Every religion believes itself to be pure and coherent, whereas other religions are confused, contradictory, and primitive. Each religion considers itself superior, more comprehensive, more true. This aspiration to truth is perhaps legitimate, but it is also dangerous. Once it is merged with political, economic, and ideological considerations, it may change religion into a war machine and clashes of faith into clashes of civilizations. There are, in fact, many connections among religions which render them more alike than one may be lead to think. Enzo Pace writes that under the holy vaults, nothing is created and nothing is destroyed, Religions can be represented as wide-ranging, stratified belief systems, interrelated and inclined to strengthen one another, in that they share an inherent structure: the power of the word, capable of establishing or shifting the boundaries of individual and social meaning universes. Supported by the authors profound knowledge of historical and contemporary religions, this text weaves its way between the East and the West, between archaicity and modernity, in its search for the continuously changing links among symbolic-religious systems.
Enzo Pace teaches Sociology e Sociology of Religions at the University of Padua. He has been visiting professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and president of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion.