Monday, May 25, 2009

Helpful Tool for Understanding Your Neighbour

We all live with people who do not believe the way we do - in our neighbourhoods, at work or at play – people we meet and interact with in our daily lives.
As Christians, if we want to dialogue with them about our own faith, it is sometimes helpful to understand where they are coming from.

Nelson’s Illustrated Guide to Religions by James A Beverley is a wonderful resource to give you an overview of the major religions of the world as well as hundreds of new religious belief systems.

This 850 page volume is well organized into 19 main sections … Baha’i, Branch Davidians, Buddhism, Christian Science, Christian Sectarian Groups, Hinduism, Islam , Jehovah’s Witnesses, Judaism, Mormonism, The New Age, Orthodoxy, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Satanism, Scientology, Sikhism, Unification Church, Witchcraft.

These main sections make it easy to find the info that you are looking for regarding any religion or off shoot group.

The book is written in an easy to read and understand way and is meant as an introduction to the different religions, rather than a complicated in depth study.

I appreciated the ten principles the author laid out that form the framework within which he responds to the hundreds of groups and leaders covered in the book.
Principles like the one he lists first … “All religions and philosophies are to be measured by the final revelation of God in Jesus Christ”. (pg8)

While this is not a book you curl up with to read from cover to cover in one sitting , it is a book you will want to keep handy to inform yourself of what a certain religion, referred to in the street or the media , really teaches. Living in a multi cultural world that is shrinking rapidly in so many ways, connecting people shoulder to shoulder … gives Christians an opportunity to be a ‘missionary’ without stepping out of their own neighbourhood. But we cannot be effective if we don’t understand what our friends and neighbours believe.
With 'Nelson's Illustrated Guide to Religions' in your hand , you will no longer have an excuse not to know !!


Anonymous said...

While I am sure this book is beneficial. I would like to kindly advise, that, if you seek to learn of another's religion.

It is best, in my opinion, to get the sources from their scholars, and those that propagate their own religion.

For example, you want to know about Hindu's, you would read from their scholars and reputable callers of their religions....etc...I hope you understand what I mean?

Interpreting other's religions, beliefs is not the same as hearing and the insight to one's own religion, especially when they have complete(or almost so) knowledge and the proper way to deliver their messages to others.

Because it is usually delivered from their hearts. Which I feel is easier to understand. Well, let me see if I can explain.

Personally speaking I have benefitted from people when they are truly sincere, as to opposed to those that just want to get their jobs done and be finished. No matter WHAT religion they are from.


Anonymous said...

Just to add, if I may. I'm not implying the author of this book is insincere. Just I feel it's better, in my opinion to get knowledge of others religions from their scholars and those of grounded knowledge.

Well, I hope you have understood me. And thank you for your recommendation of this book.


Julie said...

dear Anonymous... thank you for your comments.
I agree, if you want to know what someone believes it is better to go to the one who believes it rather than a third party telling you what they believe.
And most often,if possible, I prefer to go to the sourse.
But, sometimes you just want an overview to begin to understand and someone else who has done their research well, can capsulize it for you - which can be a helpful starting point.