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The handy religion answer book

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2nd ed.

This is a question-and-answer guide to the prominent religions of the world. It provides detailed descriptions of the history, beliefs, symbols, rituals, observations, customs, membership, leaders, and organization of the world's eight major religious traditions. The spiritual world we live in today is a diverse and sometimes highly individual mix of religious practices and beliefs. The physical world is a much smaller place, often secular in appearance but still very much fueled by religious beliefs and conflict in the name of God. This book provides descriptions of major beliefs and rituals worldwide, affording the reader an understanding of contemporary religion. Written by a scholar with more than 40 years of study and teaching experience, it is a comparative guide for anyone seeking basic religious literacy and intellectual history. This fully revised and updated edition contains answers more than 1,000 questions, such as What is the significance of the Star of David? How did so many different Christian churches come into being? What is the importance of the month of Ramadan? What is an Ayatollah? and Do Taoists believe in heaven and hell?, as well as new questions concerning religion and violence and suborganizations that claim affiliation with the major faith communities. A glossary of religious terminology, and maps of the general coverage areas for each religion are also included.

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