Why I am a Believer

Why I am a Believer

Product ID: 25658

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Author: Arvind Sharma
Translator(s)/ Editors(s): Arvind Sharma
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 2009
Language: English
Pages: 378
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9780143066873


In this collection of nine essays, prominent scholars share their experiences as followers of their religions, touching on such basic questions as why people believe and why they do not, how beliefs are affected by encounters with other traditions, and is it possible to be at home in two or more traditions? The outcome is revealing.

Nun Karma Lekshe Tsomo, born Christian, embraces Buddhism for its philosophy of cognition and its values of compassion and equanimity that provide guidelines in everyday contexts. Amir Hussain discovers the dialogic possibilities between Islam and Christianity, even as Harvey Cox considers Jesus’s Kingdom of God as being a reality-beyond-religion. Contemplative practices in Daoism draw Bede Bidlack closer to Christ, while for Vincent Shen, Western philosophy and being Christian deepen his understanding of Confucianism.

Content within the tradition, Arvind Sharma finds Hinduism’s persisting appeal in its ‘civilization creativity’. Likewise, the ritual fasting to death in Jainism, underlining its asceticism, appeals to Sandhya Jain. While encountering Islam through marriage, Kartar Singh Duggal extols Sikh Gurus as Supreme. Jacob Neusner passionately tells of being one of the Israel, the holy people in search for meaning in history, for whom the Torah is all.

While celebrating their own faiths, these scholars appreciate how encounters with other traditions have enriched their beliefs. The contributions affirm that a plural perspective is the alternative to exclusiveness and is the path to the meaningful pursuit of religion in our troubled times.


My book on Why Religion Matters serves a purpose, but it is abstract. This book is concrete by virtue of letting adherents of nine great faiths tell the reader in their own words why their religion matters to them. It thereby becomes a living testament of the way their respective faiths shape and inspire their own lives. This book means a lot to me and I strongly recommend it to the general Public.
- Huston Smith, pre-eminent public scholar of religion worldwide and author of the best-seller The World’s Religions.

This book is inspiring, impressive, authoritatively written and rich in detail. I am sure it will build bridges among people of different faiths. It deserves to have a very wide readership.
- Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, noted Islamic scholar

Religion remains one of the major elements in human civilization, along with the growth of technology and globalization. In this book, Professor Arvind Sharma has brought together a series of articles o the major religions of the world, written by scholars who provide thought-provoking perspectives into contemporary religious studies. I m sure the book will be of interest to a wide spectrum of students and practitioners of religions.
- Dr Karan Singh

This is a fascinating collection of statements by adherents of nine religions, discussing frankly the strengths and weaknesses of their own faith, and why they remain within it in an age when we are all aware of the other world religions. Each is interesting in its own right, and together they illuminate the global religious situation in a new and thought-provoking way. I strongly recommend it.
- John Hick, Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Research in Arts and Social Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK



1. Why be a Hindu?
2. Being Buddhist
3. Why I am a Jaina
4. Why I am a Believer
5. Enjoy in the Breeze of spring – Living in the Confucian Tradition
6. Daoism Today: Ancient craft in the Modern Age
7. Analysis and Appreciation: The case of Judaism
8. Why I am still a Christian
9. Why I am a Muslim

Notes on Contributors