The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization

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Overview

Understand where we came from.

Whether you're an avid student of the Bible or a skeptic of its relevance, The Book That Made Your World will transform your perception of its influence on virtually every facet of Western civilization.

Indian philosopher Vishal Mangalwadi reveals the personal motivation that fueled his own study of the Bible and systematically illustrates how its precepts became the framework for societal structure throughout the last millennium. From politics and science, to academia and technology, the Bible's sacred copy became the key that unlocked the Western mind.

Through Mangalwadi's wide-ranging and fascinating investigation, you'll discover:

  • What triggered the West's passion for scientific, medical, and technological advancement
  • How the biblical notion of human dignity informs the West's social structure and how it intersects with other worldviews
  • How the Bible created a fertile ground for women to find social and economic empowerment
  • How the Bible has uniquely equipped the West to cultivate compassion, human rights, prosperity, and strong families
  • The role of the Bible in the transformation of education
  • How the modern literary notion of a hero has been shaped by the Bible's archetypal protagonist

Journey with Mangalwadi as he examines the origins of a civilization's greatness and the misguided beliefs that threaten to unravel its progress. Learn how the Bible transformed the social, political, and religious institutions that have sustained Western culture for the past millennium, and discover how secular corruption endangers the stability and longevity of Western civilization.

Endorsements:

“This is an extremely significant piece of work with huge global implications. Vishal brings a timely message.” (Ravi Zacharias, author, Walking from East to West and Beyond Opinion)

“In polite society, the mere mention of the Bible often introduces a certain measure of anxiety. A serious discussion on the Bible can bring outright contempt. Therefore, it is most refreshing to encounter this engaging and informed assessment of the Bible’s profound impact on the modern world. Where Bloom laments the closing of the American mind, Mangalwadi brings a refreshing optimism.” (Stanley Mattson, founder and president, C. S. Lewis Foundation)

“Vishal Mangalwadi recounts history in very broad strokes, always using his cross-cultural perspectives for highlighting the many benefits of biblical principles in shaping civilization.” (George Marsden, professor, University of Notre Dame; author, Fundamentalism and American Culture)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595553225
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/10/2011
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 388,776
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Vishal Mangalwadi, LLD, was born and raised in India. He studied eastern religion and philosophy in India, Hindu ashrams, and at L'Abri Fellowship in Switzerland.He isa dynamic and engaging speaker who has lectured in thirty-five countries. He is asocial reformer,political columnist, and author of fourteen books. Christianity Today calls him "India's foremost Christian intellectual."
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Table of Contents

Contents

Foreword by J. Stanley Mattson, Ph.D....................XIII
Prologue: Why This Journey into the Soul of the Modern World?....................XIX
1. The West Without Its Soul: From Bach to Cobain....................3
2. Service: Or a Ticket to Jail?....................27
3. Quest: Can Blind Men Know the Elephant?....................38
4. Self: Am I Like Dog or God?....................46
5. Humanity: What Is the West's Greatest Discovery?....................59
6. Rationality: What Made the West a Thinking Civilization?....................77
7. Technology: Why Did Monks Develop It?....................92
8. Heroism: How Did a Defeated Messiah Conquer Rome?....................119
9. Revolution: What Made Translators World Changers?....................137
10. Languages: How Was Intellectual Power Democratized?....................161
11. Literature: Why Did Pilgrims Build Nations?....................178
12. University: Why Educate Your Subjects?....................194
13. Science: What Is Its Source?....................220
14. Morality: Why Are Some Less Corrupt?....................249
15. Family: Why Did America Surge Ahead of Europe?....................274
16. Compassion: Why Did Caring Become Medical Commitment?....................298
17. True Wealth: How Did Stewardship Become Spirituality?....................315
18. Liberty: Why Did Fundamentalism Produce Freedom?....................334
19. Mission: Can Stone Age Tribes Help Globalization?....................357
20. The Future: Must the Sun Set on the West?....................370
Appendix: The Bible: Is It a Fax from Heaven?....................390
Notes....................404
With Gratitude....................426
About the Author....................429
Index....................430
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First Chapter

THE BOOK THAT MADE YOUR WORLD

HOW THE BIBLE CREATED THE SOUL OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION
By VISHAL MANGALWADI

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2011 Vishal Mangalwadi
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59555-400-0


