How does an adherent of one faith differ from that of another? Does the personal quality of faith vary between religious traditions? Wilfred Cantwell Smith, one of the world's most renowned authors in the field of comparative religion, offers answers to these challenging questions in this pioneering study. Where other authors present the actualities of religious systems, Smith is concerned with the quality of faith the religion inspires. Using this unprecedented approach to assessing religious diversity, the author contemplates not so much religion as religious experience. He fulfils this aim by choosing one item to represent the faith of each religious system, such as: the ancient Chinese symbol of yin and yang, a Sanskrit phrase from the Hindu tradition, the Muslim 'creed': "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is God's apostle; and the Buddhist ceremony, Shin Byu. This book is for those who seek understanding and tolerance of others, and serves to reaffirm one's own faith, or illuminate one's lack of it, by revealing how others find paths to God.
Wilfred Cantwell Smith is Professor Emeritus of the Comparative History of Religion at Harvard and was also Chairman of the Study of Religion there. His academic career has taken him from Lahore, India, through Montreal to Harvard. He has published many academic texts as well as journal articles, and has been on the editorial board of seven scholarly journals in the UK and overseas.