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Posted March 13, 2010
A Declaration of Faith More Than a Philosphical Review
It's scholarly, yes, but rooted in Catholic theology. Nothing wrong with that, but such a point of view wasn't clear from the onset (or from the cover). A few pages in, it soon became obvious that this is a highly subjective work.
There were thoughtful passages. But too much: atheists are evil, Christians aren't, and that's why so many evil regimes (i.e. Communist Russia) are atheistic. But what about all the evil despots who embraced religion?
I agree that some books indeed do belong on this top-10 list. Mein Kampf? Absolutely. (Retrospectively it gave us a clear heads-up. Too bad that went all but ignored.)
The Communist Manifesto? Oh yeah. And author Benjamin Wiker concisely explains why. It's arguably his best chapter. Marx was a clueless jerk in so many ways.
But why did Rene Descartes' "Discourse on Method" make the list? Because Descartes had the nerve to say, "I think, therefore I am." To Wiker, that way of thinking opens up the possibility of man creating God, not the other way around. Such alleged blasphemy may offend the faithful but it hardly screws up the world.
As a statement of religious belief, this is a fine book that would make a Jesuit logician proud. As an open-minded philosphical review (which is what it rather proports to be), it's too colored by the author's abiding faith.
It is what you would expect from someone who taught at Thomas Aquinas College and Franciscan University, and writes fulltime for the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. I discovered that in the biography at the back of the book. It almost belongs in the front so you know from the start where this work is coming from.
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Posted December 19, 2009
Ideas have consequences
Dr. Wiker's premise in writing this book is that ideas have consequences and in reviewing these 15 books he shows what the consequences are. (It's 15 because it's 10 books that screwed up the world and 5 more that didn't help.)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
We are taught that tolerance is good and that means that all ideas have equal value and we ought to be equally accepting of all ideas, values and faiths. In our current world, a book like this is an anachronism, a throwback to a day when men and women knew how to think and understood when an idea was proved or not.
Dr. Wiker examines the ideas in these books and shows the horrendous consequences that they have brought about. In the psychology and graduate classes that I teach I have never once had a student say that Hitler's killing of millions of jews, gypsies, homosexuals, mixed races, Christians, etc was good. Yet these same students will steadfastly say, "your truth is your truth and my truth is my truth and they are both valid." When it is pointed out to them that Hitler's truth is just as valid as theirs and therefore he was right in doing what he did, they are unable to wrap their minds around the concept and rather than thinking their way through the contradiction and coming out the other side, they seem to go into reset mode and they continue parroting "your truth is your truth and my truth is my truth" and they continue believing that Hitler was wrong.
They are unable to see the contradiction or else they do not want to do the work of thinking. Dr. Wiker makes the ideas in this book easy to understand, he is an excellent writer, but the book is about the consequences of ideas. Certain philosophers were used by Hitler, Stalin and Mao to justify their killing of hundreds of millions of people. The ideas those philosophers propagated may not have been intended to motivate people to destroys hundreds of millions of people, but those were the consequences.
Dr. Wiker points these consequences out in very clear language. If you want to understand some of the things you have been taught or you want to teach others that understanding, buy this book and encourage others to buy it or read it. Where did the "Greatest Good for the Greatest number" come from. Look at the chapter on William James and not only do you understand it, you see the elitist thought of James behind it. Who would decide the greatest good for the greatest number, why William James and those like him. Elitist to the core.
This is a great book and I highly recoomend it.
Posted November 15, 2009
Not What I Expected
I did not care for this book. It was not what I expected and I found it to be an anti-science, pro-religious, lecture. I did not finish it. At first I thought the author might be playing coy or being a bit tongue in cheek, but he was dead serious and frightening. Too bad.
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Posted December 17, 2009
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