Living Religions

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  • Edition: 9th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-01-08
  • Publisher: Pearson
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Modern religions in today's changing world

Author Biography

Mary Pat Fisher writes about all religions, not only from academic research, but also from her experiences with religions around the world. Much of her knowledge comes from the unique interfaith community in India, Gobind Sadan, where she has lived since 1991. In addition to eight editions of Living Religions, she has written other textbooks about religions and also about art.

Table of Contents

In this Section:
1) Brief Table of Contents

2) Full Table of Contents





Chapter 1: Religious Responses

Chapter 2: Indigenous Sacred Ways

Chapter 3: Hinduism

Chapter 4: Jainism

Chapter 5: Buddhism

Chapter 6: Daoism and Confucianism

Chapter 7: Shinto

Special Section: Zoroastrianism

Chapter 8: Judaism

Chapter 9: Christianity

Chapter 10: Islam

Chapter 11: Sikhism

Chapter 12: New Religious Movements

Chapter 13: Religion in the Twenty-first Century




Chapter 1: Religious Responses

        Attempts to define religion

        Why are there religions?

        Understandings of Sacred Reality

        Ritual, symbol, and myth

        Absolutist and liberal responses to modernity

        The encounter between science and religion

        Women in religions

        Negative aspects of organized religions

        Lenses for studying religions


Chapter 2: Indigenous Sacred Ways

        Understanding indigenous sacred ways

        Cultural diversity

        The circle of right relationships

        Spiritual specialists

        Group observances


        Development issues


Chapter 3: Hinduism

        Philosophical and metaphysical origins

        Major philosophical systems

        Religious foundations and theistic paths

        The Hindu way of life

        Hinduism in the modern world


Chapter 4: Jainism

        The Tirthankaras and ascetic orders

        Freeing the soul: the ethical pillars

        Spiritual practices

        World Jainism


Chapter 5: Buddhism

        The life and legend of the Buddha

        The Dharma

        Branches of Buddhism

        Buddhism in the West

        Socially engaged Buddhism


Chapter 6: Daoism and Confucianism

        Ancient traditions

        Daoism - the way of nature and immorality

        Confucianism - the practice of the virtue


Chapter 7: Shinto

        The roots of “Shinto”

        Buddhist, Daoist, and Confucian influences

        State Shinto

        “Sect Shinto”

        Shinto today




Chapter 8: Judaism

        A history of the Jewish people


        Sacred practices

        Holy days

        Contemporary Judaism


Chapter 9: Christianity

        Historical evidence

        Evidence of the Bible

        The life and teachings of Jesus

        The early Church

        Church administration

        Intellectual revival and monasticism

        Medieval mysticism

        The Protestant Reformation

        The Roman Catholic Reformation

        Liberal trends

        The Second Vatican Council

        The Orthodox world today

        Central beliefs in contemporary Christianity 

        Sacred practices

        Contemporary trends


Chapter 10: Islam

        Pre-Islamic Arabia

        The Prophet Muhammad

        The Qur’an

        The central teachings

        The Five Pillars

        Sunni and Shi’a


        The spread of Islam

        Relationships with the West

        Muslim resurgence


Chapter 11: Sikhism

        Guru Nanak

        The succession of Gurus

        Central beliefs

        Sacred practices

        Sikhism today


Chapter 12: New Religious Movements

        Social context for new religious movements

        Charismatic leadership

        Offshoots of older religions

        Combinations of older religions


        Social trends

        Opposition to new religious movements

         Will new religious movements last?


Chapter 13: Religion in the Twenty-first Century



        Religious pluralism

        Religion in politics

        Interfaith movement

        Religion and social issues

        Religion and materialism

        Religion and the future of humanity  

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