THE MANY FACES OF FAITH: A Guide to World Religions and Christian Traditions

Richard R. Losch, Author . Eerdmans $19 (200p) ISBN 978-0-8028-3910-7

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 Jehovah's 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 His chapter on Mormonism contains outdated information (the religion has 11 million members, not eight million, and 106 temples, not two dozen) and some outright errors.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 Losch's 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.)

Reviewed on: 07/30/2001
Release date: 08/01/2001
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Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-8028-0521-8
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