4 out of 4 stars
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The Seduction of Religion: An Illuminating and Provocative Guide to the Religions of the World is an informative book written by Paul Singh.
The book has twenty three chapters featuring major religious groups around the world including Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus among others. Christianity, being the world’s largest and most organized religion, is presented in the first chapter followed by the major branches of Christianity: Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox Church and Protestantism. Protestantism is discussed in details by dividing it into subtopics featuring its branches: Lutherans, Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians and Other Liberal Churches and Seventh Day Adventist. The author also allots chapters for other religious groups like Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witnesses, The Mormons, Evangelicals, Jews, Zoroastrians, Jains, Sikhs and Scientologists. Moreover, the book explicates the difference between religion and cult and presents several questions for readers of different religious groups.
Ultimately, this is a well-written, and apparently well-researched book. It is, first and foremost, very informative. Admittedly, it is genuinely surprising for me to find out about other Christian religions and how they differ from one another. Moreover, it is a very thought-provoking book. Each chapter contains statements ranging from simply surprising to totally outrageous. I even find some parts so disturbing that I secretly wish they are not true especially those about Muslims and the Islamic faith.
The tone of the narrative is generally satirical, and at some points amusing and, probably for other readers, somehow even entertaining. Compared with other books about religion, this is less formal thus easier to read and understand.
In addition to the discussion on various religions, the author includes the plight of women around the world and the role the religions play in that plight. The most important part of the book, for me, is the advice of the author about organized religions. I find it sound and objective. Though he is apparently passionate about the subject, he doesn’t impose his personal beliefs on the readers. He makes suggestions for readers to weigh and contemplate on. He shares his personal experience regarding organized religion so that the readers know that he is just like any of us, but he makes a choice and he also shares that choice to his readers.
However, though the author is apparently well-meaning and impartial in his presentation, some readers may find the book offensive and provocative. Some may even find it as personal attack on their faith. Moreover, it may raise contention from members of organized religions regardless of the denomination and may affect the total readership of the book. In that regard, I commend the author on such fearless presentation and wish him luck on the success of this book.
I, therefore, rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is informative, well-researched and well-written. Though I recommend it primarily to theologians and religious leaders, I believe that this is a book for everyone: religious, non-religious, theists, deists and atheists. Deeply religious people, however, may find it not something they would normally read and include in their collection.
The Seduction of Religion
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