Friday, September 07, 2007

What Do Christians Read?

Sarah Scott has an astute essay on the intellectual crisis of Christian reading on her blog: In Pursuit of That Which is True. I commend it to you. Philosopher Tim McGrew, who humbly goes by "Tim," has an excellent response as well.


Paul D. Adams said...

From 9/07 posting of Colson's Breakpoint.
Christian: Read and heed....for the intellectual sake of kingdom!

""In reading great literature," [C.S.] Lewis wrote, "I become a thousand men and yet remain myself . . . Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do."

Lewis also strongly felt that we should read more old books—and fewer new ones. "Every age has its own outlook," Lewis wrote. "It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes." In other words, we are all, in a sense, a captive to our own age, limited by the times in which we live. So, Lewis concludes, "The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books."

Lewis even gives us a word of advice: "It is a good rule," he says, "after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between."

Lewis is so right. In this postmodern and media-saturated age, we get caught up in today's headlines, which pass away like evanescent clouds. And so much of what is on the bookshelves today is fluff, ignoring the past or mocking it. So if we limit ourselves to contemporary books, we limit our vision. But when we read the great classics, we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. When you do that, you get a much better view of the horizon: of reality, of truth, and even of ourselves."
I'm finishing Moreland's Kingdom Triangle, then spending time with selections from Kierkegaard's Practice in Christianity, then on to Craig Blomberg's newest Contagious Holiness, after which I'm back on my IPod with Lewis's The Great Divorce. Of course, this is all in between the reflective reading of Scripture.

Dave said...

Douglas, I enjoy this conversation...I'm continuing it on my own blog instead of commenting here.

Papa Giorgio said...

Out of the almost 1,800 books I have read, these are my favs. I have yet to meet someone who has read Yellow and Pink by the author of Shrek, and that’s a kids book!

1. Unshakable Foundations: Contemporary Answers to Crucial Questions About the Christian Faith, by Norman Geisler & Peter Bocchino

2. Relativism: Feet Planted Firmly in Mid-Air, by Francis Beckwith & Greg Koukl

3. Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas, by Daniel J. Flynn

4. The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation As a Basis for Social Policy, by Thomas Sowell

5. Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity, by Nancy Pearcy

6. Why I Am a Christian: Leading Thinkers Explain Why They Believe, ed. Norman Geisler & Paul Hoffman

7. The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led To Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success, by Rodney Stark

8. Legislating Morality: Is it Wise? Is it Legal? Is it Possible? by Norman Geisler & Frank Turek

9. The Clash of Orthodoxies: Law, Religion, and Morality in Crisis, by Robert George

10. The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas That Have Shaped Our World View, by Richard Tarnas

11. The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict: To Answer Questions Challenging Christians in the 21st Century, by Josh McDowell

12. The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot, by Russell Kirk

13. Politically Correct Death: Answering Arguments for Abortion Rights, by Francis Beckwith

14. The New Mormon Challenge: Responding to the Latest Defenses of a Fast-Growing Movement, ed. Francis Beckwith, Carl Mosser & Paul Owen

15. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) , by Robert Spencer

16. To Everyone an Answer: The Case for the Christian Worldview, ed. Francis Beckwith, William Lane Craig & J. P. Moreland

17. Does God Believe in Atheists? by John Blanchard

18. Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing, ed. William Dembski

19. The Big Argument: Does God Exist – Twenty Four Scholars Explore How Science, Archaeology, and Philosophy Haven’t Disproved God, ed. John Ashton & Michael Westacott

20. The Death of Right and Wrong: Exposing the Left's Assault on Our Culture and Values, by Tammy Bruce

21. Black Rednecks and White Liberals, by Thomas Sowell

22. The Conspiracy of Ignorance: The Failure of American Public Schools, by Martin Gross (tied for this spot is Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can’t Read, Write, or Add, by Charles Sykes

23. Ten Philosophical Mistakes, by Mortimer J. Adler

24. The Road to Serfdom, by F. A. Hayek

25. Vindicating the Founders: Race, Sex, Class, and Justice in the Origins of America, by Thomas G. West

Bonus ~ True Tolerance: Liberalism and the Necessity of Judgment, by J. Budziszewski