The World Religions provides an in-depth analysis of the major religions in the world.

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The World Religions
Huston Smith’s book on The World Religions provides an in-depth analysis of the major
religions in the world. In his book, Smith does not create a comparative exploration of the
major religions. Rather, the author describes each religion separately and rarely engages in
comparing one religion to another. This book presents an objective summary of these seven
religions: Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Taoism, Hinduism and Confucianism.
While discussing each religion, Smith shades light into the distinct cultural contexts under
which the religious beliefs came into existence. Throughout the book, the author utilizes a
simple-to-understand language coupled with an organized structure comprising of clear
headings and sub-headings. Succeeding sections of this paper contain a brief summary of the
book’s main contents followed by a critical evaluation and personal reflection on the book’s
main points.
Throughout the book, the author made concerted efforts in describing the position of
God as seen through the eyes of the seven major religions. Apparently, the major world
religions have unique convictions about God. At the beginning of the book, it emerged that
Hinduism is a polytheistic religion. Hindus believe in the existence of multiple gods and
goddesses. However, Islam, Judaism and Christianity are monotheistic religions. These three
religions believe that there is only one Supreme Being, the creator of the universe. On the
other hand, Buddhism shies away from the concept of God. Buddhism is all about a man
named Buddha, commonly referred to as the “Awakened One” (Smith, 1991). Lastly, the
religions of Taoism and Confucianism are more preoccupied with the practical aspects of
human life rather than spiritual aspects (Smith, 1991). Taoism and Confucianism are not
entirely non-theistic; these two religions only make oblique reference to the concept of God.

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From the book, it emerged that each of the world’s major religions has distinct perceptions on
the idea of God.
Besides elaborating the concept of God in each religion, the author also delves deep
into illuminating the main principles that characterize each of the world’s major religions,
especially the intended purpose of the religions in a man’s life. Buddhism advocates for
sound morality, wisdom and meditation. Also, Buddhism upholds the Golden Rule. Hinduism
accepts that man inherently pursues pleasure, and recommends that man should indulge in
pleasure, provided that the indulgence does not harm others (Smith, 1991). Confucianism
advocates for social order and encourages believers to engage in mediation and character
development so as to guard themselves against the influence of bad behaviors like greed and
brutality. Islam, Judaism and Christianity are all Abrahamic religions and each religion
advocate for unconditional belief in one Supreme Being. In the three Abrahamic religions,
God loves the believers and punishes the non-believers, thus, believers are instructed to lead
virtuous lives so as to be spared from their God’s wrath (Smith, 1991). Taoism advocates for
naturalness and moderation, and it is correct to say that there is a profound sense of humility
in Taoism. Taoism discourages believers from engaging in extravagant and pompous ordeals
in their lives.
References
Smith, H. (1991). The World’s Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions. Pittsburg:
HarperCollins Publishers.


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