Curious readers enjoy collecting books about other cultures and faith traditions due to their intense interest in learning about the world around them. Over time, it's easy to own a small library of books on human spirituality and religious traditions--especially if you shop at quality used bookstores that carry such titles.
Books that discuss and describe the customs, beliefs and histories of other people and their faiths can help you develop in three key ways:
Understanding diverse cultures builds work relationships
In a global marketplace, you meet and do business with people from all over the world, but if you've been raised in one dominant religious culture, their habits or ideas may seem strange or unsettling to you. Reading about the specific religious cultures of your employee, co-worker or boss is a great way to bridge the unknown by helping you understand why they do the things they do.
Of course, you never want to bring up religion in a workplace setting if it's not affecting anyone's performance, but it's certainly okay in an after-hours or social setting to ask about books your staff, management or colleagues recommend to help you learn more about their faith and religious practices.
Religious studies help you understand world events
Some people fear that reading about other religious traditions will somehow "weaken" their own faith. In fact, learning about the history and formation of the various world religions can help you make more sense of a struggling planet.
You don't have to adopt a belief system simply to study how and why that specific denomination or religious culture formed, who the founders were, and what major events shaped its development. Studying these facts helps you compare other religions to your own, of course, but also helps you understand why certain groups of people may be calling for war, crying for justice or heavily influencing politics in another region of the world.
The more you know, the more you can relate to friends and loved ones
When you understand where another person's ideas originate, you can then understand why they dress, socialize, or dine in a certain way. The more you know, the more you are able to accommodate people with diverse customs and beliefs when they enter your life.
You may have abandoned the religion of your parents, but it will be beneficial to you to read about why your grandmother or other relative performs certain spiritual rituals. This enlightenment helps you show both tolerance and respect toward your family even when you don't agree with their faith yourself.
The same holds true with friends and significant others. Find books that teach you about their chosen faiths so you can be a better friend and partner. You may not want to join their house of worship yourself, but you will understand their sacred days and core beliefs. They will feel thankful that you care enough to understand their personal belief systems.
Shop around and find books from diverse sources. If a book is too complicated or academic, don't be afraid to set it down and find an easier introduction to the faith you're studying. There are numerous volumes written that discuss a variety of religions in each book. One of these comparative-religious-studies books can provide a great overview and launch platform to delve deeper into the subject of human religious traditions. You may even be inspired to take a course to discover more about religious diversity.