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Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  653 ratings  ·  112 reviews
When four religious leaders walk across the road, it's not the beginning of a joke. It's the start of one of the most important conversations in today's world.

Can you be a committed Christian without having to condemn or convert people of other faiths? Is it possible to affirm other religious traditions without watering down your own?

In his most important book yet, widel
Hardcover, 276 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by Jericho Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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David A.
I once read about a time that Allen Ginsberg was crossing the quad of a college somewhere, and a student called out to him, "Hey Ginsberg, what do you think of so-and-so's latest book?" Ginsberg didn't know the book, but he knew the author, and he gathered from the student's tone that the student was looking for a little trouble. So Ginsberg responded, "Whatever he's doing, I'm for him."

I think Ginsberg sounded a little like Jesus when he said that--not necessarily (though not unnecessarily) in
Charles Dean
I frequently tell people that the mark of a good book isn't that you agree with everything the author says, or that you "buy" all the author's arguments, or even that you were convinced to change your view on something. No, the mark of a great book, in my opinion,is it causes you to THINK. This is what I love most about Brian McLaren - he graciously challenges me to rethink my faith and the world. This book is challenging, but oh-so-timely and relevant. It's an important conversation that is hap ...more
Dave McNeely
Honestly, when I picked up this book, I can't say I had much interest in it (world religions as a topic has generally not piqued my interest much). But after reading the first few pages, I was hooked and could hardly put it down. What McLaren offers in this beautifully benevolent and insightful groundbreaking work is a re-examination of Christian faith in light of a religiously diverse world, asking whether or not Christianity is meant to have a hostile or benevolent posture toward other faiths ...more
Lee Harmon

We have just enough religion to make us hate but not enough to make us love one another. --Jonathan Swift

What does it mean to be a Christian in a multi-faith world? In a world that keeps shrinking, McLaren draws us back to Christian neighborly principles, encouraging respect and interfaith understanding, but without sacrificing our allegiance to Christ. While it may be true that fostering an us-versus-them atmosphere strengthens the walls and adds purpose to our lives, this does not mean it's th
Well it is no big secret that I love this book. I loved it from the day the proposal hit my desk and I am delighted with the final result. I am a McLaren reader and I have the utmost respect for the man. This, in my humble opinion, is the best thing that Brian has ever written. So far...
Bishop Bergland
This book may well be an adequate primer for evangelicals who have never considered cooperation with people from other traditions in a meaningful way, but if you have thought about such things for more than five minutes this book is a waste of time and you will see it as simplistic and unrealistic.

My biggest complaint is that for a book purporting to be about Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith world, it spends the vast majority of its pages attempting to re-define conventional, conservative, ev
I liked this book. McLaren gives many examples, ideas, stories, and challenges on how we can share Jesus with the world. The book is much needed. We Christians need to realize that we don't have a monopoly on Christ, that others has truths, that we have falsehoods, and that we need to take a journey with others...not just take others on a journey but to be taken on a journey ourselves. We're here to share life with people, not to conquer them.

For many this book will be too radical, too open, to
I loved the big idea at the heart of the book--that we should question our tribal and oppositional Christian identities and reinterpret them in nontribal ways. Amen and amen. Still, I thought Brian was a little too heady/abstract at times and went down too many rabbit trails, which prolonged the book. I also wish he was more careful in how he constructed the book since some may interpret him as being arrogant (since he is the hero/ideal/solution to all the problems), but he certainly is not arro ...more
Andrew Marr
Very clear an easy-to-read introduction to Christian dialog with other religions. A valuable book on an important topic for our time. McLaren does much to build empathy for other points of view & traditions without losing focus as a follower of Christ. Extensive use is made of René Girard's thought, helping to pave the way for using Girard's theory constructively in inter-religious dialogue.
Malin Friess
Brian McLaren was an unknown pastor until 2005 when Time listed him as one of the top 50 most influential Christian Leaders. He was at a evangelical pastors gathering and asked to declare his position on homosexuality. He responded by saying: "The thing that breaks my heart is that there is no way to answer that question without hurting someone else on the other side." This "tension" branded him the label from Time as a "kinder and gentler brand of religion."

