What’s the Big Deal About Other Religions provides an introduction to the study of comparative religions through an evangelical Christian lens. Examining Judaism, Islam, Mormonism, Wicca, Buddhism, Taosim, Agnosticism, Atheism and other faiths, the authors contrast them with the core doctrines of faith that is based upon the Bible alone, sola scriptura. Not an ecumenical title by any stretch of the imagination, the authors contrast not only widely divergent belief systems such as Shinto and Hinduism with Christianity, but also other Christian-like faiths such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Roman Catholicism. Indeed, the authors coming from a seemingly Calvinistic perspective nearly decry any with Armenian beliefs as following a false gospel.
Inaccurately marketed, the text on the back cover and introduction is at odds with the main content of the book. When I read the back cover it seemed as though the authors were writing a work on comparative religions for the general public, or the common seeker. Certainly they didn’t hide their Christian faith, it was clear in the brief author descriptions provided, but it was never indicated that the thrust of the book was to compare each religion with biblical Christianity. An unknowing reader might be quite surprised to purchase what they felt was a general overview, and encounter a case for Christianity.
This confusion lingered throughout the first portion of the book. The introduction seemed to indicate that the authors would like to help seekers with their spiritual journeys, and they certainly would! Their ultimate purpose is to illuminate the truth and validity of the gospel – an aim I have no quarrel with – but one that is not clearly illustrated in the beginning. While some spiritual seekers who are already being drawn by God to His Son might be interested in this title, those antagonistic to Christianity will not be likely to enjoy this book, or to seek it out. The Lord would certainly find it good for this book to be read by those who don't know Jesus, but they may be confused by to the constant comparisons of each religion to a biblical perspective. As a result, I feel it would have been a better approach to be clearly up front with the marketing; this is primarily a book for Christians who want to learn about the differences present in other religions so that they can understand and possibly reach these people for Christ. It certainly will not aid those interested in picking their own religion from a menu of choices, the perspective I entertained as a young adult.