As a Christian and a U.S. legal consultant to Third World countries, Paul is amazed by how citizens of even the most impoverished areas and living in the most wretched of conditions manage to foster benevolence, goodwill, and peace in their lives and lands. But in the rich Western world, much of it either godless or mired in aggressive religiosity, these goals are seldom achieved.
Paul is deeply troubled by this anomaly, and he finds himself engaging in a lively debate with an imaginary visitor, Kierkegaard's clown. Named after the mid-nineteenth century Protestant philosopher, the clown challenges Paul's Western complacency and draws a curious link between religion, war, and poverty by taking Paul to "circus tents"-poor and despondent sections in America, India, and Iraq.
It's in Baghdad where Paul's journey to enlightenment truly begins. Along with a group of like-minded individuals-Christian, Muslim, and Jewish-and with the clown as his unwavering guide, Paul searches for the theological and philosophical answers to his questions and discovers that the ultimate truth lies within his own heart.