I grew up on Golden Age Radio, I love to learn about a great many things, and I enjoy a wide variety of genres. Me, bored? Never!
12 lectures on Eastern beliefs, 12 lectures on Western beliefs, and not a moment of them wasted. In addition to the Big 5 (Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), we also get the essentials on Chinese folk religions, Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, Mormonism, Jainism, Sikhism, and the Baha'i tradition. From there, religion and law in America and modern religious trends are discussed as the grand finale.
The information is given in a straightforward manner such that the entire presentation comes across as non-judgmental. The listener is invited by Prof. Berkson to take the basics presented here and build upon that foundation in the quest for knowledge and tolerance. All in all, a remarkable overview course for anyone wanting to look past media, pop culture, and political portrayals.
There is an old saying, "When the student is ready, the master will appear." That's how this book is setup, with the author's teacher showing up to teach a professional bass player how to play music, and that's how this book found its way to me. It was the right message at the right time, and there is simply not enough I can say about it that will sing its praises properly.
There are a great many self-help books out there, just as there are a great many musical instruction books and books on fundamental spirituality. This book is all three at once - a masterpiece in its own right - and so much more. Sometimes for a message that's always been with us to be heard properly is for it to be presented in a new way, providing that shift in focus that clicks everything into place. Being musically inclined, that's precisely what this audiobook did for me.
As a narrator, Wooten is superb. He tells the story in such a way that we are learning right along with him at the feet of a teacher who will show us "nothing." Indeed, that's the whole message of the story, that we already know everything we need to know. From another person, this message might seem unbelievable or completely trite, but Wooten's tale makes you believe it. If I have one regret about this book, it's that it sat in my wish list for far too long... but then, perhaps I wasn't ready for it until now.
The story of religion is the story of humanity, regardless of your own personal views on any given sect. Why and how we believe is every bit as important as what we believe. This book breaks it down, compares, contrasts, and digs into the important philosophical questions and problems that each religion poses as well as how those religions overcome those points. I found myself wanting a paper copy for review purposes of many of these questions. For the serious student of philosophy, this will be a beginner's course, but for the average person, this will launch a deeper quest. The learned of this world past and present seem to be in agreement that the unexamined life is a life not worth living, and faith untested isn't faith at all. This book, in introducing the examinations of the world's major belief systems, encourages the listener to ask such questions of their personal views as well. It's a lot of bang for your buck.