This was an interesting time to read this rather fluffy little book that highlights the concepts world religions have in common. It would make you think that common sense and decency are at the heart of every religious tradition. But it feels like these texts were a bit cherry picked, and one wonders whether a) people are actually putting those ideals into practice, or b) whether there should be other chapters discussing where traditions are diametrically opposed. Those factors added to the text would have made it feel more balanced and less idealistic.
I am predisposed to concur with the shared ideals highlighted in this book: the golden rule, honoring the elderly, preserving the earth, the blessing of hospitality, judging not, and avoiding doing what you know is wrong, among many other maxims. I do think there is a remarkable common ground to merely being human. Just look at how the world is coming together with this current virus as a common enemy that all want to trounce.
Our book group met via zoom last night to discuss this book and launched into a discussion of globalism versus tribalism. What we saw is that it is not an either/or proposition, but a both/and one. While we all share the project of being human together, as well as a planet to care for– and we must respect and rally around that– we must also find our own community and support within that whole. To use a “one body” metaphor, with Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism each a separate arm or leg, then the ideas highlighted in this book are the lifeblood they all share.
In tiny chapters with citations listed from various faith traditions supporting central themes, this book is a pleasant look at what could bring us together. We felt it should have gone deeper into how to actually do these things, as well as included some powerful examples as to how various schisms have been bridged by unifying around these mutual values. I give it four stars.