrop, St. George's School, Newport, RI
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