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In a day when Christians are often attacked for their beliefs, this provocative and enlightening book looks at the positive influence of Christianity, both historically and today. Unimaginable guides readers through the halls of history to see how Jesus' teachings dramatically changed the world and continue to be the most powerful force for good today.
|Publisher:||Baker Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents
Part I The World Before Christianity
1 Our Sense of the Divine 25
2 A World of Suffering 32
3 A World of Fear 40
4 A World of Inequality 51
5 A World of Bondage: Racism 62
Part II The World Without Christianity
6 A Slippery Slope 73
7 Dehumanizing Humanity 86
8 Atheism and the Broken Soul 96
9 "Superman" Arrives 108
10 Hitler's Hell on Earth 119
11 When Truth Is What You Want It to Be 129
Part III The World With Christianity
12 Jesus' Tour de Force: Good News for All People 149
13 New Hope: Jesus and His Proclamation 159
14 New Life: What Made Christianity Irresistible? 169
15 Christianity Ends Racism and Slavery 180
16 Without Jesus, Women Would Not Be Free 187
17 Healing the Unimaginable in Your Life 195
About the Author 237
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book was very remarkable writing and compelling to read with also drawing us to attend and showing us of how the world without Christianity would be a dark place. This book will guides us through the halls of history to see how Jesus teaching dramatically changed our world and continue to be the most powerful force for good today. I highly recommend to everyone must to read this book. “ I received complimentary a copy of this book from Bethany House for this review”.
Jeremiah J. Johnston’s Unimaginable discusses what our world would be like without Christianity. He discusses how Christianity has stood against the evils of slavery (more than once) racism and injustices toward women and children. The book guides the reader through history to see how Jesus’s teachings have changed our world and continue to be the powerful force for good today. Johnston organizes the book in three parts: 1. The World before Christianity 2. The World without Christianity 3. The world with Christianity Who is Jeremiah J. Johnston? He is known for his communication and his infectious love for people. He is President of Christian Thinkers Society. His passion is working with local churches and pastors in equipping Christians to give intellectually informed accounts of what they believe. He speaks in churches of all denominations. He has spoken on Fox News, CBS This Morning, Vanity Fair, Premier Christianity Magazine & Premier radio, RELEVANT Magazine, DECISION magazine, The Christian Post, Moody Radio Network, Salem Radio Network, numerous networks affiliate television stations. He explores questions such as: Is God Dying? What really caused the church to expand and explain? Christians were accused of atheism, for they did not acknowledge the existence of the Greco-Roman gods and refused to worship the emperor as the Son of God (p.59 para.3). Throughout his book, he talks about a variety of good and bad leaders throughout history. Leaders he discusses are Ludwig Feuerbach, Charles Paquin, Karl Marx, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Margaret Mead, Alfred Kinsey, Bertrand Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre, Hitler. What have I taken from this book? I learned a lot of evil leaders and people who have turned away from God is because of bad parents and parents scramming religious beliefs down their throat. For example, Richard Darwin was sent to Anglican Boarding School where he was molested. Johnston has a lot of interesting facts such as “Christians established the first universities. Hemergeal in Paris in the 1100s and into the 1800s (p.155).” Yes, I have found Unimaginable very interesting, but also stresses throughout the book Christians are perfect. If you don’t follow Him then your sins won’t be forgiven. The only way to be perfect in Gods light is to be praying every day with no distractions and going to church. I put my heart and soul into God, however, I don’t believe in religion. I believe religion creates violence. I do however believe whole heartily in God and pray a lot to him. People tell me I am not a Christian because I don’t go to church. This is the problem. I feel the church shouldn’t be the only way to connect with God. I found the ultimate goal of Johnston’s Unimaginable is to shed a new light on old questions: Does God love me? How do I know? Does God still work in the world? Is there a divine purpose in my life? Only in viewing God rightly we can see ourselves correctly and learn to love rather than hate those around us. Who are also beloved by a heavenly father (p. 196 para 5). Would I recommend this book? Yes. Like I said it had some really interesting information. There aren't any study questions in the back of the book, but it still would be a good book for Bible study.
