The Book That Made Your World
Just the Facts: by Vishal Mangalwadi. 464 p. Published May 2011 by Thomas Nelson. Advanced copy provided for review in electronic format by the publisher (through NetGalley) in exchange for my honest opinion.
Who Cares? Adult Non-Fiction (History, Christianity)
Discover how the Bible became the West’s source of human rights, justice, heroism, optimism, compassion, capitalism, family, and morality.
In the 1960s many from the West went to the East in search of spiritual wisdom. The Book That Made Your World reverses the journey. Vishal Mangalwadi, an Indian philosopher, takes readers on a historical journey through the last millennium, exploring why and how the Bible reformed Europe and made the West a uniquely thinking civilization: technical and tolerant, scientific and free, just and prosperous. Readers will learn:
- Why an American president puts his hand on the Bible to take the oath of a secular office
- What forced British monarchs from Henry VIII to James I to submit to the Bible’s authority
- Why Bible translators Wycliffe, Luther, and Tyndale became history’s greatest revolutionaries
- How the Bible globalized western education
This book was a fairly interesting treatise on how the Bible has influenced all aspects of our civilization (for the better). You’d expect something like this to be written by a someone of Western Judeo-Christian background, but the author is actually a native Indian who writes the book as a response to a national Indian movement claiming that the Western Christian influence impacted India negatively rather than positively. Mangalwadi juxtaposes the kinds of behavior, motives, and priorities that result from the Christian faith with the mindset of those from Buddhist/Hindu faiths. He covers a rather diverse set of subjects to explore his theory that the best parts of all civilization are the result of Christian influence – the development of science and education, the protection of life and the rights of women, and the liberty and prosperity that characterize the West.
This is one of those books that you kind of get the gist of within the first couple chapters – I found it hard to keep my interest past the second half of the book. However, it is very well written and very thought-provoking. Mangalwadi includes some personal anecdotes to make his point about the effect that other worldviews have on a society that are very provocative; the most poignant is one in which a neighbor girl is not only neglected to the point of death, but her parents refuse to let Mangalwadi and his wife offer their free help and resources to nurse her back to health (as a result of a worldview that says life is suffering and everyone has the life they deserve).
If you like history and broad discussion of civilizations, you’ll probably love this book.
Other Books Read by This Author: None.
“When a husband is forbidden extramarital affairs, taking a second wife, or divorcing a difficult wife; when he is not allowed to hate or be harsh with her; when he is required to love and honor his wife; then his wife is empowered. She has the security to seek her dignity and rights.”
“When we believe truth is unknowable, we rob it of any authority. What is left is brute power wielding arbitrary force. Whether a person or an ethnic minority is guilty or innocent becomes irrelevant. Their right to life depends exclusively on the whims of whoever has power. Any nation that refuses to live under truth condemns itself to live under sinful man.”
★★★☆☆ Writing Style
★★★★☆ Original Idea
★★★☆☆ Page Turner