New Internationalist books and publications

Reviews

'Balanced, refreshingly honest and relevant for anyone trying to explore the place of religion in today's society. This book is an invaluable resource... thoroughly recommended to interested teenagers and adults alike.'
James D Holt, RE Today

Highly recommended. It is a valuable introduction to varied perspectives, insights, and interactions between religions and political, economic, social and cultural questions.
John Haslam, Ludlow

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"There is a good section on how liberation theology has inspired social change, particularly in Latin America. There are powerful ideasas to how religion is linked both positively and negatively to political action in this book. The section on war and non-violence including direct action is especially strong. I particularly enjoyed the references to the Sufis, the mystically- inclined Muslims whose often ignored message is so subversive and gentle. For those with a faith or none, this is a must- read book." - Derek Wall, Green World, Autumn 2010.

"[Symon Hill] writes of how religion actually functions in society - as an instrument of resistance and liberation; of the aspirations and limitations of religious freedom; and of the link between religion and violence. Here his Quaker convictions appear, but honorably so; this does not pretend to be uncommitted writing, though it is always willing to reflect the strengths of the opposition. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to any believer who wants to think seriously about how to hold their faith in a complicated world - and to any unbeliever who is willing to question the caricature of religion presented by too many writers on the subject today." - Reverend Mark Woods, The Baptist Times.

"In eight engaging chapters, Hill squashes some of the Dawkins-generation myths about religion, without proselytising. He describes the world's main types of religion and discusses what's meant by 'truth' in the context of religion, before looking in more depth at power, oppression, resistance and liberation and the role religion plays and has played in relation to these. 'The No-Nonsense Guide to Religion' is accessible in style, without shying away from tough subject matter. It's engaging and interesting; more thought-provoking than one might expect from such a slim volume." - Amazon 5-Star Customer Review.

"I don't actually like the word 'religion' very much, just too much 'baggage' associated with it. I much prefer to use terms like 'faith', 'belief' and 'spirituality'. But 'religion' as word and concept is out there and widely used, what we have to do is work to re-integrate it in a positive and meaningful way into people's thinking so it won't be dismissed so easily. What is absolutely clear is that Symon Hill's book takes a huge step towards doing exactly that.

In just 128 pages he brings the subject alive in a way that is exciting, intelligent and full of wisdom. How he does this in such a confined space is astonishing, yet he achieves it brilliantly. He does not side-step the huge negative challenges that 'religion' presents and which history illustrates, but he takes us beyond all this to the real heart of faith and spirituality and shows how across the faiths it provides something that is life-giving and enables people to find deep personal meaning and inspires them to acts of goodness and radical change that are of huge significance in the human story.

The book has an energy about it that is compelling and it is filled with little cameo's of human experience and passion, and also reflection, from across the faiths that make it not only live but show how relevant it is to life today. I think this book should be widely read and discussed within and between schools and faith communities, it is the perfect 'starter' for just such conversations and dialogues. Everything is excellently referenced so that you can pursue topics of interest in greater depth. This book is quite simply brilliant! - Amazon 5-Star Customer Review.

A balanced guide to religion, which analyses the cultural, social and political implications of religion globally. Religion is a term which is often used in the media and public life without any clarification.

However, it is a word that encompasses hundreds of different beliefs. It is a loaded word that has a different meaning for each person. Religion can be seen as a source of war and peace, love and hate, dialogue and narrow-mindedness.

Drawing on a wide range of sources, the No-Nonsense Guide to Religion does not just concentrate on the popular and well-established traditions, which normally over-emphasize powerful figures. It focuses too on the diversity within religions as well as the similarities between them.

The globalization of communications has made more people aware of religious conversion, with more people than ever before belonging to a different religious community from their parents. The No-Nonsense Guide to Religion considers how religion has shaped our culture as well as how our culture is shaping religion today.

About the Author: Symon Hill is associate director of Ekklesia, an independent thinktank that examines the role of religion in public life. He contributes regularly to the Guardian , The Friend and Morning Star and Baptist Times and is associate tutor at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre. He has written and campaigned on issues including religious liberty, the arms trade, social class and sexuality. He lives in London.

Format: Paperback
Dimensions: 180 mm x 110 mm
Page extent: 144
Publication date: 1 March 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1-906523-29-9

Date added: August 25, 2010

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