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3.6 out of 5 stars
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on October 10, 2011
The problem I have with many educational books is that you can't quite get into them because there's no "voice" so to speak. There's only a ton of information jammed together with little headers and sidenotes to keep you from losing track. This book has a very personable and helpful voice. It's like having a super intelligent/knowledgible friend writing to you personally, carefully describing each subject and all of it's parts. I didn't read this book like I would have, say, a psychology book which is more about skimming paragraphs for the information you need/general understanding. I read this book like I would have a novel because it honestly reads like one. For such a tricky and touchy subject matter as religion it was very helpful for me to be able to just get fascinated with the subject, with not much effort on my part to force and understanding. I did not have to use outside resources along with this book to find meaning in the text.

As well, I am not a religious person and the class I was taking which required this book was taken in order to diversify my understanding of others as I am continuously trying to expand my tolerance and acceptance of others. I really enjoyed that the author did not seem biased no matter which religion they were speaking of. Importance was shown due justice to each of the major religions and they're very different views.

I recommend this book for anyone interested in learning about other religions regardless of whether or not they are taking a class for it.
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on June 30, 2012
I found this book to be a basic, easy read of different religions around the world. We used this book at the College of DuPage for Religion 101 class to get a beginning view of religions outside of our own learned beliefs. The book caused me to review my own faith and beliefs and why and to help me understand what other's beliefs are and why. I enjoyed this book because it was simple as was it's intention. I would recommend to someone (other than the student) who wants this high level, overall view of religion.
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on September 18, 2014
I ordered this for an undergrad religion class. Though the book is rather well-written and easy to follow, and it seems mostly unbiased, the structuring of the book and the introductory questions for each chapter (which were part of our weekly assignments) were very poorly constructed. We would read the chapter first, then answer the questions. It's frustrating that some of the questions asked were not discussed in the chapter they introduced. At one point, one chapter question asked about what we had learned so far about Jesus in the previous chapter, but they didn't discuss Jesus in that previous chapter.
And another question was asking about Jesus' "Transfiguration", which was not mentioned AT ALL in the book,
I figured, since it was part of a question, maybe it was defined in the glossary. I tried to look it up in the index to find the exact page number where it was mentioned rather than skimming all 20 pages again, but it wasn't listed there either. No such luck. Never found it; not in the index, glossary, or chapter images on the companion site. I had to do my own research to answer the question since it seemed that it was not mentioned ANYWHERE in the book, except in that question. Ridiculous. You would think that the importance of the Scriptures/holy words provided at the beginning of each chapter would guarantee their mentioning in the index, or at least who/where they came from. Wrong. Not listed.

The companion website to accompany the book was a joke. It is so poorly formatted! Some of the questions would ask about images provided on their website; but chapter 3 didn't have ANYTHING on their website & half those questions were about the pictures! It's like they published the book, started making the companion site, & then just abandoned it. It is, however, very informative, factual & unbiased, & it IS a really good read if it is intended for that purpose only. Otherwise, on an academic level, it falls short in my opinion.
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on May 18, 2014
Understanding Religion in a Global Society is a scholarly text, however, conflicting religious beliefs are lumped together. I received an ‘A’ in the class by the way, but felt the book was more of a liability than an asset. Research from other sources played a larger role in my success. The text would have been easier to process had it been presented in a better structured context. I am currently reading The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels- a professor at Princeton. It covers religion in the early church, thus the origins, and does connect it with Buddhists and other ultimate realities, and it is an excellent example of a well laid out text.
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on September 22, 2015
Thank you. The book was in better condition than described!
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on October 1, 2014
The book was brand new and came on time.
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on May 4, 2015
It's okay.
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on April 5, 2011
I purchased this book for a religious studies course and I wish I had just used a textbook on reserve to save money. It is so poorly written that the authors literally take passages from earlier chapters and re-use them in later chapters. The text constantly claims to be unbiased, which only draws attention to how it is in fact biased and constantly describes a strained relationship between religion and science. Its examples are so vague that it lacks direction and makes it hard not only to understand their message, but also to take it seriously. This book will only make you frustrated and you'd be better off choosing a different textbook if you really want to understand religion in a global society.

If you must get this book for a class, rent it or get it on reserve in the library. Do not waste your money.
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