The author candidly extracts into the rich and expanse history of the world’s principal religions which are; Taoism, Islam, Hinduism, Confucianism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Judaism. Intentionally, the author avoids digging into the simple but complex minutiae detectable in religious history.
This includes evading the attempts of explaining why religion was exploited as a vehicle of destruction. As the author observes “The sanctioning theological as well as metaphysical genuineness of the world’s creeds are . . . enthused. Institutions – religious establishments categorically included – are a different story. . . .” (Smith 188) .
The author thus kicks off with a watchful and clear prose supported with witty details for the best reflection of all seven influential religions. And this includes their fundamental beliefs and intrinsic beauty.
The books presentation shows that the author is a genius in regard to correlation. More so, the unfamiliar, disputably, fantastic religious abstractions are cleverly summed up. Take, for instance, the Christian teachings of the Trinity, “It holds that whilst God is entirely one, God is as well three. The second half of this declaration compels the Jews and Muslims to question if Christians are truthfully monotheists, but Christians are convinced that they are (Smith 100).
The book is a must read. The way religious dynamics are explored forges a strong ground for nurturing respect for both individual and religious beliefs .This has been achieved through the elaborate explanation of the ostensibly incompatible religious configurations.
The scope and extents of Taoism, Islam, Hinduism, Confucianism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Judaism are intricately handled. The author achieves this task by giving these religious systems a profound analysis. In essence, the book is made superb by the simple integration of wisdom carried in religious sayings. Hence, the book offers a candid insight into the nature of man and religion. Thus, it can be argued that the book is for anyone interested in exploring the world of religion.
What the author has done is to cover all the major religions giving the reader a deep and profound understanding of religious dynamics. Also the book stands as one of the few meaningful and insightful works on religions. This concept is supplemented by the author’s insightful discussion surrounding the historical interlude in which each religion was founded or the issues that contributed to the birth of each.
Another notable feature of this book is that it incorporates both religious and cultural attributes that are significant to each religion. And this is well illustrated by the deep explanations and comparisons of all the seven religions. For instance, if one is interested in understanding the concepts of Roman Catholicism along the path of Protestantism, the book provides a wealth of information in such areas abundantly.
For those who have never read this book, it is a classic exploration of religions; it is an examination of religions dynamics and configuration in the world. Also diverse features have been added such as the indigenous philosophies allied to Native Americans, Pacific Islanders and Australians. However, the authors influence and style of presentation gives the book a strong appeal that reflects the core tenets and philosophies of each religion covered .
It is on that respect the author states that the aim of this book is to stand as an exploration of diverse religious ideas and beliefs. Also, he warns that the book is not a balanced narration of its perceived subject rather it is anchored on the foundation of values. With the author’s suggestions at the end of each chapter, the book can be said to be a rich source in regard to understanding the world religions.
In essence, the book plays a fundamental role in highlighting the conflicting trends related to the world religions. Given the immensity and the abundance of information gathered in this book, it would be instrumental to assert that it satisfies the broader requirements of understanding the fundamentals of human and religion interaction.
Also, the book examines the emerging religious trends such as Baha’i beliefs, Mormonism, as well as the scope of Scientology. Thus, by investing ones time in reading this book can be instrumental in understanding the genesis of world religions. Including the pivotal roles they have played in bringing man closer to God.
The book is easy to read. It is not a documented history of major world religion or a rigorous analysis of comparative religion. It is a superb and successful endeavor to put the fundamental wisdom of the major world religions in one book. The beauty of this book lies in that it has managed to bring together the differences that are evident in the global religions.
More so, the author has established that no religion is superior or greater than the other. Also by following the cultural trends in examining the scope and extents of all major global religions, he has shown that each community and nation has abundant but diversified opinion on religion.
Smith, Huston. The Religions of Man. New York: Harper & Row, 1965.