Keith Yandell's Philosophy of Religion is an instalment in the Routledge Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy series. This series is intended to help students transition from introductory to higher level philosophical study. From my perspective the book is a mixed success; it has some clear strength as well as some shortcomings.
With respect to strengths, the scope of the discussion, the criticism of religious pluralism and the handling of Hinduism and Buddhism are noteworthy. First, with regard to scope, often discussions within the philosophy of religion are limited to Western monotheistic traditions for reasons of comfort and applicability (more amenable to rational analysis), Yandell's move beyond this traditional area with the inclusion of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism is helpful.
Second, the debunking of religious pluralism. Not pluralism in the sense that there is a variety of religions - clearly this is the case - but, rather, in the sense that the different religions are compatible. This notion of compatibility is appealing for many commentators - if true, it would seem to allow for greater toleration and acceptance between faith groups and cultures. As Yandell notes, however, beyond trivial assertion such as the denial of physicalism, the different traditions are incompatible. Broadly speaking, religions offer two things, an assessment of the human condition and a recommendation for its rectification. Even considered superficially the problem/solution claims of the different religions appear irreconcilable. For example Christianity posits sin as the problem and divine forgiveness as the cure, while Buddhism frames the problem as a sense of permanence and the solution as awareness of the transitory nature of existence. It would appear that the only way that these traditions can be equally valid is if they are all incorrect - which does seem to be the underlying contention of religious pluralism.
Third, the application of Western rational criticism to the different Eastern tradition raises interesting and important questions. For instance Yandell argues persuasively that Advaita Vedanta (Monistic) Hinduism and Theravada Buddhism are incoherent from a rational perspective. That is, in the Hindu view, how can things that posses a multiplicity of qualities be equivalent to qualityless Braham? While with regard to Buddhism what is to be made of notions such as karma and the wheel of life in the absence of true personhood? If all there is are transitory bundles of non-enduring states, to what does karma accrue, and, what is liberated from the wheel of life? These are important and interesting questions that warrant greater consideration.
With regard to drawbacks, Yandell occasionally slips into an excessively analytic style; this is especially the case when discussing Western Monotheism. While understandable given that the arguments in this area are well rehearsed this approach may strike some readers as unnecessarily pedantic and a bit irksome. I imagine that many readers in the target audience (relatively new undergrads), would find some of this argumentation discouraging and confusing. And last, the text seems to peter out in a rather disjointed manner; a subsequent edition would benefit from a concluding chapter to bring together the text's many threads.
Overall, a good read with some valuable insights. I recommend it for readers seeking a critical and contemporary discussion of the philosophy of religion