What would the world be like if Christianity never existed or if it ever ceased to exist? This is a question Jeremiah Johnston seeks to answer in his book Unimaginable. Some might say the idea of counterfactuals (alternative history) is pointless and even impossible to know. But Johnston argues that looking at what the world was like before Christianity and looking at parts of the world where there is little evidence of Christianity can help us draw some conclusions about a world without Christianity. Unimaginable is divided into three parts. I. The World Before Christianity II. The World Without Christianity and III. The World With Christianity. It's not hard to look at the world around us and see that many cultures which were previously defined as Christian are becoming more and more secular. Johnston makes the point that even though people are more educated today than they've ever been, we don't learn from history and what Christianity has done for the world. He works through what the world was like before Jesus walked on the earth and we can see the hardships many suffered and the atrocities men committed against each other. Then he focuses on the dangers of more modern ideas (think Marx, Freud, Nietzsche, etc) and the horrors these ideas brought on mankind (Hitler, Mussolini, etc). These ideas are utterly counter-Christian and the consequences were devastating. In the last section, Johnston looks at the good Christianity has done in the world. When people are valued as created in the image of God, the world transforms. Johnston did a wonderful job of gathering information. Sometimes it was even overwhelming. He obviously did his homework. He makes it easy to see the good Christianity has done over the last 2000 years, and it's not hard to imagine how much worse off we'd be if it hadn't been a prominent force in the world. He even makes it personal in the last chapter so you can see the impact of Christianity on your own life. I had two main issues with his arguments. The first issue is that he ignores or glosses over some of the horrible things people have done in the name of Jesus. I think his argument would be that those weren't actual Christians and they would have committed those horrors in some other name if Christianity wasn't around. I agree with that, but I also don't think you can simply ignore things like the Crusades and those who justified slavery with Scripture. The second issue is, I think, inherent in arguing counterfactuals. And that's knowing the difference between causation and correlation. Some of the good that has come from Christianity that he mentioned most likely was caused, at least in part, by something else entirely. The biggest example I saw was that students who attended private Christian schools were more successful. While I'm sure faith in schools makes a huge difference, studies have shown that high socioeconomic status and parental involvement play a large part of the success of students. These things are more common for those who can afford private school, but they are not always a result of Christianity (especially the wealth). There are just too many factors in some of these examples for them to be clear cut. Overall, I thought Unimaginable was very well done. Some of the information was new to me, but a lot of it was just a good reminder of what I already knew. And the more we know about history, the better decisions we can make in the future. I received this book for free from Bethany House.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher. Here is my honest review. Let me begin by saying that I did honestly enjoy this book. It took me almost two months to read it. It lived up to my expectations of chronicling the impact of Christianity in our world, past and present. It exceeded my expectations in the actual writing style. Johnston has thoroughly researched this topic and presents it in a scholarly way, which meant I had to engage my brain in a way I haven't since college. Not only was I impressed with the depth that his research provides, I am in awe of the author's ability to condense 2,000 years of history into a small number of pages. Yet doing so does not weaken his argument. The book is divided into three parts: The World Before Christianity, The World Without Christianity and The World With Christianity. While I took many courses of history in college, I don't recall any one class being dedicated to Ancient History which made that portion of the book really interesting. The perspective it provided to that life and it's correlation to life in "Bible times" was eye-opening for me. What really struck me was the echo of past history, political and religious atmospheres that can be found in our world today. "What we find is that for all the claims of religious tolerance and inclusivity, it turns out that the Greco-Roman world was not so tolerant after all. In effect, the policy was something like this: "You may worship any gods you wish, but you must revere and support our gods as well." Religious rights and equality were extended to those who followed the party line, Christians, along with atheists, did not and so were persecuted." (pg 61) Johnston makes it clear that Christianity has brought freedom and equality to the world. These concepts being extended to the vast majority of the population was unimaginable in Jesus' time; it is unimaginable in America to consider that they would not exist. This book had me constantly referring to the endnotes and going in search of more information on the events and people that Johnston portrays in this book. I definitely think this book is worth the read.
