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.