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No-Nonsense Guide to Religion (The no-nonsense guide to) [Paperback]

Symon Hill
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Mar 2010 The no-nonsense guide to
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. The globalisation 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. This No-Nonsense Guide considers howreligion has shaped culture.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: NEW INTERNATIONALIST (4 Mar 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906523290
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906523299
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 11.1 x 17.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 768,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Symon Hill is an activist and writer. He has campaigned for religious freedom, same-sex marriage, economic equality and alternatives to war. He is associate director of the Ekklesia thinktank and an associate tutor at the Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre.

Through his training work, Symon has trained hundreds of people in campaigning skills and media activism. He has written for the Guardian, Morning Star, Sunday Herald, Church Times, Third Way, Reform and The Friend.

Symon is a founding member of Christianity Uncut, a Christian-based grassroots network campaigning against the UK government's cuts agenda. In 2012, he was dragged by police from the steps of St Paul's Cathedral as he knelt in prayer during the eviction of Occupy London Stock Exchange. In 2013 he was arrested with four others while peacefully blocking an entrance to the London arms fair. He will face trial in February 2014.

He previously worked for the Campaign Against Arms Trade and was involved in taking the UK government to court in 2007-08 over the cancellation of a criminal investigation into BAE Systems' arms deals with Saudi Arabia. He was nominated as a "Hero of 2007" by the comedian Mark Thomas in the Independent on Sunday.

Symon Hill has long campaigned against corporate tax avoidance. Amazon is a major tax-dodger. Symon therefore encourages you to buy his books through the website of his publisher, New Internationalist (or from a bookshop) rather than from Amazon.

Product Description

About the Author

Symon Hill is a tutor in Practical Theology, a writer, a trainer and an activist. He has written comment pieces for newspapers ranging from the Sunday Herald to the Daily Mail and contributes regularly to the Guardian website, The Friend and Ekklesia.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mustafa's thoughts 9 July 2010
By Edge
As a sceptical reader of books on religion, I'm amazed that Mr Hill has been able to capture the most important issues of Religion in what is a short book for this subject.

With the constraints of space Mr Hill has produced a book that is concise and interesting. It certainly inspires one to read further on the issues that arise within the course of the book.

It will be a shame if this book is not used widely in schools and colleges. I will certainly be using it when introducing specific issues of faith and belief in the interfaith environment that I work in.

I hope that Mr Hill will have the capacity to expand on some of the insights that he has on Religion, in particular his depth of understanding of Islam today.

Please write more!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, illuminating and thoughtful 14 Jun 2010
To discuss a topic that has beguiled, enriched and enraged humanity for tens of thousands of years in 128 (small) pages is quite some feat. To do so as thoroughly and meaningfully as Symon Hill manages in this work is more impressive still.

Hill liberates his topic from the conservatism, conventionality, institutionalism and dreariness that so often attends it, presenting religion as vital, vibrant, colourful and life-changing. He never shies away from the horrors perpetrated in the name of faith, and is acutely aware of its potential as a force for oppression and bigotry; yet here is a work that would surely make even the most sceptical reader approach the subject with a fresh understanding.

Hill echoes Karen Armstrong's approach to notions of truth and rationalism, but he is a better writer than she is; and he imbues this brief book with an urgency and activism, without ever sounding didactic or polemical. A chapter detailing pretty much every world faith, from Christianity to indigenous African religion via Shinto, Zoroastrianism and others, is especially impressive, and its inclusion of secular 'religions' such as extreme nationalism and the North Korean 'Juche' belief system shows how the trappings of ritual and myth can exist wholly independently of any unearthly god.

Some may be unconvinced by a few of Hill's claims, especially as quite a lot are unreferenced; others may dislike the American spellings, the occasional missed comma and the misspelt name of one of Britain's most prominent contemporary theologians (Alister McGrath). I would be surprised, however, if these were all the fault (or policy, in terms of the American spellings) of the writer, and I would be astonished if its few flaws were to undermine seriously anyone's appreciation of the book.

This is how religion should be taught in schools, and how its future should look.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wise and exciting guide to religion 1 Mar 2011
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! Read more ›
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible; engaging; informative 8 Jun 2010
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.
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