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Author(s): Richard Losch

ISBN13: 9780802839107

ISBN10: 080283910X

Publisher: W.B.Eerdmans

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  • Religious Faith Takes Many Forms. Throughout the centuries and around the globe, human responses to the divine have given rise to a large number of important religions. The Many Faces of Faith introduces general readers to the diversity of religion that exists today.

    In this fascinating and very useful book, Richard R. Losch provides short descriptions of the main beliefs and practices of the worlds most influential religious traditions, including the denominational branches of Christianity. The volume is not intended to be an in-depth study; rather, it focuses on what is essential for understanding each faith covered, and it dispels many of the myths and misconceptions concerning them.

    The first part of the book is devoted to major world religions and several newer faiths. Chapters cover Hinduism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Taoism and Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam, Mormonism, Bahai, Jehovahs Witnesses, Neopaganism, Unitarian-Universalism, and major benign cults. The second part of the book describes the many faces of Christianity: the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, Reformed churches, Mennonites, Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers, Methodists, the United Church of Christ, the Holiness and Pentecostal movements, Adventists, the "Christians," and Christian Scientists. The traditions covered in each section are arranged chronologically, according to the time they were founded or developed into their current form.

    Assuming little prior knowledge of the faiths he discusses, Losch does an excellent job of condensing and clearly presenting each religion. He explains many theological terms that might be unfamiliar to readers, and he provides pronunciation guides for foreign words and names. The book can be read straight through or used as a reference tool for looking up particular faiths.

    Readable and informative, The Many Faces of Faith provides an ideal starting point for objective inquiry into the richness of human spirituality worldwide.

  • Richard Losch

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    In the second half of this guide, Losch, an Episcopal priest, treads familiar territory, exploring the theological and historical distinctions between various Christian denominations. The earlier chapters on world religions are much shakier and shorter. Whereas the Anglican/Episcopalian denomination receives a respectable 16 pages, all of the many varieties of Buddhism are addressed in a total of five. Losch states at the outset that while the book is "written from a Christian perspective," he has "tried to be objective and nonjudgmental," and for the most part he remains an impartial observer. However, the Jehovahs Witnesses clearly get his goat; he describes the movement as "a cult" and "a reiteration of the Arian heresy." Other religions that are based in Christianity, such as Mormonism and Unitarian-Universalism, also arouse his ire. His chapter on Mormonism contains outdated information (the religion has 11 million members, not eight million, and 106 temples, not two dozen) and some outright errors. At one point, he confuses the Mormon Tabernacle, which is open to the public, with the Salt Lake Temple, which is not. Other chapters have more disturbing errors or generalizations; Muslim feminists, in particular, will be horrified by Loschs confident and simplistic assertion that Islam "establishes males as clearly superior to females, who are in most Islamic societies treated like slaves or possessions." In the preface, Losch admits how little he knew about world religions before tackling this project. Many readers will wish he had taken the time to learn more. (Aug.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

    - Publishers Weekly