World's Religions w/CD: Worldviews and Contemporary Issues, A Prentice Hall Portfolio Edition (2nd Edition)

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9780131830103: World's Religions w/CD: Worldviews and Contemporary Issues, A Prentice Hall Portfolio Edition (2nd Edition)
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This descriptive introduction to the world's religions provides an orientation to the study of religion, surveys the history of each of the major world religions, discusses the ways these religions respond to contemporary ethical issues, and reflects the future of religions in the 21st century. By providing worldviews of: indigenous religions (with case studies from Africa and North America), the religions of South and Southeast Asia (Hinduism, Theravada Buddhism, Jainism), religions of East Asia (Daoism, Confucianism, Mahayana Buddhism [Pure Land, Zen, Tibetan], Shinto), religions of the Middle East and beyond (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism); and representative new religious movements (The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness), The World's Religions presents a sympathetic perspective for each. Attention to religious responses to contemporary ethical issues (the ecological crisis, global economics, war, capital punishment, abortion, euthanasia, gender, and sexual orientation) places the religions in a twenty-first century context. Because it attempts to describe how religions answer basic human questions, this authoritative, lively, and informative book is an excellent introduction to the study of religions for any interested reader.

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From the Back Cover:

William A. Young employs a set of engaging, essential questions to draw students into a concise, contemporary study of the world's religions. Coverage includes major religions, as well as indigenous religions and new religious movements, providing basic history and worldviews of each. Unlike other leading texts on the market, Young devotes an entire section to twenty-first century ethical concerns—ecology, economics, war, capital punishment, abortion, euthanasia, gender, and sexual orientation—describing in a balanced manner how world religions understand and address these issues.

FREE! BOUND INTO EVERY NEW COPY of The World's Religions is The Sacred World: Encounters with the World's Religions, Prentice Hall's new student tutorial on CD-ROM for world religion. Containing over 60 video segments on nine of the world's leading religions, it vividly illustrates key rituals and beliefs. Also included are a glossary of terms and self-assessment questions on the web tied directly to The Sacred World, to help improve student comprehension. The Sacred World brings the color, sound, and beauty of the world's religions right to students ...no matter where in the world they are!

ALSO FREE! AND BUNDLED WITH EVERY NEW COPY of The World's Religions is Prentice Hall's exclusive TIME Special Edition: World Religions. Recent articles and essays on the world's major religions bring currency to students' study of religion. Articles are highlighted at the end of chapters.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

In nearly three decades of teaching college courses on the world's religions, I have found that students most want to know how religions answer basic human questions such as "Why are we here?" and "What happens after death?" In addition, they wish to learn how religions respond to contemporary ethical issues such as the ecological crisis, economic justice, war, capital punishment, abortion, euthanasia, gender equality, and sexual orientation. They also request an accessible overview of the history and development of religions and their worldviews.

Informed by my students' interests and questions, I have attempted to write a "reader-friendly" introduction to the world's religions, intended for use in classroom surveys, as well as for general readers. It focuses on the basic histories, worldviews, and responses to contemporary ethical issues of the world's religions.

This second edition reorganizes the structure of the book, allowing students to more effectively explore, as well as compare and contrast, religious worldviews and religious responses to some of the most critical issues of the twenty-first century. It also thoroughly updates the surveys of the religions, adding reflections on the status of each religion as the new century begins, and makes current the discussion of ethical issues. Finally, it adds study aids requested by students, including lists of important terms and phrases, and Web sites useful for further study.

Chapter One establishes a framework for understanding religion, with a definition that both distinguishes religion from other human phenomena and structures the analysis of religion. This edition explores more fully the various established methods for studying religion, and clarifies the approach taken in this text. It also discusses general questions, such as "Why are people religious?" and "What is the relationship between religion and science?"

Chapters Two through Thirteen provide an overview of the histories, sacred texts, and worldviews of the major religions of the world. The worldviews are presented using the framework introduced in Chapter One, allowing students to develop their own comparisons. The religions surveyed include indigenous religions (with the religions of the Yoruba of West Africa and Oglala Lakota of the northern great plains of North America as examples); religions of South Asia (Hinduism, Theravada Buddhism, and Jainism); religions of East Asia (Daoism, Confucianism, Mahayana Buddhism, Shinto); and religions of the Middle East and beyond (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Sikhism).

Chapter Fourteen focuses on a representative sampling of new religious movements. This edition reorganizes the discussion, in terms of the following distinguishing themes evident in these religions:

  • Preparing for the End: Apocalyptic New Religious Movements
  • Faith and Spirit: New Religious Movements of Healing and Awareness
  • Reviving the Church: Christian New Religious Movements of Renewal
  • Nature and Spirit: Earth-based and Ecological New Religious Movements
  • Liberation and Enlightenment: New Religious Movements with Asian Roots
  • African-American and Afro-Caribbean New Religious Movements
  • Native American New Religious Movements
  • Focusing on the Human and the Natural: Secular New Religious Movements
  • The Quest for Unity: Universalist New Religious Movements

The chapter updates the treatment of new religious movements, and adds descriptions of several that have become prominent since the publication of the first edition in 1995: Aum Shinryko, International Raelian Religion, and Falun Gong.

Chapters Fifteen through Eighteen present in an updated manner the responses of the world's major religions and selected new religious movements to the following critically important twenty-first-century ethical issues:

  • The Ecological Crisis: Is the Balance of Life on Planet Earth in Jeopardy?
  • The Economic Crisis: Why Hunger and Abject Poverty in a World of Plenty?
  • War: When, If Ever, Is War Justified?
  • Capital Punishment: When May the State Take a Criminal's Life?
  • Abortion: Right to Life or Right to Choose?
  • Euthanasia: A "Good Death" or "Playing God"?
  • The Changing Roles of Women: Liberation or Confusion?
  • Homosexuality: Orientation, Preference, or Perversion?

The final chapter of the book looks to the future, raising questions of how the religions of the world may relate to one another in the twenty-first century, and whether they will find common ground in addressing ethical issues such as the ecological crisis. Anew feature of this edition is a reflection on the challenges posed to the world's religions and religious people by the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

Study aids at the end of each chapter include a summary, a list of important terms and phrases, questions for discussion and reflection, and sources and suggestions for further study (including Web sites).

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