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A Spectator's Guide to World Religions: An Introduction to the Big Five

(Spectator's Guides)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  93 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Around the world people are worshipping, praying, believing, following, even dying for their faith. But are all faiths the same? Are their beliefs and practices simply cultural expressions of the same spiritual longings? In this timely book, John Dickson carefully outlines the history, belief systems, and spiritual practices of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, an ...more
Paperback, 236 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Lion Books
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David Sarkies
Aug 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People Who Know Nothing about religion
Recommended to David by: My Church
Shelves: christian
Not All Religions are the Same
20 August 2011

The one thing that I really liked about this book was that despite it being written by a Christian, it was incredibly objective (though it is difficult to be objective with Christianity when one is a Christian). A lot of books on religions that I have read, that have been written by Christians, tend to pretty much bag the other religions and then really talk up Christianity. Dickson doesn't do this, rather he tries an objective approach so that those
Jordan Brown
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is exactly what I set out to read: an unbiased overview of the 5 main world religions. Dickson does a great job of explaining Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the positive light that each respective religion would want to be represented. This is a great resource that I’ll be referring back to for years to come.

Favorite Quote:

On the bent towards pluralism-“Affirming both answers as true will not only avoid upsetting anyone, if will require no effort on your part whats
Mar 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book's simple structure and overview of the major religions. If one is looking to really study or learn in detail about any one religion, they should probably skip this book. It's a broad overview that gave me enough insight on each religion and the major differences between them to then decide whether I'm interested in pursuing further knowledge on a particular one (and I am.)

I thought the author did a good job of being objective in relation to each religion and stayed away from
Any Length
Aug 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the unbiased view of world religions. John proved that although a Christian himself, he is able to set his own beliefs aside and provide an untainted description of what the other religions are about, their beliefs, their practises, their ideas. And not from a stand point of Christianity, but from a neutral point. Giving each religion their own space.
He proved to me that to say: "all religions are really the same" is not a true statement and to say it is doing a disservice to al
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars.

This was expertly done. Really, truly impressed by John Dickson and the grace with which he wrote this book. It might sound weird giving what is essentially a textbook 5 stars, but I think if you read this you would understand.

What could be a very dry subject just works. Super informative if it's the thing you're after.
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Maurya by: Tomalin's religeous class.
3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

Good overview of 5 major religions in a seemingly non-opinionated fashion. I learned some good stuff, and my favourite part of the book was the last chapters where he does a bit of compare and contrast.

I do feel I could now have a semi-intelligent conversation with a Hindu or Muslim which I didn't have before.
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book. John’s objective presentation of five of the world’s major religions opens up a greater understanding and appreciation of them all. Additionally, his concluding chapters refuting pluralism and “all religions are the same” claims were fantastically written and argued.
Jade Enright
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really helpful and fair to all the religions he talks about but makes sure to constantly admit and compensate for his own biases.
Pam Ela
Easy to rs of the 5 major religionsead description
Dianna Thiel
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent overview.
Feb 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, bedroom
This is a good first introduction to some of the major (by number of followers) world religions. It does not teach you everything (it is a slim volume), but it gives a more than basic overview of 5 major religions.

It has provided me with some information I did not know and peaked my interest to explore individual books on several of the world’s religions. I had extremely little knowledge of some of the religions before reading this book.

The author is up front about his views and own religion a
Laura Green
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"...perhaps society's keenness to affirm all religious viewpoints stems, in part, from an aversion to having to think too deeply about any one of them. Put another way, the 'all roads lead to Rome' view of spirituality can be simply a way of justifying our own unwillingness to look down any of the roads." John Dickson

"An open mind is like an open mouth: its purpose is to bite on something nourishing. Otherwise, it becomes like a sewer, accepting everything, rejecting nothing." GK Chesterton
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John focuses on the big ideas that have shaped our world.

His journey is an eclectic one. Starting out as a singer-songwriter, he now works as a writer, speaker, historian of religion (focusing on early Christianity and Judaism), media presenter, Anglican minister, and director of a multi-media think tank.

With an honours degree in theology from Moore Theological College Sydney, and a PhD in history

Other books in the series

Spectator's Guides (4 books)
  • A Spectator's Guide to Jesus: An Introduction to the Man from Nazareth
  • A Spectator's Guide to the Bible
  • A Spectator's Guide to World Views: Ten Ways of Understanding Life

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