Q & R: Why not Hinduism?
Here's the Q:
Thank you for writing "Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road?" In it I think you address one of the most important issues of our day. Why did you not include Hinduism, the other of the five major living religions?
Here's the R:
You're right. Christianity in its many diverse forms accounts for about 33% of the world's population, Islam for about 21-24%, and Hinduism comes in next with about 17%. (It is about "tied" with secular or nonreligious at this point in history.) So it is truly important, and I wasn't intending to snub the religion in any way by not including it in the title.
The main reason it's not included is a practical one: there isn't one single historical figure who can be associated with Hinduism as Moses, Jesus, the Buddha, or Muhammed can be associated with Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam.
Second, the main focus of the book, as you know, is Christian identity. It's not an attempt to explain other religions or even assess the state of Christian dialogue with other religions - both of which are topics I'm very interested in. The book's focus is on exploring the roots of religious hostility and violence - both of which are terribly live issues in today's world, as evidenced by this week's headlines.
I'm always grateful for opportunities to interact with Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and other religious believers, as well as nonbelievers, over issues of justice, peace, sustainability, and conviviality. At the same time, I'm generally focused on helping Christians deal with the planks in our own eyes, not the splinters in the eyes of others.
So thanks for your question, and for the chance to affirm that no slight was intended. (I had a similar issue with my book A Generous Orthodoxy. Lutherans wondered why they didn't get a chapter like the Methodists, Reformed, Episcopalians, and others did. Similarly - no slight intended!)
By the way, I just learned that the kindle version of "Cross the Road" is on sale at Amazon for $1.99. More information here: