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Understanding World Religions

Religion is the driving force behind much of what happens in the world today -- particularly when it comes to the "big three" religions -- Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Religious differences have and continue to spark wars, create nations, and spawn ongoing conflict down through the centuries. No matter what religion you adhere to (or even if you claim that you don't adhere to any religion at all), you need to have a basic understanding of the world's religions in order to understand what is happening in the world today so that you can be better informed and a more useful citizen of your nation and of the world. Without some knowledge of religion, you will not understand the underpinnings of what is happening in an increasingly global society.
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Dec 3, 2014

Our quote for today is from  C.S. Lewis. He said, “The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”

In this podcast, we will be making our way through Garry R. Morgan's book, "Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day: Learn the Basics of Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Mormonism, Christianity, and many more." Garry Morgan is a Professor of Intercultural Studies at Northwestern College. He served with World Venture for 20 years in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Tanzania. 

We are going to begin this podcast series with the introductory section of Morgan's book. He writes: 

Today nearly six billion people profess some form of religion. Not only is there tremendous variety of religious beliefs, within any given religion there are disparities in some beliefs and practices. Add to this the cultural variations that impact any religion practiced in multiple parts of the world and a kaleidoscope of differences emerges. 

The migration patterns of recent decades (over one billion people on the move since 1970) have brought previously isolated religious groups into contact with followers of other religions, or into new settings that have compelled some alteration of practices, resulting in even more changes. (This is not a new phenomenon in India, where Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Zoroastrians and Buddhists already have lived together for centuries.) 

Trying to describe this vast religious array is challenging, since there are exceptions to almost anything one would say; trying to do so with brevity is even more difficult. It is my sincere hope that this podcast will bring clarity rather than confusion to those who may know little about religions outside (or including) their own.

This podcast intends to be descriptive rather than evaluative or polemic. It is designed to offer a concise overview of the major world religions and a sampling of some newer religious movements. Undoubtedly my own convictions have impacted my writing, but I have tried to be accurate and fair even when describing belief systems with which I personally disagree. Far too much contemporary writing by followers of one religion about others utilizes caricature and straw man arguments. My goal always is to be respectful.

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