Chapter One

THE WEST WITHOUT ITS SOUL

From Bach to Cobain

For two hundred years we had sawed and sawed and sawed at the branch we were sitting on. And in the end, much more suddenly than anyone had foreseen, our efforts were rewarded, and down we came. But unfortunately there had been a little mistake: The thing at the bottom was not a bed of roses after all; it was a cesspool full of barbed wire ... It appears that amputation of the soul isn't just a simple surgical job, like having your appendix out. The wound has a tendency to go septic. —George Orwell Notes on the Way, 1940

On April 8, 1994, an electrician accidentally discovered a dead body in Seattle, Washington. A shotgun had blown the victim's head into unrecognizable bits. The police investigation concluded that the victim of this ghastly tragedy was the rock legend Kurt Cobain (b. 1967) and that he had committed suicide a few days earlier. Cobain's previous attempts at suicide by drug overdose had been unsuccessful. His beautiful wife, singer Courtney Love, is said to have called the police multiple times to have them confiscate his guns before he killed himself or harmed others.

Cobain, the lead singer and gifted guitarist for the rock band Nirvana, captured his generation's loss of anchor, center, or soul so effectively that their album Nevermind sold ten million copies, displacing Michael Jackson at the top of the charts.

The phrase "never mind" means "don't bother," "don't concern yourself." Why should you mind, if nothing is true, good, or beautiful in any absolute sense? Should a man be bothered about his adorable daughter's ongoing need for a father? "Never mind" is a logical virtue for a nihilist who thinks that there is nothing out there to give meaning and significance to anything here—be it your daughter, wife, or life. In contrast, the modern West was built by people who dedicated their lives to what they believed was divine, true, and noble.

Nirvana is the Buddhist term for salvation. It means permanent extinction of one's individual existence, the dissolution of our illusory individuality into Shoonyta (void, nothingness, or emptiness). It is freedom from our misery-causing illusion that we have a permanent core to our being: a self, soul, spirit, or Atman.

Here is a sample lyric expressing Cobain's view of salvation as silence, death, and extinction:

Silence, Here I am, Here I am, Silent. Death Is what I am, Go to hell, Go to jail ... Die

As the news of Cobain's suicide spread, a number of his fans emulated his example. Rolling Stone magazine reported that his tragic death was followed by at least sixty-eight copycat suicides.

"Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go!" The Stanford students of the 1960s who chanted for the demise of the Western civilization were disgusted with hypocrisy and injustices in the West. Yet, their rejection of the soul of their civilization yielded something very different from the utopia they sought. Diana Grains, in Rolling Stone, noted that prior to the 1960s, teenage suicide was virtually nonexistent among American youth. By 1980 almost four hundred thousand adolescents were attempting suicide every year. By 1987 suicide had become the second largest killer of teens, after automotive accidents. By the 1990s, suicide had slipped down to number three because young people were killing each other as often as they killed themselves. Grains explained these rising figures among the offspring of the '60s generation:

The 1980s offered young people an experience of unsurpassed social violence and humiliation. Traumatized by absent or abusive parents, educators, police and shrinks, stuck in meaningless jobs without a livable wage, disoriented by disintegrating institutions, many kids felt trapped in a cycle of futility and despair. Adults ... [messed]up across the board, abandoning an entire generation by failing to provide for or protect them or prepare them for independent living. Yet when young people began to exhibit symptoms of neglect, reflected in their rates of suicide, homicide, substance abuse, school failure, recklessness and general misery, adults condemned them as apathetic, illiterate, amoral losers.

According to his biographers, Cobain's early years had been happy, full of affection and hope. But by the time he was nine years old Cobain was caught in the crossfire between his divorcing parents. Like far too many marriages in America, his parents' marriage had devolved into an emotional and verbal battlefield. One of Cobain's biographers, commenting on a family portrait when Kurt was six, said, "It's a picture of a family, but not a picture of a marriage." After the divorce, Kurt's mother started dating younger men. His father became overbearing, more afraid of losing his new wife than of losing Kurt. That parental rejection left him displaced, unable to find a stable social center, incapable of maintaining constructive emotional ties either with his peers or with his parents' generation. That instability inflicted a deep wound in Cobain's soul that could not be healed by music, fame, money, sex, drugs, alcohol, therapy, rehabilitation or detox programs. His inner anguish made it easy for him to accept the Buddha's first noble truth that life is suffering.

