Master Books World Religion Curriculum: Faith based Apologetics Guide

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Last Updated on July 5, 2024 by Sarah McCubbin

Christian parents often want to teach their kids about other beliefs but finding solid a world religions curriculum can be a challenge. 

In my experience, there are great resources out there, but they are often too academic for a family in the rhythms of daily life. Curriculum should not require a parent to get an extra degree to use or understand it! 

My own interest in worldview and world religions stems from a class I randomly decided to take in college. On a whim, I signed up for a “Religion and Culture” class and was immersed for 10 short weeks into an intensive overview of all the diverse religious beliefs in the world, from the Jewish and Catholic faith all the way through various mystic religions and of course the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus. As a young conservative Christian, I had been raised in a sheltered home and was mostly unaware of the huge diversity of beliefs in the world. 

My crash course in religions was the beginning of a lifelong interest in what people believe and how that affects the way they live. 

When I had the opportunity to review this set, I was so excited. It is very unlikely that each of my nine kids would take a “Religion and Culture” class in college, but reading these books provides and easy way to integrate world religions into natural conversation. I talk about different religious beliefs with my kids in middle, high school, college and beyond. And this is a great tool for that!

** This is a sponsored post. I received this product or compensation for review purposes only and was compensated for my time. I was not asked nor required to share a positive review; all opinions are my own. READ DISCLAIMER HERE for more information.

Comparative Religions world religion curriculum

What Does Apologetics Mean?

Apologetics is the defense of the Christian faith, derived from the Greek word apologia, meaning “defense” as used in a legal context. Throughout history, each generation has encountered various challenges, questions, and concerns regarding the message of the gospel.

As parents, it is our job to guide our teens and young adults to move beyond Bible stories to understand how things like the Ten Commandments, New Testament and the life of Jesus Christ alongside the teaching in the Bible affect what we actually believe and how we live. At some point, our kid’s faith needs to move beyond Sunday school if it is to become their own. 

​In my experience growing up in a non-denominational church, I was taught the “right” things to believe. So I did. But when my faith was challenged or if someone disagreed, I had a hard time navigating that conversation. I had not wrestled through my faith to own it. I had simply believed what I was taught. Apologetics helps our teens develop a confident faith by helping them actually wrestle with ideas before they have to navigate all the challenges of the real world as an adult. 

World Religions and Cults: Counterfeits of Christianity Books and Curriculum

When doing an overview of religions, you want something that is simple to use but deep enough that it captures the true nuances of what different religions believe and teach. Master Books Comparative Religions: Practical Apologetics for the Real World is a curriculum that does all of that. 

Comparative Religions is a curriculum that uses “World Religions and Cults: Counterfeits of Christianity” as the texts for a comprehensive course designed to provide an in-depth analysis of various world religions and their distinctions from Biblical Christianity. This three-volume series stands out for its detailed comparison and critique of numerous religious systems, positioning itself as a valuable resource for those looking to understand different faiths from a Christian perspective.

This course is written from the perspective of a more non-denominational Biblical Christian perspective. Because Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox branches of Christianity differ in some areas, Volume 1 contrasts these three in depth which is helpful for young people of high school age who are trying to understand the nuances of different Christian beliefs that can lead to very different worldviews. 

2. World Religion Curriculum Overview

Comparative Religions: Practical Apologetics for the Real World includes a set of 3 books and a teacher’s guide that can be used as a curriculum or the books can be enjoyed as stand alone apologetics texts. The books cover religious studies and compare different religions of our world with Christianity to explore the differences in beliefs and worldview. 

The World Religions and Cults books can be purchased individually or bundled together with the Teachers’s guide in a 3 part set that comes with a full color poster with a “tree” of how different denominations came about.

The books are designed for high school grade level or adult use and would be great for discussion in a homeschool co-op or church Sunday school class or Bible study. They could be used with middle school students but reading the full texts would be a lot for that age.

3. Structure and Content

The Teacher’s manual is called: Comparative Religions: Practical Apologetics for the Real World. It includes lesson plans, student pages and tests and quizzes. If a student is taking this class as part of a homeschool co-op or other group, they will need to purchase their own copy of the Teacher’s manual as a student book to access the student pages as copies are only permitted within the family and not for classroom use. 

