Book Report: So What’s the Difference by Fritz Ridenour (1967)

Book coverThis book is a basic survey of religions other than Protestant Christianity and how their tenets relate to the Bible and Christianity. As a Protestant-centered book, each chapter gives a brief overview of the other religion and identifies where the other religion differs from the Protestant Christian worldview and with the Bible. It’s written for a Christian audience to give them insight into why the other religions fall short.

Strangely enough (or maybe not), the book spends three chapters on Catholicism, probably because the similarity to Protestantism is so much relative to the other religions that the inquiring Protestant might not think the differences are a big deal. Au contraire, this book argues. The book includes a history of the church, a bit of the divergent beliefs that led to Martin Luther’s theses, and a whole chapter on why you would not want to marry a Catholic (basically because there used to be a contract at some point that practicing Catholics had to present to non-Catholics ensuring that all religious training in the house had to be Catholic under the penalty of excommunication and worse). I think the book focuses a little too much on this and tying American Catholics to the yoke of Rome, but it takes its faith more seriously than most churchgoers and Catholics.

It’s by no means a collection of Christian apologetics, but instead operates a priori from there to provide a summary and comparison. Interesting and educational in the sense both of an overview of what the other religions think and what evangelical Christians are to make of them according to Fritz Ridenour.

I understand the later edition has 20 different religions, cults, or chapters in it. The world of religion in the United States has diversified quite a bit since 1967.

Books mentioned in this review: