A difficult-to-categorize compendium of religious commentary down through the ages.
Eclectic writer Saquib (Anondo Bedonay America, 2012) spent 13 years putting together this compilation, for which he pored over hundreds if not thousands of sources. The premise of the book is that all religions are truly one, in that we all worship the same God, and if Saquib can succeed in making that fact blindingly apparent—with over 400 pages of comparative quotations, coincidental observations and parallel trackings through millennia—then the current “clash” of civilizations may become a “friendship” of civilizations that will usher in the Peaceable Kingdom. His gleanings are from all the major religions: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Shintoism, Buddhism and more; even atheism gets a nod. Furthermore, the timeline goes from the first primitive sense of a deity right up to this post-9/11 world. Saquib is nothing if not helpful and inviting. Right off, he assures readers that “this book is designed to be read randomly—a page, a few quotes or a chapter at a time, to allow for contemplation.” He offers not only a preface but a detailed readers’ guide describing the organization of the book, its benefits and thumbnail summaries of each of the 14 chapters. He even suggests how neatly it could fit in as a textbook in a typical college semester. Each chapter contains a Status Update as a kind of historical preamble; Notes from History, to orient readers; a Holy Wall on which God posts; a Wall of Mortals on which humans have posted; and a Chapter Digest to summarize it all. Rarely has a reader been more solicitously shepherded. Aside from a few copy editing errors, Saquib writes well and is scrupulous about details, but readers needn’t be cynical to have doubts. For instance, the idea that humans all worship the same God has been indeterminately argued since time immemorial. Still, readers may feel abashed in the literary presence of a man who dares to hope, who’s not ashamed to look perhaps foolishly naïve in this jaded age, and who has devoted so much time and work to this labor of love that’s boundless in its optimism.
A testament to optimism and courage, which, even if arguable, provides a record of our long fascination with God.