Life of Pi

Compare and contrast the ways pi comes to know Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam

Chapter 18

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When he is fourteen, Pi and his family go on a trip to Munnar. While exploring the place, Pi comes upon a Christian church. He watches the priest, then returns to the church the next day and has tea with Father Martin. Father Martin explains the story of Christ and his death, but Pi finds the tale irritating: he cannot believe it.

He meets with Father Martin for three days straight, continuing to ask questions. On his last day in Munnar, Pi tells Father Martin that he wants to be a Christian, and Father Martin tells him that he already is, for he has met Christ in good faith.

When he is fifteen, Pi comes upon the Muslim section of Pondicherry while exploring his neighborhood. He ends up in a small bakery, and while he is talking to the baker, the call to prayer comes and Pi watches the baker pray. He finds the physicality of it satisfying.

Pi returns to see the baker and asks him about Islam, which he finds beautiful. The baker, named Satish Kumar, allows Pi to explore this faith, and Pi recounts two experiences during which he encounters God.

The author considers what Pi has said about religion in an aside, and then Pi imagines an atheist and an agnostic on their respective deathbeds, which for him exemplifies why he can respect the first but not the second—one has belief where the other only has doubt.