McLaren at the time was a leader or t
Jul 05, 2012 Bill rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Bill by: Requested From Author
See my review at

It is a pre- pub review. A PHENOMENAL read!!! PRE-order now!!! Available September 11, 2012... Buy a few to give away to others.

I had the privilege to read an Advance Uncorrected Proof of Brian Mclaren‘s new book: “Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? (Published by Jericho Books – Hachette Book Group – Available September 11, 2012). Here’s my review. I call it, “A Call to Prayer With Your Feet:”

Subversive friend
Henk Huinink
A well written book that discusses an extremely relevant theme: how christians should position themselves in a multi-cultural and multi-faith world. Especially since tensions between followers of different dominating religions are leading to conflicts all over the globe. Brian McLaren is searching for a benevolent and generous orthodoxy. The value of the book is that it is provoking. Whether or not you agree with what he writes, it will stir your mind. Precisely, the reason why I consider it to ...more
Growing up in a Christian home I eventually, like most kids, began to question the faith I had been taught. Some stories of questioning begin with taking a biology class and learning about evolution. This was never a problem for me. I always figured that the truth of falsity of evolution had little to do with the central claims of Christian faith. For me the questions always revolved around other religions.

If I believe Jesus is the savior of the world, is unique, what does this say about other w
Interesting, thought-provoking, hopeful book for our time. McClaren makes an argument that God wishes Christians to love our neighbors, to live responsibly in a pluralistic society, yet not lose our Christian identity in the process. He begins the book by exploring the hostility and violence we see around us. He then moves into practical suggestions on how to build a strong faith identity with a benevolent posture, rather than hostility, toward other faiths, and how NOT to weaken your faith iden ...more
Scott Brazil
As you can expect from anything written by Brian McLaren, the reader will be both challenged and inspired by what you find in the book. I was particularly intrigued by his argument that Constanstine's "conversion" laid the seeds for later hostitlities between Islam and Christianity. Also, I should add that this book got me to think not so much about interreligious relations but, more specifically, the "other" that seems to get my blood boiling in my own religious tradition and how I need to resp ...more
James Dunning
I agree with the main argument McLaren makes in this book....the need for a Christian identity that is more open, loving, and compassionate. An identity that is focused on "benevolence and solidarity rather than rivalry and hostility." There may be no bigger need In the Christian church than for us to assess who we are and who are called to be, and to focus on being more Christ-like in how we interact with people of other faiths.
However, in many of McLaren's recent works, it seems that he is sug
P.D. Bekendam
From my blog at

In my last post I confessed I have been wrestling with a serious identity crisis. Should I still call myself a Christian even though I seem to be on the fringes of what is required/accepted by the gatekeepers of mainstream Christendom? Should I follow in Anne Rice’s footsteps when she wrote:

"Today I quit being a Christian. I'm out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being 'Christian' or to being part of Christianity. It's simply im
Aug 09, 2014 Teresa added it
Shelves: faith
- advocates for a "strong/benevolent" Christianity. Strong/hostile is fundamentalist, Weak/benign is tolerant but gets rid of Christianity to do this

- Haidt - "The key to understanding tribal behaviour is not money, it's sacredness. The great trick that humans developed at some point in the last few hundred thousand years is the ability to circle around a tree, rock, ancestor, flag, book, or god, and then treat that thing as sacred. PePle who worship the same idol an trust one another, work as a
So this is theological, and I don't have a shelf for that yet. But the premise is how would each of these religious leaders interact if confronted with each other. The conclusion that McLaren proposes is that they would cross the street (from their various corners) and find common ground. And yet, Bill O'Reilly is selling more books. I don't get it.
David Morman
Sometimes a book I need to read finds me at just the right time. That’s the case with this one. Maybe you are also disturbed by all the conflicts and wars in the news. Perhaps you also feel alienated by religion that defines itself by who or what it opposes or that prides itself on its superiority/hostility/violence towards the unbeliever or “the others.” Those situations are clearly evident in the Middle East but are also traits Christianity has been infected with since Constantine. This book i ...more
Anne Jordan-Baker
Thank god for Brian McLaren's Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? Having just had a brush (in another book) with the Bad-Jesus-Who-Is-the-President-of-the-Universe-Whether-You-Like-It-Or-Not, I needed something...else.

McLaren's book ushered into my life the holy spirit, who descended upon my head in the form of a dove (or a parrot) and said, "Oh, forget about that. I'm a bird, and I'm on your head! Isn't that funny?!"

"Yes," I would say, "that is funny indeed. And it'
If the premise of a good book is that it makes you think and question, then this is a great book.

Thought-provoking, spiritually motivating,and a thinking mans/woman's book, told in simple language, with a regular dose of humour. The footnotes, will have me finding additional books to read, for many months to come.
One of the best and most thought-provoking books I have read. Wow!
Now, I do not agree with everything he says, but what a presentation of how people of faith should be acting. Can pretty much be summed up in the "old" WWJD movement.
Jay Hershberger
Just into the beginning of this book, but McLaren does not disappoint. In fact, this may be one of the most important books to come from this provocative and challenging author. Worth the time.
Heard him speak in D.C. last week. Very intriguing viewpoint on religious tolerance post 9/11.
This started out great, but I got bored quickly by the repetition and didn't finish.
Jarkko Laine
Once again, Brian McLaren manages to bring forth a vision for Christianity that is both clear and inspiring, and if implemented, has the power to change the world.

While the book doesn't answer the big questions about whether to believe at all, it does something more important: it shows how Christianity can be practiced in a way that is beautiful, honest, humble, and most importantly, meaningful, making the world better for everyone, believers and non-believers alike.

I think every Christian ought
Brian McLaren gives compelling arguments for a strong benevolent Christian identity, as opposed to a strong-hostile Christian identity or a weak-benign Christian identity. Strong arguments for that are posed in a thoughtful way. McLaren does an excellent job of explaining why and how, historically, that strong/hostile identity came about, without getting too terribly deep into history. He's a great storyteller.

Right now, hostile Christianity seems to be relatively high, and whether that's becau
“Isn’t the real scandal not that our religious leaders might be imagined walking across a road or talking as friends together in a bar, but rather that their followers are found speaking against one another as enemies, day after day in situation after situation?”

Brian McLaren makes the argument that a strong Christian identity does not require one to be hostile towards outsiders. In our culture today, it seems that the stronger one's opposition grows toward non-Christian religions, the more hos
This book offers much that worthy of reflection and emulation for Christians anywhere along the conservative-liberal spectrum. In today's world I see the paradigm shift that McLaren advocates — or at least something in that direction — as urgent. He posits that most Christians' faith identity lies somewhere along a line extending between weak/benign to strong/hostile, with those who don't identify with either extreme sitting in a middle range of moderately strong and moderately benign. ("Lukewar ...more
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Brian D. McLaren is an internationally known speaker and the author of over ten highly acclaimed books on contemporary Christianity, including A New Kind of Christian, A Generous Orthodoxy, and The Secret Message of Jesus.
More about Brian D. McLaren...
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I Am a Missional, Evangelical, Post/Protestant, Liberal/Conservative, Mystical/Poetic, Biblical, Charismatic/Contemplative, Fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/Anglican, Metho A New Kind of Christian: A Tale of Two Friends on a Spiritual Journey A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth That Could Change Everything Everything Must Change

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“The scarily brilliant Romantic poet and visionary William Blake dared to say what many of us have perhaps thought but kept to ourselves: “A good local pub has much in common with a church, except that a pub is warmer, and there’s more conversation.” 2 likes
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