The first thing I want to say is I didn't get this book until recently. Yet, upon reading it I was simply hooked. What would our world look like without Christianity? Up until the age of enlightenment, which started in the early 1800s to late 1800s, Christianity flourished quite well. I already knew this, but to see that Jeremiah Johnson put that within the pages of this book made me realize I wasn't alone in thinking Christianity started taking a backseat approach to our lives. Jeremiah Johnson gives this view of what the world looked like in ancient times, providing source after source. And as he comes along with the book, he shows how those views crept back into society over the past three hundred years. To simply name what life without Christ looks like, here are some groups of people who are marginalized, both in antiquity and eve in these days--women, children (mostly female), the disabled or deformed, the elderly, and those of other cultures. It's not safe anywhere in this world. On one hand it's hard to be a Christian outside of the United States. At the same time where Communism has fallen, or even been pushed aside as people see the system not working anymore, Christianity has been coming back into those countries, and guess what? People are flocking to Christ! So, is it true that we have no need for Jesus Christ or God these days? I don't believe so, and in Jeremiah's book here he argues that the love true followers of Christ show is what true Christianity looks like. I have to give him credit where credit is due here. He put in his time and effort to nail each point down and to make things clear for everyone. He employs a good and direct use of explaining things, from how people regarded the gods of antiquity, how they treated one another, and how both of these have crept back into society under the guise of "modern thinking." The funny thing is it's not exactly modern thinking, it's still the same thinking of the ancients. This thinking perverts the message and gospel of Christ that says, "There is no God. There is no hope. Abandon hope and faith here." Sorry, I refuse to do so. I believe Johnson has done a great and credible job, in the name of Jesus Christ, in showing how faith has helped society to be made right with God. The further we complicate things by rationalizing away that God cannot help anyone, the more we show God's work as being accurate: "'A prophet is without honor only in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his own household,' [Jesus tells us]. So He could not perform any miracles there, except to lay His hands on a few of the sick and heal them. And amazed at their unbelief, He went around teaching from village to village" (Mark 6:4-6, Berean Study). Without faith we cannot expect to have the blessing of God on our lives, much less expect to have God heal us, to be evident within and flowing out of the core of who we are. It's like Jesus told those who believed they were well, "It is not those who are well who need a physician; but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:31-32, New American Standard). I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House in the hopes of honest feedback.
Wow, an eye opening read! I learned some new things about history. Dr Jeremiah J Johnston, PhD, is a New Testament Scholar and has a great website, www.christianthinkers.com ,. He starts his book off, opening with the cultural history of Rome and it's condition morally, in 1 BC. Before Christ came. How Archaeologists uncovered a temple dated to 10,000 BC, and he goes on to explain religious formation in early antiquity. He explains the societies in late antiquity, the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, and their religious beginnings, and what they believed. So, this is not a book of the Authors opinion, but of related data from factual historical documents, and archaeology, explaining what a mess this world would be in, if not for Christ coming to this earth and providing the sacrifice for our sins like He did, and rising from the dead and giving whoever will (John 3:16), new life, a clean slate, and hope for the future (Jeremiah 29:11). It goes on the tell us that "without God, something always fill the void", and a world without Christ. Wow. This book is a needful read. It ends with the Good News, the World after Christ came, and the impact it is having on the World today. Good News, Hope and new life, and healing for society, one person at a time, is what has transpired "after Christ came". What makes Christianity "irresistible"? You have to read this book. I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I highly recommend this book.
The author of Unimaginable, Dr. Jeremiah Johnston, has written this book to aid both Christians and non-believers in appreciating the events that occurred in the past, especially those we need to avoid repeating in the future. He begins his task by asking this question: What would the world be like if Christianity had not emerged, and what would happen if Christianity disappeared today? This is something that's not really as difficult to understand as it may seem. Through extensive and careful research the author presents to his readers what the world was like before Jesus appeared on the scene. That's the topic of the first of three sections. What we read in this part of the book may just surprise many people. The second section refreshes our memories of a group of men who at the early part of the nineteenth century turned their backs on the Christian world. Their influence led the Western world in the name of Enlightenment into bloodbath after bloodbath. It is not a pleasant part of world history. The third section introduces the idea that in spite of the philosophies of these influential men, Christianity continued to instill in its followers the value of life and human dignity. This led to humanitarian efforts that spread all throughout the world to every corner of the earth, including the world in which we presently live. Trying to imagine what it would be like if faith-based humanitarian aid was never sent to areas in America affected by fire, floods, storms, and illness is taxing. Try to imagine what the health situation of the countries without healthcare offered by faith-based hospitals and other care organizations is almost impossible. These three sections are short and written in conversational manner, making this book approachable for nearly anyone. In reading these parts, I got the sense that Dr. Johnston was sharing with us only the very tip of the iceberg. There was so much more he could have shared in this book. But one of the things I have noticed about the author is that his purpose is to communicate what is important to his listeners or readers. He didn't get lost in the details. He is an intellectual that instead of preferring to stay isolated in a bubble away from everyone else, wants to reach out and assist people with understanding the "why" behind his assertions. I have watched some of his speaking engagements on You Tube and was impressed with his personable mannerism. His is truly a mission of the heart. For me, the true gold of this book is in the references. In reading through all the pages of references Dr. Johnston includes in the book, I realized how much more in depth we could read and learn. His sources are scholarly and wide reaching. This is the part of the book that can offer more if you have an inquisitive friend who isn't satisfied with the interpretation the author offers. That makes this book a great resource, not only for yourself but for others who want to know more. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a review copy of this book from Cross Focused Reviews on behalf of Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group. I was not required to write a review, positive or otherwise. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”