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Handbook of Today's Religions Hardcover – February 14, 1996


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; Revised edition (February 14, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785212191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785212195
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.3 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #373,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Josh McDowell is an internationally known speaker and author.  He is a traveling representative of Campus Crusade for Christ speaking to more than ten million young people.  Josh has authored or coauthored more than 120 books.  Josh and his wife, Dottie, have four grown children.


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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Zeolla on June 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book has four major sections: Understanding the Cults, Understanding the Occult, Understanding Non-Christian Religions, and Understanding Secular Religions. It closes with an article by Norman Anderson on "A Christian Approach to Comparative Religions."
I read this book years ago when I first became a Christian. It helped to settle in my mind the uniqueness of true Christianity. It also helped to answer lingering questions I had about other belief systems. So it helped to solidify my belief that the Christian faith was true and that other belief systems were false.
In the first section on cults the authors first discuss "What is a Cult?" They then present the basic characteristics of cults and the beliefs of orthodox Christianity. The beliefs are present via quotes from important Christian creeds, with supporting Biblical references. It's not a thorough Biblical study of such doctrines, but adequate for presenting the orthodox view. For a more thorough study on the basic doctrines of the Christian faith, see my "Scripture Workbook: For Personal Bible Study and Teaching the Bible."
The first section of this book then looks at individual groups like JWs and Mormons. For each group it presents a very short history of the group. For a more detailed history of each group, one would have to consult books like Walter Martin's "Kingdom of the Cults" or Ruth Tucker's "Another Gospel."
But what this book does provide is a detailed Biblical discussion of each group's teachings. The book first documents the group's doctrines through extended quotes from it's own literature. The authors then provide extensive Biblical refutations of these doctrines.
The tone of the book is one of presenting an exegesis of the relevant Scriptures.
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60 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Archimedes Tritium on September 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This 567 page book examines many religious beliefs, outlining their history, practice and basic nature, along with why they are not compatible with reality and biblical Christianity.

The current trend is to assert all religions are interchangeable. This book puts the idea to rest with extensive scholarship and clear-thinking. It draws on the consensus teachings of each religion and it's leading thinkers (the founders, for example), along with extensive quotes from more specialized works in comparative religion.

I looked over 3 other comparative religion books. They seemed to dance around the essential, core understanding. Not so with this book. You will find yourself reaching for this volume time after time. It's a great purchase!

Most of it was written in 1982. I hope there is a revision in which the authors bring to bear their insights and learning gained over the last 20 years.

The work could be clarified in spots so that non-Christians could appreciate it. That is, the authors fall short of making some of the analysis unanswerable, but I think they could make it so (and a book like this needs to be) with revision.

These are the topics covered. Each has at least several pages -- and often more -- devoted to it:

Non-Christian: Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism, Zen, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism

Secular religions: Atheism, Agnosticism, Skepticism, Marxism, Secular Humanism, Existentialism

Cults: Hare Krishna, Jehovah's Witness, Mormonism, TM, Theosophy, EST, Children of God, Unification Church, The Way International, Worldwide Church of God, Christian Science, Unity

Occult: Astrology, Black Mass, Edgar Cayce, Demons, Jeane Dixon, Dowsing, Fire Walking, Fortune Telling, Ghosts, Hypnotism, Magic, Ouija Board, Parapsychology, Psychic Surgery, Rosicrucianism, Satanism, Necromancy, Superstition, Witchcraft.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By lmoo123@aol.com on December 1, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I have been searching for a book like this one for years and now I've found it. This book is quite enlightening. It quotes scripture but isn't too deep. The average lay person can understand. I have recommended this book to several friends. In a world with so many views, it's nice to find a source that is based in christianity, which compares and gives insight. Fantastic source of information.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By "wynde" on May 31, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be one of the best and most simply written reference books for the spectrum of today's religions. I think that it can be very helpful in conquering the wide-spread ignorance that surrounds different religious beliefs. However, before buying this book, one must realize that it is writtin from a bible-believing christian standpoint and therefore the ideas could most certianly be considered bias. However, in reading the book i think that you will find most of the information to be very factual. There is very little opinion and what opinion can be found is well presented by McDowell and Stewart. This is a must-buy for Christians.
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20 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
McDowell's and Stewart's *Handbook of Today's Religions* is a compilation of their series on the cults, world religions and secular religions, under one title. The work provides a systematic survey of the core beliefs, philosophical characteristics and significant writers within each religious viewpoint, and offers a critique from the foundation of a historic, Biblical Christian worldview.
The book is copiously documented from the primary sources and significant secondary materials, and is clearly written in a friendly and personable style. The documentation contained in this book alone is worth the price of the book. The religious views treated, while held to be in error by the authors, are treated with an irenic tone and intelligent manner.
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