Sharlet is the co-creator of two online journals, Killing the Buddha, a literary magazine about religion, and The Revealer, a review of religion and media published by the New York University Center for Religion and Media, now edited by Ann Neumann, and the former editor-in-chief of Pakn Treger, a journal published by the National Yiddish Book Center.
Sharlet's mother, who raised him after his parents separated, was from a Pentecostal Christian background. His father is of Jewish background. 
With Peter Manseau, Sharlet coauthored Killing the Buddha: A Heretic's Bible, which was named by Publishers Weekly as one of the ten best religion titles of 2004. "It shouldn't work, but it does—a literary leap of faith" declared Elle. Vanity Fair described it as "shot through with epiphanies and controversy." (Free Press, 2004) ISBN 0-7432-3276-3