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Welcome to the Understanding World Religions Website which contians many free open educational resources on religion
About Articles Audio Books Courses Internet Journals Methods News Sources Statistics UWR study aids Videos
African anti-Religion Buddhism Chinese Christianity Hindu Islam Japanese Judaism New Religions Sikhism Worldviews

The this website provides basic information about the major world religions. It has three main sections containing open source books that can be downloaded as free pdf files. The first, introduces Irving Hexham's books and several basic works on specific religions. The second contians webpages on specific world religions, anti-religious thought, and worldviews. The third, provides information about Christian history and beliefs as a background to the study other world religions. There is also a small section classic studies of world religions.


Encountering World Religions (25 May 2019) gives a Christian response to other world religions. Your can order it from or

This website also contains links to academic articles, audio presentations, information about world religions courses, internet links, journals, news sources, religion statistic. research methods, study guides, and videos.

Download a free pdf copy of The Concise Dictionary of Religion (1993) provides basic information and technical terms about various world religions.

Encountering World Religions
Hear Irving discuss UWR with Canadian radio host Dave Rutherford click here:
Dave Rutherford
Watch Irving discuss the Zulu prophet Isaiah Shembe and the work of Ninian Smart:
Isaiah Shembe Ninian Smart

Now watch some more of his videos on:
Ancestral neo-Paganism lecture given at the German Day's Conference organized by Prof- Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto in 2008 at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis

Africans and the Enlightenment part of a series of talks given at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Calgary, Alberta, 2017.

Tom Paine and the Contemporary Crisis of Faith, talk given at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Calgary, Alberta, 2017.



Concise Dictionary of Religion


Understanding World Religions (2011) is an academic style introductory textbook. You can order it from or

Now download a free pdf copy of Fred Welbourn's classic work Atoms and Ancestors. Permission to use given by Dr. Hebe Welbourn:

Understanidng World Religions
Welbourn Atoms and Ancestors
    Now visit the African religions webpage
  Find out about the interaction between Buddhism and Chinese culture. Read Sinicizing Buddhism order it from or Download a free copy pdf of Edward Conze's Buddhism: Its Essence and Development:
UWR Video Course Sinicizing Buddhism Buddhism Its Essence and Development
Watch some short UWR videos   Now visit the webpages on Buddhism
In 2012 Understanding World Religions won a Christianity Today book award. It has also received some excellent reviews and endorsements by leading scholars.
Download a free pdf copy of Tom Paine's anti-religious classic The Age of Reason:
Download: a free pdf copy of Irving Hexham and Karla Poewe's Understanding Cults and New Religions:
Christiantiy Today Book Award
The Age of Reason Understanding Cults and New Religions


Now visit the anti-religious webpages

Now visit the cults and new religions webpages

Download a free pdf of J.N. Farquhar's The Religious Quest of India on the Hindu tradition:

Download a free pdf copy of Israel Abrahams, Judaism:

Download a free pdf copy of Syed Abul A'Ala Mawdudi's Let Us Be Muslims:

Farquhar The Religious Quest of India Abrahams Judaism Let Us Be Muslims
Now visit the Hindu tradition webpages

Now visit the Judaism webpages

Now visit the Islam webpaged




Read Hasting's Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethicswhich remains a valuable resource:

This website is under construction. Other webpages for specific religions like the Sikhs will be added when time allows.

Hastings Encyc of Religion

Under Construction


world religions image

Now visit the Dictionaries and Encyclopaedias of Religion webpage


  Visit the Vogelstein Press Website  
Vogelstein Press
This website was first created in 2011 as a basic website. It was extensively revised to the extent that it became a new website in 2014. At that time new sections of various world religions, links to classic texts, the sections on worldviews and the extended sections on Christianity were added. All texts and graphics on Understanding World Religions are protected by copyright, 1995, 199, 2011, 2014.Permission to reproduce material found on this Web Site must be obtained from the appropriate copyright owner. World religions graphic by Christopher Tobias from Irving Hexham's Understanding World Religions, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Concise Dictionary of Religion, InterVarsity Press, Carol Stream, 1994.