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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Eris Publications; Revised edition (February 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097315084X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0973150841
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #869,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Moreover, this book is very entertaining to read, with a lot of really funny moments.
Dusan Pavlicek
Religious folk will be offended because the book does not treat religion with "respect" but those of us who think it is all nonsense will enjoy reading this.
Flyingcrapaud
The biggest negative I have for the kindle version of this book is it is plagued by scanning and text errors making it difficult to read at times.
Craig A. Williams

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Book Shark TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 14, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Heathen's Guide to World Religions by William Hopper

"The Heathen's Guide to World Religions" is an irreverent, humorous, yet informative book about world religions. The book focuses on the origin of five major religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. This 312-page book is composed of five major chapters based on the aforementioned religions and many subchapters.

Positives:

1. A surprisingly informative book on the major religions of the world.
2. Better researched than the humor would lead you to believe.
3. A humorous and irreverent tone that propels the book forward.
4. Humor aside, this book provides an insightful look at how the main religions originated.
5. Great quotes open every single subchapter. Excellent!
6. Interesting and at times fascinating facts spruced throughout the book.
7. Mr. Hopper does a great job of defining religious terms.
8. Interesting how religions impacted the history of our planet. Many great examples throughout the book.
9. Many great examples of how religions build or steal rituals from other religions.
10. Interesting Jewish polytheistic history.
11. The huge impact of Paul and Constantine on Christianity. The New Testament as a "Paulinian" Bible.
12. How faith fosters intolerance.
13. The Crusades, the Inquisition, Indulgences, Oh my.
14. The impact of religious icons across all religions.
15. The interesting history of Baghdad as a cultural center for 400 years.
16. Great introductory insights on Eastern religions and how they are related.
17. The Hindu Trinity...interesting.
18. The real meaning behind Karma.
19. How Buddhism ended up in China.
20.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dusan Pavlicek on April 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
Before I start: I absolutely love the subtitle, it truly summarizes the whole book in a nutshell.

I was really looking for a book of this kind - one which would sum up the essentials of the world's major religions without flooding the reader with too many distracting details.
Sure, there are tons of materials on those religions already available but I really appreciated that someone sifted through all that for me. Moreover, this book is very entertaining to read, with a lot of really funny moments. There are quotes that open each section of the book and they are like little gems: either witty and clever on their own, or hilarious in the context of the particular topic, or both.
Side note: I like the fact that the sections in this book tend to be short and "manageable" - this makes it much easier to read the book bit by bit whenever you happen to have the time.

With a book of this kind there's always the obvious problem what to include and what to leave out. Personally, I would love to read more about the existing Christian denominations for example, because right now I don't really know much about the differences between them (and I wonder if at least the adherents of those denominations actually know them...). On the other hand, I would be heartless enough to completely discard the infamous section about Pali scripts. Very occasionally the author makes brief allusions to denominations not actually discussed in the book such as the Born Again Christians or the Pentecostals whom I know nothing about. But I guess you can't have it all. Maybe another edition or another book. That would be nice.

I certainly recommend that you read this book if you feel you need to improve your knowledge about Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism, it's fun and packed with useful information.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
Pros:
-Well researched
-Covers a lot of information very quickly
-Humorous
-Easy to read and accessible

Cons:
-Presents a biased view (obviously)
-No table of contents
-Very poor editing
-Derisive humor may be too offensive for some
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Craig A. Williams on March 30, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book provides a good and humorous overview of world religions. The chapters and subchapters are laid out in a logical and smoothly transitioning way. The balance of detail, skepticism, and humor is just right; you get the information without getting bored. The biggest negative I have for the kindle version of this book is it is plagued by scanning and text errors making it difficult to read at times. Throughout the book quotation marks (and there are a lot of them) are displayed as one of about five different symbols, none of which is a quotation mark. There are many places where the text does not contain the proper spacing or punctuation. Finally, the sections on Vedism and Buddhism are filled with examples where symbols used in their writing are displayed as repeated letters or punctuation marks, etc. which can make reading tedious.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Book Trope 9 on September 19, 2013
Format: Paperback
William Hopper's The Heathen's Guide presents a light-hearted, at times comical, overview of the world's religions. It's a short book, and thus doesn't capture every detail about every little sect or cult in existence, but it spends a chapter on each of the biggies. The book is laid-out in a logical order: the chapter on Judaism leads to a chapter on Christianity leads to a chapter on Islam. The overlapping religions of Buddhism and Hinduism are side-by-side, too. In each chapter, Hopper gives the historical roots of each religion, details the changes the religions experienced through the centuries, and offers tidbits on their current statuses. Hopper is insightful enough to know what will most interest his readers. In the chapter on Judaism, for instance, he devotes a couple of pages to the Kabbalah, and in the chapter on Islam, he explains how bin-Laden arrived at his extremist views. He also offers information on various religious offshoots - such as his subheading on Mormonism.
Unfortunately, though, the book is filled with errors. And I don't mean spelling or punctuation errors (though there are plenty of those, too). No, I am referring to factual errors. True, Hooper is attempting to write a humorous book here, but he's also trying to give his readers' an accurate overview of world religions. Errors include:
-The bible claims that the Patriarch Abraham lived to be 200 years old. (No, it doesn't.)
-God sent Jonah to Israel to warn them `about being bad,' then later climbs a mystical ladder. (Jonah was sent to preach to the inhabitants of Ninevah, in Assyria. And it was Jacob, not Jonah, who climbed a ladder.)
-Alexander the Great's territory was divided among his children when he died.
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