Psychotherapy failed Cobain. Having questioned the very existence of the psyche (roughly, the self or soul), secular psychology is now a discipline in decline. Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung believed in the existence of self, but their followers now recognize that their faith in "self" was a residual effect of the West's Christian past—Jung's father, for example, was a clergyman.

Jung's truly secular followers, such as James Hillman, are recasting the essence of his theory. An increasing number of thinking people are recognizing that theoretically it is impossible to practice psychology without theology. Six centuries before Christ, the Buddha already knew that if God does not exist, then the human self cannot exist either. Therefore, he deconstructed the Hindu idea of the soul. When one starts peeling the onion skin of one's psyche, he discovers that there is no solid core at the center of one's being. Your sense of self is an illusion. Reality is nonself (anatman). You don't exist. Liberation, the Buddha taught, is realizing the unreality of your existence.

This nihilism is logical if you begin with the assumption that God does not exist. However, it is not easy to live with the consequences of this belief, or rather, this nonbelief in one's own self. To say "I believe that 'I' don't exist" can be devastating for sensitive souls like Cobain. His music—alternately sensitive and brash, exhilarating and depressed, loud and haunted, anarchic and vengeful—reflected the confusion he saw in the postmodern world around him and in his own being. While he was committed to a small set of moral principles (such as environmentalism and fatherhood), he was unable to find a stable worldview in which to center those principles.

He was naturally drawn to the Buddha's doctrine of impermanence: there is nothing stable and permanent in the universe. You can't swim in the same river twice because the river changes every moment, as does a human being. You are not the same "thing" that you were a moment ago. Cobain's experience of the impermanence of an emotional, social, spiritual center to his life had tragic consequences. He adopted the philosophical and moral emptiness that other bands lauded as the "Highway to Hell."

Music After God's Death

German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (AD 1844–1900) realized that having killed God, Europe could not possibly save the civilizational fruits of its faith in God. But not even Nietzsche realized that one philosophical implication of God's demise would be the death of his own self. For fifteen hundred years prior to Nietzsche, the West had followed St. Augustine (AD 354–430) in affirming every human being as a trinity of existence (being), intellect, and will. After denying the existence of the Divine Self, it became impossible to affirm the existence of the human self. Therefore, many intellectuals are reverting to the Buddhist idea that the self is an illusion. As contemporary Jungian psychologist Paul Kuglar explained, in the postmodern philosophy, Nietzsche (the speaking subject) is dead—he never existed, for individuality is only an illusion created by language.

Deconstructionists blame language for creating the illusion of the self, but the Buddha blamed the mind. It cannot be God's image. Therefore, the mind had to be a product of primeval cosmic ignorance, Avidya. The Buddha's rejection of the self made sense to the classical skeptics such as Pyrrho of Elea (360–270 BC), who traveled to India with Alexander the Great and interacted with Buddhist philosophers. After returning to Greece, he established a new school of skeptical philosophy to teach that nothing is truly knowable. If so, why should anyone pay philosophers to teach anything? No wonder education, philosophy, and science declined in Greece.

Denying the reality of a spiritual core as the essence of every human being makes it hard to make sense of music, because music, like morality, is a matter of the soul. Those who think that the universe is only material substance and the soul is an illusion find it hard to explain music. They have to assume that music evolved from animals, but none of our alleged evolutionary cousins make music. (Some birds do "sing," but no one has proposed that we, or our music, evolved from them.) Charles Darwin thought that music evolved as an aid to mating. That might be believed if rapists took bands to lure their victims. By evolutionary psychology, rape could be seen as a natural form of mating and morality an arbitrary social control.

Music serves no biological purpose. As Bono, the lead singer for U2 put it, "music is a matter of the spirit." Some contemporary music moves toward God—for example, Gospel Music. Other genres—for example, the Blues—may be running away from God and seeking redemption elsewhere. Nevertheless "both recognize the pivot that God is at the center of the jaunt." Even in the Bible, all prophetic poetry is not singing praises to God. Beginning with Job, biblical poetry includes penetrating questioning of God in the face of suffering and injustice. Music that blames God for evil, affirms God as the only available source of meaning and our right to pass moral judgment.

