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Presenting both the histories and the prevalent worldviews of the major world religions, Matthews's WORLD RELIGIONS, Sixth Edition, methodically introduces students to the richness and diversity of these traditions. The "Worldview" sections in particular make this the most helpful textbook for comparative analyses of the religions. In these sections, students can see how the different religions approach a common set of ten themes that are fundamental to all traditions, including the nature of the Absolute, the place of humans in the world, rituals and symbols, and the prospects for life after death. Furthermore, this text combines insightful, engaging prose with maps, photographs, timelines, excerpts from sacred texts, and other helpful pedagogical aids that provide a comprehensive yet accessible survey of world religions.
Each religion is presented with a consistent ordering of topics, giving students a solid framework to compare and contrast, and through the unique "Worldview" sections to understand readily the commonalities and differences among the major religions' outlook on the world. Matthews's unique approach fulfills two main objectives: providing students with a strong sense of history and introducing them to the comprehensive worldview.
Quotations from scripture provide students with a foundation in the scared literature that is the cornerstone of each religion. Examples of scriptures and key lessons of religious teachers are included for most religions and, generally, present a complete thought or argument to help students appreciate important expressions of faith by those who practice it.
"Consider This" boxes suggest alternative perspectives; encourage discussion about the significance of various insights, claims, or activities encountered in the exploration of different religions; and invite students to step back from story and faith in order to reflect on the significance of key facts or ideas.
An extensive appendix includes a variety of instructive charts that diagram the various movements, denominations, and sects within the major world religions, making it easier to place individual events and ideas into a broader context.
"Religions Today" sections highlight the world populations practicing various religions and the particular socio-political issues currently facing each religion.