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Irene Watson

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Understanding Reality Religion by Hiley H. Ward: Book Review
by Irene Watson   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Thursday, June 05, 2008
Posted: Thursday, June 05, 2008

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As our world continues to grow and change with advances in technology and new forms of entertainment, it seems that religion molds and changes with us. In his new book, "Understanding Reality Religion: A Mind-Opening Look at Good, the Bible, the Church, and Faith." Hiley H. Ward encourages people to take a closer look at the realities of religion and what this means today. Ward takes the reader on his life's journey with religion all the way from his early Baptist childhood to his now independent, realistic approach to God. He even takes time to examine some questions from his childhood that many readers can relate to.

Understanding Reality Religion: A Mind-Opening Look at God, the Bible, the Church, and Faith

Hiley H. Ward
iUniverse (2007)
ISBN 9780595453986
Reviewed by Cherie Fisher for Reader Views (2/08)

This well-written book examines the many aspects of creation and religion and really takes you through the author’s lifetime journey with religion.  He addresses many of the questions that he had since he was very young in this book.  How did it all begin?  What was there before and what will happen when it ends?  How can a good God allow so much evil in the world?  And what he finds at the end of the day is Reality Religion.   

There are many definitions of Reality Religion.  The one that is used by Ward in this book is:  Reality in this book means taking account of the whole situation.  We do not speak of God in doctrinal terms.  “We take the known facts, the record of the Almighty’s goodness and also his terror from the battlefields, genocides and all the wrath of God of Nature, the tsunamis, tornadoes, and floods.  We maintain it is necessary to examine the negative, offensive side of God along with his goodness and mercies in order to better understand his nature and the course of his people.”   
Ward does a good job examining the many faces of God throughout his book.  I especially liked the chapter on “The Many Bibles We Follow: Creating Your Own Scripture.”  The author encourages us to write our own bibles and find God in the everyday things.  He finds God in inspirational readings, the opera and my favorite are his excerpts from his woodland journal where he meditates and observes nature with his dog, July 4.  “For the creatures of the forest, insects and all, every day is a Fourth of July freedom day.  My dog, with a stars and stripes bandana next to his collar, sits panting, also contemplating this thought.  He has restraints, collars and leashes.  But the creatures are totally free.  Free to go about where they will: free to twist and turn, to spin in midair, to see new territory, to reverse their courses.  They neither own nor cede property.  They can seek new shelter, new dreams and new hopes.  They can pray to whomever they want-- to the wood god, the wind god, the leaf god.” (page 80)  

Throughout “Understanding Reality Religion” the author brings in many valid points that encourage the reader to think about God and come up their own definition of God and religion.  This is a very thought-provoking book to read for those of you who are asking questions about God and evaluating religion.

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