Wakefield Tolbert's Reviews > What's So Great About Christianity

What's So Great About Christianity by Dinesh D'Souza
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Dec 11, 11


What's So Great About Christianity?

Someone is going to tell you.

(The book title itself actually has no question mark on the end of it. The Christian Fish symbol on the book jacket does, but it seems the author is intent on telling about Christianity's virtues--not asking a series of rhetorical questions and then answering them one by one. Once opened with the very first chapter, you'll soon see quite simply this book is not in that kind of format).

More on this great read momentarily.

A while back, with everything going on (everything other than the time to attend such a nettlesome and time-consuming type of post), I decided this category would necessarily have to be thin until further notice. Said further notice lasting a great eon. Something had to give. Sometimes life is little more than a whirlwind of action/reaction, and other things demand--and get--the attention of everyday life, even if I'd love to tell everything about the kind of material I've enjoyed and still do. If I gave ANY kind of mention to the hundreds of books of all types and titles I've enjoyed over the years, I'd develop carpal tunnel syndrome in addition to never again seeing the outside the walls of this house. But once in a while, I find that among the topics of religion, astronomy, oceanography, other general science, cooking, gardening, politics, humor (the two often go together quite well), U.S. foreign policy in the 20th-21st centuries, psychology, and the occasional but quite rare once-in-a-blue-moon quality fiction, something stands out. The reasons are not always obvious to me at first why I've chosen one book over another as a favorite. Sometimes they are.

Topic is no clear indicator for me.

For example, Robert Hendrickson's compilation of science fused with legend called The Ocean Almanac ranks up there alongside Leon Uris's The Exodus. Both share top billing for me for fascinating reading. The first is the perilous history of the sea, her weathered salts and mutineers dangling in the rigging of thousands of years of stories, with minutia and bounty to boot about everything from tidal pools to sailing jargon, poisonous monster fish, and "weevily biscuit". While the second is the perilous, heartrending historical fiction of the agonizing events surrounding the birth of Israel. Perhaps the issue is your own mental animation---the imagery only you can add---to any book or story that someone has told, the ways in which you look at the world at large---and how these might apply to your own life. Still yet, perhaps it's simply that a good book is one that should almost force you to turn the page, be it a mystery, a story, or even a set of arguments that seems novel or refreshing.

Many things catch they eye---so they say---but few things actually capture the heart. Here is a book that could capture the heart. And hopefully the head of some folks as well.

What's So Great About Christianity, by Dinesh D'Souza, is an easy-to-read but fantastic book that answers many of the common questions and criticisms hurled at Christianity. The author discusses the usual topics like Darwinism, the mind, the soul, the so-called "Problem of Evil", death and destruction, suffering, etc., and answers the charge that God is a big mean guy who hates happy fun time. He goes over the REAL problems----human failings to live to any of our own ideals---that lead to those things we blame on God or the faithful (for those who don't believe in God): war, terror, oppression, and political shenanigans. As one might expect, he goes over all the usual arguments for and against God's existence and utterly skewers the shortfalls, pitfalls, and contradictions embedded in all secularist/materialist ideology about the development of the human condition and morals. Lastly, D'Souza goes over the linkages and excuses regarding atheism's unsavory ideological connections to tyranny and human oppression.

This book is written for the average to advanced (but highly motivated) reader who has more than a passing interest in theological issues but is probably already familiar with recent world events of the last several decades, and would probably have to be familiar with many places, names and historical figures and advances in science to understand the author's conclusions regarding the kinds of questions we have today that are added onto the old ones about God.

D'Souza seems to know just how much time to spend on each topic and takes just enough of the average reader's time to develop his ideas and defenses of the faith. This is not a book of deep theological exegeses but IS a book that quite nicely handles several knotty problems that form the usual stumbling blocks for believers and unbelievers alike regarding Christianity and, say, morals or ontological arguments for God's existence and the objective basis of morals (rather than the modernist/secularist take on this, which is generally a grade of subjectivism of one form or another).

The author's starting point is the Modernist's very objection to what many "moderns" and skeptics regard as a repugnant notion in these days of PCism and dependency on the State as the final arbiter of moral values: The very notion of God Himself. Especially one who has something to say to humanity about our morals and habits. From there the author moves to address the typical objections like the "Argument from Outrage" and some new objections from the new players on the field like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. Thus he has little time to get into specific doctrines over which some people might argue but are not necessary to develop the core realizations about God. Nevertheless this book gives a great overview of the major Christian themes of redemption through Grace and a spirited defense of the starting points, which is actually a belief in God first and the very possibility that we are not able to make much of a moral framework in this world for ourselves. However, he DOES address the issue of Christianity's contribution to the sciences, the arts, moral law, and thus her midwifery of what is called the "modern world". It was, he points out--via Christianity--(as Rodney Stark also pointed out), that our conception of law as the encoding of moral norms and the appreciation of the natural world beyond something "animistic" even came into being. I'd like to also refer the reader to an acquaintance who goes by the handle BeastRabban, a UK-based writer/researcher, whose specialty is the history of Christianity and its relation to the development of Western culture and society. His excellent piercing of this myth about the eternal "war" between science and Christianity is also noteworthy, as is just about everything else he writes. See http://rationalperspective.wordpress.... http://beastrabban.wordpress.com/

I would have written a much longer review--and there is much to go over--but no better examination of this book could have been given than a question-and-answer session with the author himself. See http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readA...


This review can also be found on my personal blog at: http://wakepedia.blogspot.com/2008/07...
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