Download a court of wings and ruin

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Mankind’s Search for God by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society

When I picked this book up in a (used) book store and noted that publisher was the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, I had a vague notion of the import. Then I figured it out concretely - this is an official survey of the worlds religions by the Jehovahs Witnesses church - and my hopes for an objective piece evaporated. Oh, well, I thought, might as well see what it has to say....

And it has a lot to say. Its actually a pretty good survey of the worlds major religions with some but not too much partisan commentary for most of the book. Its treatments of the histories and beliefs of the major religions of the world - the major thrusts of Christendom (pre- and post-Reformation), Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.) - is informative and helpful if not particularly deep (which is actually what I was looking for in buying the book). There are a number of comments interwoven in the book to remind you that its not an objective treatment of the subject (as in describing some religions as being based on mythology, others as apostate, etc.), but, on the whole, it serves its purpose well.

Until the final three or four chapters of the book, at which point its sectarian viewpoint becomes pronounced. This part can be skipped if youre not interested in the JWs idiosyncratic views (on the rest of us), except for a helpful chapter delineating their own beliefs. Otherwise, the characterizations of other religions as untrue and or reflections of the Devils work or the professed expectation that the end of days is near or the proof of the truth of the Bible over science grate. (And Im a fervent believer, you should know.) Of course, it was written almost twenty years ago, so maybe some of this would be cleaned up in a more modern version, but probably not. Its in the narrowness of view that disappoints most, the tendency to demean as it contrasts that is as unhelpful as it is offputting.

If what youre looking for is a good survey of the worlds major religions and you can look beyond the unfortunately parochial commentary interspersed intermittently, then this book will be helpful, until the last quarter (at which point it will descend into the same sectarian sparring that is so disappointing in the world and religion generally).

[To put this in perspective, Ive given it three stars based on the value of its survey content, but left off the final two stars because of its parochialism. Were it to be made more objective, it would warrant the five star rating.:]
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Published 27.12.2018

A Court of Wings and Ruin audiobook (Chapter 1 till 9)

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Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society

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