Providing comprehensive coverage, WAYS TO THE CENTER: AN INTRODUCTION TO WORLD RELIGIONS, FIFTH EDITION, weaves together rich historical, cultural, and theological detail into structural and philosophical sections that analyze each religion in terms of its views on nature, society, self and ultimate reality. The text is designed to facilitate critical thinking and is centered on how today's students learn.
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Table of Contents
Preface. 1. WHAT IS RELIGION? Definition of Religion. Religion Versus Science? Religion Versus Other Values. Components of Religion. God or Gods? Religion Versus Government. Sacred Writings. Religious Roles. Scholarly Approaches. 2. TRIBAL RELIGIONS. Earliest Religion. Common Themes in Tribal Religion. The Sacred. The Profane. Animism. Taboo. Rites of Passage. Sacrifice. Magic. Exorcism. Healing. Divination. Creation Myths. Tricksters. Totems. The High God. Afterlife and Ancestors. Megaliths. The Shaman. Australian Aborigines. Inuits (Eskimos). Native Americans. Africans. Southeast Asians and Melanesians. Polynesians. Ainu. Teutons. Celts. 3. RELIGIONS OF ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS. Religious Themes. Mesopotamia. Case Study: Enuma Elish. Case Study: Gilgamesh. Egypt. Iran. New World Civilization. 4. HINDUISM. History. Pre-Vedic India. Vedic India. Case Study: The Isa Upanishad. The Period of Native Challenge. The Period of Reform and Elaboration. Case Study: Stories from the Mahabharata. The Period of Foreign Challenge. Contemporary Hinduism: Popular Religion. Worldview. Nature. Society. Self. Case Study: The Hindu Child. Ultimate Reality. Summary: The Hindu Center. 5. JUDAISM. History. The Biblical Period. Case Study: Jeremiah. Rabbinic Judaism. The Medieval Period. The Modern Period. Case Study: Hasidic Tales. Worldview. Nature. Society. Case Study: Jewish Rituals. Self. Ultimate Reality. Case Study: Jewish Prayer. Summary: The Jewish Center. 6. CHINA AND JAPAN. The History of China. Preaxial Chinese Religion. The Six Schools. Case Study: The Cult of Confucius. The Communist Era. The Chinese Worldview. Nature. Society. Self. Ultimate Reality. Summary: The Chinese Center. The History of Japan. The Ancient-Formative Period. Japan's Modern-Reformative Period. The Japanese Worldview. Nature. Society. Self. Ultimate Reality. Summary: The Japanese Center. 7. GREEK AND HELLENISTIC RELIGION. History. The Earliest Religion. The Olympian Pantheon. Oracles and Divination. The Older Mystery Cults. Philosophy. The Hellenistic Mystery Cults. Worldview. Nature and Ultimate Reality. Society. Women. Self. Summary: The Greek and Hellenistic Center. 8. BUDDHISM. History. Overview. The Buddha. The Dharma (Buddhist Doctrine). Early Buddhism. Case Study: Theravada. Mahayana. Case Study: The Diamond Sutra. Tantrism. The Demise of Indian Buddhism. Buddhism in China. Buddhism in Japan. Contemporary Buddhist Rituals. Worldview. Nature. Society. Self. Ultimate Reality. Case Study: Nagarjuna. Summary: The Buddhist Center. 9. CHRISTIANITY. History. Jesus. Case Study: Jesus'' Parables. The Early Centuries. The Conciliar Age. Eastern Orthodox Churches. The Medieval Period. The Period of Reform. Worldview. Nature. Society. Self. Ultimate Reality. Summary: The Christian Center. 10. ISLAM. History. Muhammad. Qur''anic Religion. The Age of Conquest. Case Study: Mary. The Golden Civilization. Case Study: Architecture and Poetry. The Period of Division. Late Empire and Modernity. Case Study: Lessons from Recent Iran. Worldview. Nature. Society. Self. Case Study: Islamic Rituals. Case Study: Muslim Saints. Ultimate Reality. Summary: The Muslim Center. 11. MODERN TIMES. Enlightenment. Demythologization. Modern Science. Liberalism. The U.S. Situation. Marxism. Existentialism. Worldview. Nature and Divinity in Humanistic Perspective. Society and Self in Humanistic Perspective. Summary: The Humanistic Center. Responses to Secularism. The Great Awakening and the Great Revival. Pentecostalism. Christian Science. Apocalypticism. Jehovah's Witnesses. Seventh Day Adventists. Communistic Societies. Mormonism. Evangelicalism. Ecumenism. Cults. Unity and Diversity. ANSWERS TO CROSSWORD PUZZLES. GLOSSARY. ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY. INDEX.