There are 3 “student” text books in the series:

 The content is organized into units and chapters that systematically address each religion. 

  • Volume 1: Focuses on the foundational differences between Christianity and religions like Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Judaism, and others.
  • Volume 2: Delves into Eastern religions and new age movements, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Paganism.
  • Volume 3: Examines secular and atheistic belief systems such as Atheism, Agnosticism, and Secular Humanism.

4. Pros & Cons of the World Religions & Culture

I think it’s important when you are talking about any apologetics curriculum that there is an underlying understanding that conversations about faith aren’t just a big logic debate. Wrestling with ideas and aligning our understanding with the Bible is actually about developing our personal relationship with the Lord. Any religion program that loses sight of that makes studying the Bible or apologetics just another academic subject. As people made in the image of God, conversations about “religion” are actually about how we can apply truth to our personal experience. 

This curriculum does a great job of personalizing world religions and and wrestles with the ideas of how they are different from the Christian life. Here are the pros and cons of this curriculum that I see.

Pros

  • The curriculum is simple enough to start using with some basic prep. It is very parent and homeschool co-op friendly.
  • It covers 50+ religions and belief systems.
  • It includes a detailed analysis from a Christian perspective, which can strengthen faith-based understanding.
  • It offers a thorough breakdowns of religious doctrines and practices and how those beliefs trickle down and affect human life under those belief patterns.
  • It includes thorough footnotes for further study.

Cons

  • The strong Christian perspective may not appeal to those looking for a more neutral or secular approach. 
  • Some Christians may be offended may be offended if they read that their beliefs are unbiblical in the text.
  • Younger students may struggle with the content if they don’t have a background in learning about different religions.
  • There is a LOT of content in the 3 books.  It’s probably too much for one academic year unless the student(s) are really engaged.
  • The curriculum is inherently critical of other religions as it points out where they have logical fallacies or contradict themselves. Those that don’t like to speak critically may struggle with this content.

Using the Curriculum in a Group or Homeschool Co-op

The course guide titled: Comparative Religions: Practical Apologetics for the Real World, outlines a weekly schedule to cover all three books in one school year.  For individual study, this schedule would probably work just fine.  However, if this curriculum is being used in any kind of group or homeschool co-op, the pacing on the curriculum is too fast. 

Most students (whether teens or adults) are not going to be familiar with the content. So reading about and exploring multiple religions in a week will be a problem if the goal is to actually retain the information. If possible, a better approach would be to spread this course out over two years or to cover some religions in depth with only a brief overview of others.  With a modified approach you would cover only one world religion per week.

Discussion should be included as part of this course. This would be a great one for parents to study alongside their teen or to discuss in a homeschool co-op or church. Discussing religion is a great way to promote critical thinking and also to become aware of some of our own logical fallacies. 

The course teacher’s guide, basically outlines covering this course by covering 2 religions a week. A simple modification would be to cover only 1 religion per week (or 1 religion for every 2 weeks) for the duration of time your class meets. In this way, your group can use this course for any length of time that fits your situation.

Lifelong Discipleship

When I was younger, something that was missing from my own faith journey was the idea that discipleship is a lifelong process. It felt like I was taught the “right” things and that felt neat and tidy. After years of Christian education and a degree at a Christian university, I sort of felt like I knew it all. I like to say that I got all A’s in those Bible classes, so I had an “A in Jesus.” I KNEW the right answers. 

But when I stepped into the real world, there were things that stopped making sense. Those memorized answers didn’t work anymore. I had made a profession of faith when I was young but the lack of discipleship meant that my faith felt weak and unstable. That would lead me and my husband on a 10 year journey of deconstructing our faith…to do the work of understanding what we believed and why with the Bible as our foundation and not the teachings of men. 

That is why Master Books curriculum is so valuable. It offers parents the opportunity to facilitate that conversation now while their children are still at home! 

Sarah McCubbin, founder of Ten Minute Momentum, is dedicated to helping parents confidently parent their kids by teaching life skills, social skills and leadership skills. As a child she was the kid that never quite fit in and is on a mission to help others understand the building blocks we all need to be successful adults. She lives in Ohio with her husband Mike, and 9 kids ranging in age from 5 to 21 where they use homeschool, private school and public schools for their kids education!

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