Who am I?
My name is Parth Shah. I was born in Flushing, Queens on August 20, 1986. My Parents came from Ahmedabad, Gujarat nearly 30 years ago. I was born into a Jain-Hindu family, and was a devout Jain until the age of 13, when I began to question my beliefs. For nearly 12 years I read as much as I could about religion and spirituality – with a greater focus on eastern religions. At age 25, I met the Lord and have been following Jesus ever since. You can read my full testimony here.
Why should we take an intellectual approach to Faith?
Our emotions are largely unreliable when making major decisions in our life. We have been given the gift of logic and reason, so lets use it to better understand what we believe in and why we believe it.
Each religion has their truth claims, and they must be examined through to the fullest degree. What many find difficult to grasp, however, is the fact that religion is both historical and philosophical, meaning that since we are dealing with literature from thousands of years ago, we must first unpack that literature from a historical standpoint by understanding the language and culture of the times. Then, we must logically break down and test the truth claims presented in said scripture.
Isn’t all religion just based on Faith?
A key reason why many intellectuals fail to understand Scripture is because they are viewing it with modern, often Western eyes and brains. This is the very reason why many have come to believe that religion is solely about an emotional experience. I propose this to be untrue. ModernJainism.com is devoted to an intellectual exploration of Faith.
Have you forsaken all that is Jain?
No. If anything it is through the principle of Anekantavada that I have come to the conclusions I have come. Anekantavada is the idea that there are multiple viewpoints to a truth claim, and so that is what I exercised through my 12 years of study – questioning whether or not what I was taught as a child was fact or fiction. This is an exercise all Jains should engage in, and follow it to it’s logical conclusion.