Understanding World Religions introduces students to major worldviews—including Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Native American, and Marxist—through the lens of justice and peace. The second edition has been updated and revised throughout.
After an introduction to key themes in studying world religion, chapters help students explore major traditions today. Each chapter takes a similar approach, examining several dimensions of each tradition—experiential and emotional, social and institutional, narrative or mythic, doctrinal and philosophical, practical and ritual, and ethical and legal. Chapters feature profiles of major peacemakers or groups to bring the traditions to life. Profiles range from Gandhi and Martin Luther King to Thich Nhat Hanh and Dorothy Day. Further chapters explore liberation theologies, active nonviolence, and just war theory.
The second edition features a broader framework than the first edition and includes new material on non-religious ethical norms, Islamophobia, colonial evangelization, religion in China, and an updated examination of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Understanding World Religions remains a powerful introduction to major worldviews with an emphasis on practical connections to peace and justice.