by Ronald Enroth, ed.
Ronald Enroth, a sociology professor at Westmont College, edited this volume that is a compilation of writings by experts in diverse religious movements that have emerged from Traditional/Animism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam.
The Beliefs and Appeal of Astral Religion and the New Age, the Baha’i, The Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Latter-Day Saints, The Nation of Islam, Neopaganism, The Unification Church and More.
InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426, 2005, 220 pages, $15.00.
—Reviewed by John F. Easterling, professor of intercultural studies, Northwestern College, Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Ronald Enroth, a sociology professor at Westmont College, edited this volume that is a compilation of writings by experts in diverse religious movements that have emerged from Traditional/Animism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. The authors present the various movements by evaluating each group’s own history and sociology.
The groups of Christian derivation include the nineteenth-century American movements, Latter-Day Saints and Jehovah’s Witnesses and the twentieth-century Korean Unification Church. The universal, all-inclusive Baha’i is addressed, which stands in sharp contrast to the exclusivist, black supremacist movement, The Nation of Islam.
The West has seen the emphasis of spirituality move from its traditional Judeo-Christian roots to include spirituality based on neo-paganism and various traditions of the East. The Dalai Lama is viewed by the West as the epitome of modern spirituality and is regarded as an ideal spiritual man to twenty-first-century seekers.
The informative chapter on Yoga and Hinduism, co-authored by Vishal Mangalwadi and Enroth, shows the relationship between the different forms of yoga exercises and meditations. It also refers to different versions of contemporary Hinduism marketed to the West: Japa Yoga in Hare Krishna, Surat-Shabd Yoga in Divine Light and Tantra Yoga in the defunct Rajneesh community in Oregon.
The chapter on Astral Religion and the New Age marks profound acceptance of these trends in contemporary Western culture as it is daily advanced through the media. This includes cults developed around UFOs and their esoteric UFO eschatologies.
Enroth’s work is timely, up-to-date and useful for Western students of religion in the twenty-first century.
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