Fortress Press

Making Sense of the Sacred: The Meaning of World Religions

What is the overarching meaning of the world's religions? Textbooks relay what the religions believe and leave it at that. But the more puzzling questions--Which of them is true? How do all viewpoints fit together or challenge one another?--are left unaddressed. Like an unfinished puzzle, the myriad religions present themselves to us as countless pieces, but their relationship to each other and ultimate importance escape us. Can the religions of the world really agree on anything or fit into a common narrative or singular image?

This work argues that despite the disagreements and contradictions among world religions, a universal message can be found by studying them with care. It offers a comprehensive examination of religions and their meaning, uniquely bound by the hope and affirmation that in some way they are universally connected. It affirms a universalism by wisdom, which contends that a moral and spiritual wisdom can be found in many of the world's religions. Understood and interpreted properly, religions can help all people lead good and meaningful lives.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506468082
  • eBook ISBN 9781506468099
  • Dimensions 6 X 9
  • Pages 232
  • Publication Date May 18, 2021


"Rowell, offers a refreshing and thoughtful perspective by engaging readers in a consideration of where the worldviews of prominent religions around the globe intersect and diverge from each other. This is an excellent text especially for those interested in a comparative approach to world religions."

Tim Johnson, Flagler College

"This text will serve as an indispensable resource for anyone interested in expanding their understanding of religious perspectives beyond their own."

Katherine Wrisley Shelby, Providence College

"Rowell's approach through narrative consideration of each tradition on its own terms is honest and each professor and student who makes use of this book will value his presentations. I not only highly recommend Making Sense of the Sacred, but plan on using it myself with my students."

Bruce A. Flickinger, Flagler College

"Rowell's words will ignite a spiritual curiosity in students that will inspire them to delve deeper into the ideas, values, and beliefs that have guided the many peoples of this earth since the most ancient of times."

Elizabeth Haynes, Flagler College, contributor to Faith of Our Mothers, Living Still

"This is a must read for beginners in religious studies."

W. R. Brookman, Professor Emeritus, North Central University

"Rowell encourages us to be puzzle-makers and problem-solvers as we contemplate the big picture hinted at in in every major religion. He acknowledges that the big pictures begin with the familiar, with what is close to home."

Doug Keaton, Flagler College