The Buddhist skepticism that Pyrrho brought to Europe is logical and powerful. The West escaped its paralyzing influence only because thinkers such as St. Augustine succeeded in refuting it. Augustine affirmed the certainty of the human self because the Bible taught that God existed and had created man in his own image. Augustine also affirmed the validity of words. He believed language can communicate truth because communication is intrinsic to the triune God and man is made in the image of a God who communicates. Now, having rejected those biblical foundations, the West has no basis for escaping the Buddha's radical pessimism.

In spite of—or perhaps because of—his inner chaos, Cobain remained so popular that in 2008 the music industry ranked him as the number one "Dead Artist." His albums outsold Elvis Presley's. Years after his death, in 2002 his widow was able to sell the scraps and scribbles in his journals to Riverhead Books for (reportedly) four million dollars. Two decades ago, a publisher anywhere in the world would have rejected his notes as meaningless, misspelled graffiti. At the dawn of the twenty-first century in America, cultural gatekeepers rightly recognize that Cobain represents America's soullessness better than most celebrities. In a sample of relatively meaningful meaninglessness, he wrote:

I like punk rock. I like girls with weird eyes. I like drugs. (But my Body And mind won't allow me to take them.) I like passion. I like playing my cards wrong. I like vinyl. I like feeling guilty for being a white, American male. I love to sleep. I like to taunt small, barking dogs in parked cars. I like to make people feel happy and superior in their reaction towards my appearance. I like to have strong opinions with nothing to back them up with besides my primal sincerity. I like sincerity. I lack sincerity ... I like to complain and do nothing to make things better.

I have seen entries similar to Cobain's journals and lyrics in students' private diaries in art exhibitions in American colleges. Prior to Cobain, in the 1960s and '70s, countercultural students at these colleges believed they were on the cusp of inaugurating utopia. By Cobain's time they knew that nihilism leads only to escapism. Steven Blush studied the music of the early 1980s that directly preceded Cobain both chronologically and stylistically. Popularly it is called "hardcore," a genre marked by its brashness and intentional existence outside the mainstream. He concluded:

Hardcore was more than music—it became a political and social movement as well. The participants constituted a tribe unto themselves. Some of them were alienated or abused, and found escape in the hard-edged music. Some sought a better world or a tearing down of the status quo, and were angry. Most of them simply wanted to raise hell. Stark and uncompromising ... Lots of [messed]up kids "found themselves" through hardcore ... the aesthetic was intangible. Most bands couldn't really play that well, and their songs usually lacked craft. They expended little effort achieving prevailing production standards. However, they had IT—an infectious blend of ultra-fast music, thought provoking lyrics, and f[orget]-you attitude.

The postmodern "rebels without a cause" were

Living in a world of my own.

Cobain's music appealed to contemporary America because it was a full-throttled disharmony of rage, anguish, hatred, despair, meaninglessness, and obscenity. His song titles included "I Hate Myself, I Want to Die" and "Rape Me" (later changed to "Waife Me"). Most of what Cobain sang cannot be deciphered, and many of his lyrics that can be deciphered have no apparent meaning. Whether he knew it or not, his lyrics were Zen koans, counter-rational sayings such as "what is the sound of one hand clapping?" Such words do not make sense because (in the absence of revelation) reality itself makes no sense. Words are merely mantras—sounds without sense—to be chanted or shouted.

Cobain committed suicide because Nothingness as the ultimate reality does nothing positive. It cannot provide joy to the world, let alone meaning or hope for the mess in one's life. Its only consequence is to inspire people to seek an exit from the world—Nirvana. A culture of music does not flourish in the soil of nihilism. Cobain's gift as a musician blossomed because he had inherited a unique tradition of music.

Music seems a natural, perhaps even essential, part of life to the Western mind because it has been an integral part of traditional worship and education. For example, Oxford and Cambridge universities have played pivotal roles in shaping the second millennium. However, a person who has never visited these cities may not know that they are cities of churches and chapels. The chapel is the most important building in traditional colleges and a pipe organ is often the centerpiece of a chapel. That is not the case in every culture.

