Cover image for What is religion? : an introduction
What is religion? : an introduction
Haught, John F.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Paulist Press, [1990]

Physical Description:
273 pages ; 23 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BL48 .H365 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
BL48 .H365 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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Surveys the history of religion, identifies four ways of being religious, and discusses secularism, skepticism, nihilism and humanism.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

With an ecumenical sensitivity, Haught examines those elements common to the major religions and to religion generally. In language accessible to the lay reader, Haught first looks at the many ways in which religion has manifested itself by considering what he perceives as the four key elements of all religions: sacramentalism, mysticism, silence, and activism. He then discusses the value of religion and also considers the aims of religion, which he sees as reassurance, mystery, adventure, and morality, and the various challenges to religion: secularism, skepticism, and nihilism. Haught is familiar enough with all the major traditions so that he is able to make cogent comparisons, offering a good deal of basic information.--Augustine J. Curley, Newark Abbey, N.J. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Described as "a clear-eyed survey of the religious dynamic that has surfaced among many people at many times," this thoroughly structured treatment addresses a global question for "college students. . . {{and}} other interested readers." Four ways of "doing religion" classify "early religion" as symbolic and sacramental, Hinduism as mystical, Buddhism as silence, and prophetic religion {{Judaism and Christianity, with some notice of Islam}} as action, full expression of religion requiring all four ways. The author is more at home with prophetic traditions than with Buddhism, where the treatment reads like an elementary textbook. Less well-defined traditions, so significant in our day, receive scanty treatment or none. This reviewer misses any reference, even in the extensive bibliography, to the dynamic goddess, whether in classical Hinduism or in modern Wicca, although there is a brief bow to women as symbols of fertility, and as those "who have kept religion alive and insured its transmission." The book abounds in broad generalizations with little specific support, and although it can provide some interesting reading, its use as a college textbook is decidedly limited. -H. M. Buck, Wilson College