Religion – 50 Ideas You Really Need to Know (50 Ideas You Really Need to Know series) by Peter Stanford (PDF)

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Ebook Info

  • Published: 2010
  • Number of pages: 259 pages
  • Format: PDF
  • File Size: 1.20 MB
  • Authors: Peter Stanford


The need to understand religion and the role it plays in our world has never been more pressing. The beliefs and actions of the planet’s 2 billion Christians, 1.2 billion Muslims, 800 million Hindus and 700 million followers of other religions has an impact on every aspect of war and peace, ethics, politics, reproduction, family and social structure across every civilization and continent. 50 Religion Ideas You Really Need to Know aims to lift the clouds of confusion surrounding religion and to address its key issues. What is the ‘Golden Rule’ and how does it unite religious people? How did the divisions arise between Catholics and Protestants and what do they mean for us today? What are the differences between Anglicanism, Methodism, Baptism and Presbyterianism? What separates Sunni Muslims from Shi’a Muslims? What does it mean to be Jewish? Award-winning writer Peter Stanford answers these and a myriad other questions in 50 Religion Ideas You Really Need to Know. Both readable and informative, it will appeal to anyone who wants to understand one of the most powerful and enduring forces shaping our world.

User’s Reviews

Reviews from Amazon users which were colected at the time this book was published on the website:

⭐Needed it for school. Had all the pages.

⭐Wow, what an eye opener. I really feel as if there would be a lot less misunderstandings and prejudices against religions if everyone read this book with an open mind. Its short and concise but, needed.

⭐Describes when and why all the major religons came to exist. Excellent resource for anyone wanting to know about other cultures & religions differ in their thinking from our own.

⭐A brilliant summation of the ideas, people and events that have shaped the field since its inception. Delightful, inspiring, informative and educative.

⭐This book is very good in the manner of the Oxford series of a very medium length introduction to an understanding of religion. It seems to be written from the Cristian perspective which we might say I KNEW THAT! I thought good about Moslems and far eastern religions. The rather profound ideas in the religions of indigenous peoples could have been given several mentions.

⭐Great Book.

⭐There is no doubt that this book is superficial. It has to be to have discussed 50 religious ideas of the major religions in 205 pages. One can write almost 700 pages just on the birth of Jesus alone (Raymond Brown, “Birth of the Messiah”). One is therefore likely to find descriptions or comments that needs explanation and elaboration, but bearing in mind that the intention of the editors and the author was clearly to provide a sampling of some of the major ideas of and about the main religions this is a very helpful and enjoyable book to read. Some, such as Mormons, Christian Scientists, and Quakers may object to their religion classified as a “sect or cult” – but on reading the actual description, the author was not at all offensive. I set out the passage on “Quakers” as an illustration: “George Fox (1624-91), an apprentice shoemaker from Leicestershire, founded the society of friends (better known as the Quakers) in 1652, after he despaired of finding God in any existing denomination. His new movement was an association rather than a church, and was dedicated to revealing an inner truth or light. The society has no ministers and no sacraments. Meetings are conducted largely in prayerful silence, with participants ‘waitng upon God’ and speaking only when prompted by the Holy Spirit. Quakers are notable for their work for social justice, especially in prisons. There are 300,000 members of the movement worldwide.” page 81. The reader, be he an atheist, a Christian, a Hindu or a Muslim, if he is open-minded, will find something of some religions about which he might hitherto have been ignorant. Hence, this is not the book for the comparative religious scholar, but to the lay person it is a very informative book.

⭐Part of the 50 Ideas You Really Need to Know series, “50 Ideas You Really Need to Know Religion,” is a great place to start to find out general big ideas that you should know about religion. Each idea is given four pages, with enough detail to pique your interest. The book also dispels some myths about various religions. This is a great place to start if you are looking to learn about various religious beliefs held by peoples around the globe.

⭐I bought this book as part of a wider interest in anthropology and religious practices in particular. It provides the reader with a simple format, coverage of the major elements of most of the world’s major belief-systems and a broad-brush, fundamental exposure to the diverse religious beliefs in the world. I’d recommend it particularly for those who want an easily-read introduction into the whole topic of religion and religious practice.Follow the path of Descartes, when he advises “if you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things”. Baruch Spinoza eloquently condemns the people who claim to know who or what God is when he tells us; “Those who wish to seek out the cause of miracles, and to understand the things of nature as philosophers, and not to stare at them in astonishment like fools, are soon considered heretical and impious, and proclaimed as such by those whom the mob adores as the interpreters of nature and the Gods. For these men know that once ignorance is put aside, that wonderment would be taken away which is the only means by which their authority is preserved”.

⭐I have read quite a lot on the history of philosophy but lacked an adequate perception of the differences between the world’s religion, sects and cults. What I liked about this book was that it covered all of the world’s religions in a succinct and mainly objective way. It gave enough information to provide an introduction or insight to each but not enough to sate one’s thirst for more knowledge on the topic. I found it quite enlightening that atheism was included in a book on religion when it is clearly a construct delving into the absence of belief in such. Just like all of the 50 idea series, I found the book was well written, thoroughly readable and provided a great introduction to the topic. It does exactly what it sets out to do and is an excellent primer to those that set out to search for a deeper understanding of the world’s various faiths.

⭐No religion within this book is touched on in any detail which is to be expected as so many religions are covered… Each chapter consists of a few pages which are filled with lots of very brief interesting facts and information but nothing of any depth… For those that are curious about different religions and have no idea about them then this book will give them a very brief rundown of all of the main & quite a lot of the lesser-known ones… As an introduction to other religions this book serves as a good/basic starting point.

⭐This is a very useful and readable comparative guide to all the major and most of the minor religions in the world. It looks at their basic tenets and characteristics, their holy texts and their outline development, and different trends and factions within them. What really emerges is that most religions have very similar basic core messages rejecting materialism and, at heart, the expressed desire to treat one’s fellow man decently. This is well worth a read for anyone, whatever their personal views, who is interested in the ways in which different societies, cultures and sub cultures see the world and see each other. 5/5

⭐It’s often difficult to get handle on some of the ideas theology graduates take for granted, without doing a theology degree of your own. This little work goes a long way towards that, explaining clearly and simply some fundamental concepts you can hang your own ideas around religion on.


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