Read more about Six Ways of Being Religious

Six Ways of Being Religious

(7 reviews)

Dale Cannon, Western Oregon University

Copyright Year: 1996

Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing Company

Language: English

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Reviewed by Kate DeConinck, Teaching Professor, University of San Diego on 5/2/21

This text is a very useful option for instructors who are teaching a theme-based course introducing students to the study of religion. As noted by the author in the introduction, it is not meant to align with a standard world religions course in... read more

Reviewed by James Sharp, Adjunct professor; religion and philosophy, Colorado State University - Pueblo on 12/24/19

In Six Ways of Being Religious, Dale Cannon argues that the study of religion needs to account not only for the wide diversity of religious beliefs themselves, but also the range of ways in which people conceive of their own religiosity. Cannon... read more

Reviewed by Candida Madrigal, Assistant Professor, Kuztown University on 5/17/19, updated 11/9/20

Dale Cannon presents and introductory textbook that can be used by students who are exploring the topic of religion, especially, the process of comparing different religions. The work is divided in 3 parts. Part I focuses on the 6 ways of being... read more

Reviewed by Nichols Michael, Academic Dean - Saint Joseph's College, Marian University on 2/20/19

It is difficult to provide a truly comprehensive introduction to the ways of being religious, but this text does an admirable job, limiting its scope (for instance, focusing primarily on Christianity and Buddhism) when necessary and providing a... read more

Reviewed by Emily Kahm, Teaching Fellow in Religion, Augustana College on 1/6/19

The text is very comprehensive in its exploration of the six-part theory of the functions of religion; it then goes on to demonstrate how this theory operates using Christianity and Buddhism as case studies. Because the book uses only these two... read more

Reviewed by Hong Qu, Community faculty, Metropolitan State University on 8/2/18

This is a very good textbook to introduce world religions to the students from a comprehensively comparative approach. The author divided the contents into three parts: Part I focuses on the theoretical framework, in which he discussed the 6 ways... read more

Reviewed by Benjamin Nickodemus, Part-Time Professor of Theology, Concordia University, Portland on 5/21/18

This is an introductory textbook for students who are first exploring the phenomenology of religion, most notably those who are beginning the process of comparative religion. Cannon’s approach to the six ways of being religion is a helpful tool... read more

Table of Contents

Part I Generic Ways Of Being Religious

  • Chapter 1 General Introduction
  • Chapter 2 Thinking Generically About Religion
  • Chapter 3 Different Ways Of Being Religious
  • Chapter 4 The Ways Of Being Religious Exemplified
  • Chapter 5 Variations In Quality Of Practice Of The Ways
  • Chapter 6 Using The Framework

Part II Applying The Framework To A Comparison Of Whole Traditions

  • Chapter 7 Applying The Framework To The Whole Of Buddhism
  • Chapter 8 Applying The Framework To The Whole Of Christianity

Part III Applying The Framework To A Comparison Of Parallel Ways In Different Traditions

  • Chapter 9 The Way Of Mystical Quest
  • Chapter 10 The Way Of Reasoned Inquiry
  • Chapter 11 The Way Of Right Action
  • Chapter 12 The Way Of Devotion
  • Chapter 13 The Way Of Shamanic Mediation
  • Chapter 14 The Way Of Sacred Rite
  • Chapter 15 Concluding Reflections: Comparing Buddhism And Christianity By Means Of The Framework

Glossary Of TermsIndex Of Subjects And NamesIndex Of Religious Traditions


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  • About the Book

    The book proposes the hypothesis that six generic ways of being religious may be found in any large-scale religious tradition such as Christianity or Buddhism or Islam or Hinduism: sacred rite, right action, devotion, shamanic mediation, mystical quest, and reasoned inquiry. These are recurrent ways in which, socially and individually, devout members of these traditions take up and appropriate their stories and symbols in order to draw near to, and come into right relationship with, what the traditions attest to be the ultimate reality.

    About the Contributors


    Dale Cannon is a retired professor of philosophy and religious studies at Western Oregon University.

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