Featuring 57 easy-to-read articles, each focused on a specific aspect of religious belief or practice, the book demonstrates how varied cultures express the relationship between people and the supernatural world. Readers learn which convictions are worldwide phenomena. For instance, virtually every creed has a form of self-denial to enhance spirituality. Along with aspects of religion, the book offers cross-referenced articles explaining the philosophies, dogma, practices, and origins of 16 religions with a worldwide following. In addition, articles probe explanations for similarities and differences among religious tenets, and many of the entries describe possible reasons for behavior patterns and beliefs. Rounding out the volume is a concise but thorough chronology of world religious concepts, beginning with the emergence of shamanism more than 50,000 years ago, as well as a bibliography and a subject index.
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