Turkmenistan is the latest country to put restrictions on music: on state holidays, in broadcasts by television channels, at cultural events organized by the state, in places of mass assembly, and at weddings and celebrations organized by the public. Nations such as Saudi Arabia have had restrictions on music for a long time. In Iran and Afghanistan, women cannot sing on the radio, let alone on television or in person before mixed audiences. In post-Saddam Iraq, radical Muslims have assassinated sellers of music CDs. Mosques do not have keyboards, organs, pianos, orchestras, or worship bands because according to traditional Islam, music is haraam or illegitimate.

These cultures see Western music as inextricably mixed with immoral debauchery. For them, musicians such as Kurt Cobain are undesirable role models. Indeed, on the cover of his album Nevermind, Cobain brazenly depicted the values he lived by: an infant with a long penis underwater reaching out to a dollar bill on a fishhook. On the back cover, Cobain's mascot, a chipmunk, sits on a vagina. Open debauchery was a part of "pagan" music until the Bible extricated music from it by recentering the locus of the music to God.

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit ... Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from THE BOOK THAT MADE YOUR WORLD by VISHAL MANGALWADI Copyright © 2011 by Vishal Mangalwadi. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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  • Posted June 25, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    For those that like a different perspective

    Although I’m not the religious type I do enjoy reading about philosophy and religious texts because I feel that there is always something to learn from them. Mangalwadi raised in India, brings in an interesting perspective on a text that has impacted nearly everyone on earth, the Bible.

    If you like to see a philosophical approach, yet biased it is a good book to read. What I did like about it was how it tied it to many of the things we know of such as pop culture, science, human rights and justice. Although interesting, there were many points in which I did not fully agree on because I thought that the author was very biased (but it is his book). I also didn’t like how some points (to me) seemed more like criticism of certain aspects of culture, for example pop culture. It isn’t for light reading, and if you’re willing to stick with it you might learn a thing or two as well. Overall this is one I would only recommend to those that like to learn something new or don’t mind a fresh perspective.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 11, 2012

    Historical Revisionism - writ large

    Religious conservatives will stop at nothing to push their ideological agenda. Even if it entails rewriting large parts of Western history. “What Made the West the Best?” If you haven’t read the book yet, the author actually has a section entitled that. I had a redneck racist uncle who also believed the same. The difference is, the author comes from a former colony and came up with all kinds of flattering reasons for his new Western hosts. Clearly he never learned from his colonialist British-trained schoolmaster that it’s not polite to gloat over your perceived cultural superiority. Besides, didn’t he ever learn that pride is one of the seven deadly sins?

    Moral and intellectual compromise is interrelated. The intellectual duplicity starts from the very first chapter in which he looks at music as a barometer for the slide in Western Civilization. A short summary: Science has a hard time explaining music. That proves it’s spiritual. (Medieval theologians said the same about disease, crop failure, planetary motion, etc.). Music is mathematical. Therefore, that proves God “encoded music into the structure of the universe.” There’s no mention of the mathematics of music in the Bible but because a single verse in Job says “the stars sang together” that proves the Bible has a better (non-mathematical) explanation of music than even ancient Greek mathematical explanations. Music was a traditional component of pre-Reformation medieval education (my observation). Hundreds of years later, Luther also thought music should be taught in schools. That proves the Bible was responsible for music in the West. There’s no mention of the other religious reformers who banned it. Because monks built complex organs, that proves good Christian music helped contribute the West’s technological superiority. It couldn’t possibly be the other way around. Western civilization is now still making music based on the same mathematically derived harmonic principles. That’s irrelevant because there was this drug-addled rocker, Kurt Cobain, who committed suicide. Reader beware! This proves that without the Bible, we’ll all eventually end up creating bad music, sinking into despair, and becoming like Cobain!

    It’s like this chapter after chapter. Sometimes I had to wonder if the author was being facetious. OK, big proof everyone that the Bible was responsible for liberty and democracy. Ready? Well, there’s this great statue of Huguenot colonists holding a Bible in South Africa! What?? Did Huguenots ever develop a democratic society in South Africa? By this point, I wasn’t surprised that the author viewed the progenitors of apartheid as heroic. Onward Christian soldiers!

    And so it goes. The author cherry-picks history when convenient, revises large portions of history that aren’t convenient, and then attempts to tie it all together in mind-numbing bouts of tortuous logic. All for the glory of God. Mangalwadi has constructed a reality in his own mind whereby the Bible ought to be responsible for all that is good and beautiful in the world. Therefore, it must be true. Why do people read this stuff? I suppose it feeds their prejudices. Only now, those good ol’ pro-colonists, pro-nationalists, pro-capitalists ethnocentric Christian patriots have a new brown-skinned boy to carry water and chop wood for them. Some authors will do anything to gain an audience. Intellectual and moral compromise is a slippery slope.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    This book will change how you see the world around you.

    A learned man who was raised in Indian culture, telling the world how the Bible has made it what it is today. It's an extremely powerful and uplifting book to read. He gives the facts, he shares personal stories, and he makes it an enjoyable read.

    One of my favorite quotes is, "Postmodern people see little point in reading books that do not contribute directly to their career or pleasure." Which I believe makes for a sad state of affairs in this world. You need to learn about the world you are living in and where it came from in order to know where it's going.

    Reading the challenges that the Bible has gone through in order to get into the hand of every person on this planet is amazing (and still on going). The effect the Bible has had on people explains so much about the world around us. As the Bible has been translated and placed into the hands of the common man, we have realized that we can think for ourselves and that there is something better for us out there if only we Ask, Seek, and Knock.

    I cannot explain as completely and eloquently as Mr Mangalwadi has. So go out and get yourself a copy and read for yourself how the Bible has changed the world. And then go and grab a copy of the Bible and see how it can change you.

    I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

    From the publisher: 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

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  • Posted September 17, 2011

    Solid Resource

    When I chose this book to review, I had the completely wrong idea about it. I was expecting a simplified "Did you know...?" approach to the impact the Bible has had on modern day civilization. This was definitely the wrong impression. Vishal Mangalwadi's book is more of a mixture of personal anecdotes alongside broad strokes of history that illustrate the contributions of the Bible to the realms of philosophy, technology, education, and politics.

    Reading Mangalwadi's account of the Indian perspective of the Bible was fascinating and illuminating. In writing this book, he is facing head-on a main charge from many secularists today: mainly, that the Bible is a harmful force in society, a force that deconstructs and overturns culture and knowledge. Mangalwadi, through his account of history, illustrates the vital role the Bible has played in developing Western civilization.

    I think this book is a solid resource for Christians who desire to know how the Bible impacted Western civilization. I would not, however, reccomend the book to those who disagree as Mangalwadi's bias is very strong throughout the book. I also disliked how strictly Protestant the book was. I would have enjoyed more on the impact of different traditions as well. Mangalwadi's writing also gets bogged down by lengthy quotes at some points. I read this as an e-book, and sometimes they are more distracting in that format than in print.

    I recieved this book from Booksneeze for review, and gave my honest opinion.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Thought-provoking book!

    The Book That Made Your World by Vishal Mangalwadi is a very in-depth and interesting study about how the Bible has made such an impact on our world. I was given a complimentary copy the publisher, and had I known it was close to 500 pages, I might not have requested it, due to my busy life as a working and homeschooling mom of 4. After I made it through the first 50 pages about Kurt Cobain and his music, I was very much interested in the history of how the Bible's teachings have affected my life personally as well as lives of others who lived long ago. Reading the personal information about the author's life in India was also insightful, because I do lack awareness regarding life in other cultures.

    I figured that I would probably just nod and agree with a lot of the content, but I was very much surprised to read things that made me appreciate how different and liberating a Bible-based culture is. I found that a lot of my questions about world history and the differences between Bible-believing cultures and other cultures were answered. I was impressed by the way the author showed how the Bible and biblical principles have influenced literature, science, medicine, and education in both large and small ways. I felt a new-found appreciation for not only the change that the Bible can make in one individual, but the changes that have taken place for entire cultures throughout our history. With each chapter, I found something new to highlight and share with my family, which made for some good discussion time. When my children are older, I will have them read this book as part of our homeschooling.

    * As I said, I received this book from the publisher, but I was not obligated to post a positive review, and all opinions are my own.

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  • Posted July 2, 2011

    An interesting perspective, to be sure

    Perhaps nothing says more about our Western culture than the fact that when I read a name like Vishal Mangalwadi, I assumed he was not a Christian. As it turns out, I was wrong.

    Mangalwadi is a Christ Follower - a radical one at that. He turned to Christ during his college education and has walked a long road of comparing his faith in the Scriptures to the other world faiths he has encountered.

    Ultimately, his conclusion is that all we consider foundational to our Western society is defined by the Bible. Morality, human dignity, democracy and many of our foundational ideas come directly from the Bible. He argues quite convincingly that the things we consider 'universal' are only universal within cultures that began with the Bible.

    The Book That Made Your World is fascinating because it comes at the major issues of western secularism from an obtuse angle. Rather than trying to compare Christian and secular values, Mangalwadi shows us the absence of the shared Western values and then points to the Scriptures. He demonstrates the source of these ideas, and makes it plain that without the source, the ideas are meaningless.

    It is easy to try to reject the Bible as revelation without considering its significant, even overshadowing, contribution to our society. To reject the Bible is to reject our very identity. An honest atheist must then be honest enough to reject the western code of morality, government, human dignity and even basic logic. All these things derive from the Scriptures and their direct influence on our culture as a whole.

    One of the most interesting things about The Book That Made Your World is that Mangalwadi does not go back to the ancient or medieval periods to see the origins of these ideas. He goes to the Reformation - the 'rebirth' of the study of the Scriptures. He shows that it has only been since the Reformation that our culture has been so significantly altered, although the truths were evident all along the way.

    I found Mangalwadi's book to be intriguing. It could have done with a bit more editing because it becomes redundant at times, but all the same the themes are valid arguments for the exaltation of the Scriptures in our culture. He does a good job of demonstrating that Western culture is not innately superior to other cultures. It is buoyed up by the reliance on the Scriptures, and when we abandon the Scriptures as the authority of our culture - that is when we get in trouble.

    Disclaimer: I received a free e-book copy of The Book that Made Your World from the publisher without expectation of a positive review.

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  • Posted May 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Book That Made Your World

    "The Book That Made Your World", by Vishal Mangalwadi, is a collection of thoughts and ideas which formed our world as we know it today. How often we take for granted just how our lives are shaped and managed. Mangalwadi, takes the reader on the pathway of just how the Bible influenced the way the Western Civilized world works. "The Book That Made Your World", is actually a history book, that of a history of how the Bible shaped our world.



    In this collection the three different types of judgements are noted.

    (1.) Moral Judgments - This is good; that is evil
    (2.) Aesthetic Judgments - This is beautiful; that is ugly

    and

    (3.) Epistemological Judgments - That is true; this is false

    From these judgments we can start to see just how the Bible became the force that globalized Western civilization.



    Written in a text book way of forming of the ideas and taking the beginnings of civilization, Mangalwadi, expresses just how the Bible influenced how both Western Civilization took hold of the ideals of the Bible and Biblical teachings while the areas of the world such as Islam and Buddists cultures view their beginnings in such a different way.

    At the beginning of Part Three is a quote which identifies with America. "The Bible was one book that literate Americans in the seventeenth eighteenth, and ninetheenth centuries could be expected to know well. Biblical imagery proveded the basic framework for imaginative thought in America up until quite recent times and, unconsciously, its control is still formidable." - Robert N. Bellah

    This previous quote shows just how the West took hold of the Bible and ran with it, so to speak, forming nations filled with Bible believers and people who went to the Bible for the answers to their questions.

    I must say that I did find this book hard to read, but I also found it full of important information that everyone should be ready to explore. Once into this book, you will find all kinds of interesting information. Now we must figure out how to take our heritage and shout it from the rooftops. It will be a path most likely to be hard to follow, but with rewards beyond comprehension.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2011

    Author OBSESSED FAN of Kurt Cobain - this is his fan book

    I h@ted this book. I h@ted it so much! It was a complete let down and so so painful and boring to read! The Intro was so boring! Then the first chapter was de@th! It starts off talking about the importance of having a spiritual life. The idea is that if you don't have a spiritual life, your life will have no meaning. It uses Kurt Cobain lead singer of US grunge rock band as an example of what you may become if you have no spiritual life - a guy who blows his brains out with a shottguun. So you go, well, that's not me or anyone I know, but okay.... And you try to keep reading. But the book turns really stuuupid! It goes into music appreciation - how God created the world with music built into the creation mathematically. Okay. But all the paragraphs are disjointed. The author is clearly obsessed and in love with Kurt Cobain because he is brought up again and again and again to the point this is ridiculous! I thought this was supposed to be a REAL book. An intelligent book? This is not supposed to be a Kurt Cobain fan book! Oh... and for those who didn't know.... per Wikipedia, this guy was so "different" from others that he demanded/insisted on using a naked baby boy with a long pen.is as the cover of his CD. And the back? Wikipedia says he took pictures of diseased vag.inas (from his private medical collection? whut da f?) and put them on the back cover. siiick. Is it any surprise he blew his brains out? You have to have a pretty weird mind to get off on such images.

    Disclaimer: Received book free from Book Sneeze. Gave honest review.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2011

    Western Civ., The Bible, and What Your Teachers Probably Didn't Tell You In School

    In an age when America wants to remove the Ten Commandments from its courthouses, and evict "In God We Trust" from its paper currency, Vishal Mangalwadi's book, The Book That Made Your World: How The Bible Created The Soul Of Western Civilization, is a much needed text.

    A native of India, Mangalwadi became a Christian at a young age, only to have his faith tested when he studied philosophy at secular universities and Hindu ashrams. His curiosity pricked, Mangalwadi set out to see if the Bible's claim that all nations would be blessed through Abraham's seed was true, especially for his own country.

    In The Book That Made Your World, Mangalwadi answers the questions, why had Western civilizations advanced in ways India and other Eastern countries had not? What did the West have that the East did not? His conclusion? The Bible.

    Throughout the chapters of The Book That Made Your World, Mangalwadi unpacks just how much the Bible plays into Western thought, philosophy, and law. He also reveals how the West's abandonment of the Bible and its precepts is causing it to decline. As a Christian Easterner from the outside looking in, Mangalwadi is particularly suited for the task, and he does it well.

    I can't recommend this book enough. Reading it gave me a new appreciation for the power of God's Word, and a new understanding of how blessed I am to live where I do. If you are looking for a read that is informative, jarring, encouraging, and illuminating, read The Book That Made Your World.

    I received a free copy of this book from BookSneeze in exchange for my honest review.

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  • Posted May 2, 2011

    The Book That Made Your World

    In his new work, The Book That Made Your World; How The Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization, Indian Christian Vishal Mangalwadi has written an impressive and relevant book that I believe settles the age old question that the Bible is simply a collection of stories and fables with no value for today. The Book That Made Your World handles the Bible's influence on the western world with solid fact, concrete reasoning, and appropriate personal testimony, when coupled together, reveal the power of the Living Word to change the face of civilization. Mangalwadi sets out to demonstrate how the Bible has affected, and in fact influenced, many areas of lives as westerners that we may not have considered, or have been willing to accept. The author breaks the Bible's influence into broad categories. He then gives detail, through the Bible itself, and other academic works that supports his thesis. For example, Mangalwadi demonstrates how the Bible has enabled women to find a place in society and be empowered to make a difference. He demonstrates how the early-held idea of what makes a hero has changed with the biblical demonstration of a hero. The Bible, as the author writes, changed forever the platform in which education was received. Other areas of biblical influences such as language, science, technology, morality, wealth, and compassion are discussed as well. This is very interesting and long book (almost 400 pages) and at times seemed dry and purely academic. Yet, it is well worth your patience. Mangalwadi's work is not directed solely toward those in professional ministry. This was my first reading of Vishal Mangalwadi. I want to read more of his work. The layout of this book allows it to be understood and embraced by all who want to know exactly how the Bible has influenced western civilization. A very powerful reminder that God's written Word is alive and active. I recommend this book highly. The Book That Made Your World would be enjoyed by historians, as well those simply curious about the Bible. I received a copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.

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  • Posted April 13, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent for a Christian curriculum

    Unfortunately, Christians have generally forgotten how influential the Bible was in the development of Western Civilization. Vishal's book is a reminder that it is critical that Christians realize the influence of the Christian worldview on the development of Western Civilization. This is especially important for our young people to know since so much of the history they have been exposed to presents Christianity in an extremely negative way. Vishal does a masterful job of bringing that truth back to us with his very badly needed book. I highly recommend it for any Christian educational curriculum, especially if you are homeschooling. Quite readable, yet very in-depth content. This is a keeper that you will want for your own personal library.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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