[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0664238378″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WQeR9vxJL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”107″]Page 2: J. Philip Wogaman -What Christians Can Learn …
I appreciate the uniqueness of including atheism as a world religion in this text. Though atheists wouldn’t think of atheism as a religion, Wogaman includes it working with the idea that it is a dominant operating system. Including atheism in this study encourages Christians to accept our moral and intellectual responsibility to be honest about our faith.
At first glance, this book could easily be pegged as an evangelistic tool. However, this is about having a more authentic dialogue with those representing other faiths and learning to find truth in these. I think entering the dialogue between Christians and non-Christians must be done in humility, letting down defenses that your own religion is the supreme religion.
I stand behind the words of Philip Wogaman, though I see some potential challenges to his method. If we aren’t careful about how we say what we can learn from other religions, we risk saying that our religion is better. If both sides are thinking the same thing, “What must I do to convert so-and-so?” then the dialogue is unfair. I do appreciate Wogaman, however, for how he discussed each of these religions, and for even including a chapter on what other religions might learn from Christianity.
This resource would nicely complement standard world religions textbooks. The chapters are short enough that students would need not be overwhelmed with its addition. Professors may wish to preview this book to help undergraduates study world religions without fear of “converting” over to the other side during a semester-length study. I also see this insightful resource’s potential with small groups or Sunday school classes. They may find this accessible 120-page book as a starting point of class discussions. As someone with experience teaching a Sunday school class on world religions, a resource like this would have helped that class go much smoother!
Although this would be an excellent resource for education, I think Wogaman’s intentions go beyond the classroom. He wants us to go out unafraid and simply talk to those of other faiths. As I already mentioned, I was impressed with the number of endorsements for this book by non-Christian religious leaders. J. Philip Wogaman clearly has developed meaningful relationships with these individuals, and I suggest that we imitate this author-practitioner in our own lives.
C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com