I’ve just finished reading The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created The Soul of Western Civilization by Vishal Mangalwadi. A really good read. Just to touch on the subjects it covers, here’s a copy of it’s index (with my comments in italics):
Part I The Soul of Western Civilization
1. The West Without Its Soul: From Bach to Cobain
A reasonable introduction to the loss of meaning in the West: without meaning, there is no drive to improve, or to make things better.
Now, a man can reasonably disagree with me, and claim that in the West, “better” means more fornication, more welfare, less responsibility, and an ever-expanding welfare state. Fair enough: that would make a good definition for baby-boomers, judging by their actions. The problem is that younger people may enjoy their whoring, but don’t care for the lack of jobs and the declining hope of things ever getting better.
Sure, they may never have families or children, or care for them, but they are not particularly happy living with their parents, without hope of any independent living. Numerous illiterate black families in the ghettos need never worry about food, housing or medical care, but their reaction isn’t happiness, but hatred (of self, other blacks, and whites), drug use, and violence. Same deal for the Muslims in Europe: it is not religion per se that drives their hatred, but the lack of jobs or a future as anything but as a ward of the State.
Power-elite liberals may rejoice, but the poor man does not. Neither does his woman/women. Neither does his children.
And what happens with the welfare state dies, in Europe and America?
Part II: A Personal Pilgrimage
2. Service: Or a Ticket to Jail?
What drives a man to serve his Hindu neighbours? Hint: it isn’t Marx. Nor is it caste-driven Hinduism, which sees no need to lift a finger when it comes to people ‘suffering for their sins in a past life’.
3. Quest: Can Blind Men Know the Elephant?
Summary: You can either insist on God being unknowable – and so escape any possibility of judgement – or listen to the man who can see, and heed his words.
4. Self: Am I like Dog or God?
Islam insists that we are as nothing before God. Atheism insists that we are of no significance. Unlike the State, which atheistic cultures typically reveres and adores above all things in our supposedly meaningless existence – because of its power to kill and steal, of course.
Jesus teaches us something… different. He is of value before God, and He has given Christians of His flesh and blood, so we can share in His worth. Even unbelieving humans are of great worth in our Father’s eyes: else, why would He send His Son to die for them?
Part III: The Seeds of Western Civilization
5. Humanity: What Is the West’s Greatest Discovery?
Sophisticated Moderns have routinely claimed that it is the Greeks who teach us how to be human. Now, that’s delusional: the only thing those Greeks taught was submission to some Above-the-Law Philosopher-King with his Noble Lies and thirst for limitless power ‘for the Good of All’.
The party or official ideology of Our Masters is utterly beside the point… but we all knew that already.
It is God who gives us human worth, not some lying self-adoring State.
Naturally, then, Christians should not thirst for political power, or howl for revolution: that’s just replacing Oppressor A with Oppressor B. Build up your own home, your own neighbourhood, your own local county and town, decade after decade: that’s the way forward!
6. Rationality: What Made the West a Thinking Civilization?
Since the Bible is a logical book, that assumes an orderly Lord that designed the Cosmos and the Earth as a blessing for all men – something we should learn from, following His footsteps – it is natural that Christianity is the fount of orderly, reasonable civilizations. As opposed to escapist cultures, or crushing tyrannies.
7. Technology: Why Did Monks Develop It?
My favourite quote: “The Egyptians living along the Nile built the pyramids while barbarians inhabited Western Europe. The problem was that the engineers who made pyramids to honor the bones of kings and queens did not bother making wheelbarrows for their slaves.”
Work is honourable, in God’s eyes, but time is valuable, so technology is needed as well. He has given us brains and eyes for a reason.
Part IV: The Millennium’s Revolution
8: Heroism: How Did a Defeated Messiah Conquer Rome?
The self-sacrificial love of God provides salvation. Not swords or the acclaim of the masses.
9: Revolution: What Makes Translators World Changers?
Spreading the truth means the spread of life everlasting. The Bible displays the foundation of Truth itself for all who wish to read, and on this solid ground, great victories and profound joy may be build up.
Part V: The Intellectual Revolution
10: Languages: How was Intellectual Power Democratized?
The power of the Bible was no longer hidden behind a dead language, allowing only a select priesthood access to its life-giving waters.
11: Literature: why Did Pilgrims Build Nations?
The Bible depicts free agents that can really change their nations, for good or ill. We follow and live this truth, and naturally write about it, giving rise to the novel. But it couldn’t happen until the Bible was brought into our native languages.
12: University: Why Educate Your Subjects?
For India, the Christian University was essential to bringing in the desire for liberty. But I admit, here I disagree with the author, seeing the University only a State/Church (nowadays, just a State) way to control thought. But the days of the Establishment University will be drawing to a close in the coming decades, thanks to the Internet…
13: Science: What Is Its Source?
God created the world, and invited His children to understand and master it. With our minds, as well as our hands and our muscles. The rest naturally follows.
Part VI: What Made the West the Best?
14: Morality: Why Are Some Less Corrupt?
If God Sees and God Judges, increased self-control naturally follows.
The State, on the other hand, can be easily blinded by bribes, friendships, and family connections.
15: Family: Why Did America Surge Ahead of Europe?
Family is father and mother and children, not a patriarchal clan. With independent families, young men mature and are given both authority and responsibility, and as a rule maturity follows. No maturity? Then the man will suffer the pain of an unhappy family.
16: Compassion: Why Did Caring Become Medical Commitment?
Christ did nor leave the sick to die, but healed them. Christians naturally strive to follow in His footsteps.
17: True Wealth: How Did Stewardship Become Spirituality?
Money here is meant to be spent in expanding Christ noble and compassionate kingdom. Not as a tool to build some kind of worthless monument to ourselves, or to secure a life of indulgent ease and pleasure.
18: Liberty: Why Did Fundamentalism Produce Freedom?
God is the King, and all are equal under His Law. And obedience to His Law naturally brings happiness and success: no need to steal from Unbelievers or envy those wealthier than you…
Part VII: Globalizing Modernity
19: Mission: Can Stone Age Tribes Help Globalization?
It is Christ that reaches out to all in their own language – and encourages them to change the world for the better!
20: The Far Future: Must the Sun Set on the West?
Not if the West repents.