This review is part of a TLC Book Tour.
Summary: Stephen Prothero doesn’t believe that all religions are paths to the same place like the popular idea of paths up a mountain is about. He talks about what he considers the 8 rival religions and explains them well. His main focus is that the religions aren’t similar because each religion addresses a different problem and therefore has a different solution.
The religions Prothero includes are Islam, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Yoruba Religion, Judaism and Daoism plus he includes a chapter on Atheism which is over and above the “Great Eight.”
I’m not sure I agree with his choice of religions but he knows more than me on religions. He does state that:
“Much is missing here. Shinto is not covered. Neither is Jainism, Zorastrianism, Wicca or the Baha’i faith. Also neglected are new religious movements such as Rastafarianism and Scientology. But the religion I most regret excluding is Sikhism.” – p. 15-16
As I said, he explains that each religion addresses a different human problem and therefore a different solution. For example:
In Islam, the problem is pride, the solution is submission.
In Christianity, the problem is sin, the solution is salvation.
In Judaism, the problem is exile, the solution is to return to God.
It’s hard to review this book without talking about my religious views but I just want to say that I always believe that each religion was a path to the same end but Prothero does make a good point I never thought about with regards to the problem/solution idea.
Discussion of the God is not One theory though isn’t the majority of the book. The majority is discussion of each of those eight religion which in general I found very interesting. For anyone interested in learning the basics about other religions, this would be a great read. I do wish he’d come out with another book which explains some of the religions that were omitted. I love learning about other religions and often can’t find an explanation I can understand.
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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review. All reviews are honest and are not affected by how I acquired the book.