The spiritual world we live in today is a diverse and sometimes highly individual mix of religious practices and beliefs. The physical world is a much smaller place, often secular in appearance but still very much fueled by religious beliefs and conflict in the name of God. The Handy Religion Answer Book provides solid descriptions of major beliefs and rituals worldwide, affording the reader an understanding of contemporary religion. Clearly and eloquently written by a scholar with 30 years of study and teaching experience, Handy Religion is an easy-to-use comparative guide for anyone seeking basic religious literacy and intellectual history. The Handy Religion Answer Book looks specifically at the world’s religious traditions that trace their origins to the Middle East (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), South East Asia (Buddhism, Hinduism), and East Asia (Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto). Is there such a thing as a Muslim saint? What is the significance of the Star of David? How did so many different Christian churches come into being? What is the importance of the month of Ramadan? Do Hindus really believe in and worship many gods? Who was the Buddha and what does tradition say about his early life? Dr. John Renard examines each religion for history and sources, religious beliefs, signs and symbols, membership, community, diversity, leadership, authority, organization, personalities, and powers, holidays and regular observances, and customs and rituals. Handy Religion includes 125 illustrations, suggestions for further reading, and a global timeline of the history of religion.