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Idols For Destruction: The Conflict of Christian Faith and American Culture Paperback – Jun 15 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway; Rep Sub edition (June 15 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891077383
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891077381
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.1 x 2.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #794,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D Glover TOP 500 REVIEWER on Feb. 11 2010
Format: Paperback
I am only about a quarter of the way through this excellent book but it has thus far proven to be a clear and erudite critique of the various ideas that set themselves up in opposition to the God of the Christian faith. Schlossberg shows how the many ideologies of our present culture and time are not so much held by people as people are held by their ideologies. Far from being in control of the ideas they believe, people are actually controlled by those ideas because people are by nature, first and foremost, worshippers. This is even more fundamental to the human condition than the ability for rational thought. As worshippers, people are inherently religious and so any worldview one holds takes on the nature of religious faith, even for self-professed secularists and atheists. But...more on this later. So far, this is great.
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Amazon.com: 10 reviews
69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
Examine your preconceptions. Dec 5 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The power of your worldview lies in the fact that it is hidden. It is a collection of your underlying beliefs and assumptions which color all of your thinking, yet is rarely examined openly. Idols for Destruction is a challenging read, but well worth the effort for those who would like to gain a fresh perspective on the worldviews that they have unconciously adopted. The author writes from a Christian perspective, and most people will probably not agree with all of his ideas, but he systematically goes through most of the 20th century influences on Western thought and compares them with a traditional Judeo-Christian world view. He does an excellent job in drawing out the implications of the various philosophical systems and providing examples of how they are manifest in modern culture. The most useful things I have gained from this book are first, a review of most of the philosophies which have shaped this century and a heightened awareness of what worldview is implicitly expressed by various thinkers and writers. This helps me to be a more critical thinker and to analyze people's arguments better. The second thing I have gained is the realization that there are other options then whatever worldview happens to be the most popular today. This has opened up whole new areas of thought and allowed me to understand a much broader range of ideas by people who have differing worldviews. This book is very well documented. It helps if you have had a college cource on Philosophy or have a quick reference book to help you to understand all of his references to philosophical and moral systems. It is not casual reading, and it will force you to do some hard thinking, but it is well worth the effort.
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
The destructiveness of idolatry for every aspect of society Jan. 27 2008
By B. C. Richards - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is an extensive and thoroughly researched examination of the ruinous consequences of the unbelieving thought that in the last hundred years has saturated our culture. Schlossberg argues that in all areas of thought our approach to reality is always determined by specifically religious assumptions, such as our theories of knowledge, history, value, and the future. These are assumptions that we rarely consider, but determine the results of our thinking, and subsequently, our action. As secularization in our culture has progressed, we have substituted what is created for the Creator, and placed the created reality at the top of our pyramid of values, with disastrous consequences. This constitutes the idolatry.

From this framework, Schlossberg examines many of the various idols that we have erected in this way. These include: history as an autonomous and inexorable unfolding of a closed system of necessary events; humanism, which elevates humans to the status of gods, but inevitably leads to a materialistic evaluation of them and a dehumanization of the people it professes to help; money, evaluated from the standpoint of an institutionalization of envy that believes that no one should have more than anyone else and the forced redistribution of wealth and crushing of motivation and incentive to succeed that it entails; nature, which is viewed through the lens of a philosophical naturalism that combines with secular humanism to dehumanize people; power, which resides exclusively in the state, and makes the state (and therefore the individuals who rule it) the source of, and therefore above, the law; and finally religion, which tends to blindly embrace whatever trends happen to be dominant in a culture and therefore ends up supporting, rather than casting down, the idols erected by the unbelieving world. In the final two chapters, he makes some predictions about where our idolatry will take us, and addresses how Christians should face the gods of an idolatrous age.

This book seems to have been first published in 1983, but I think that the analysis and research are outstanding, and the conclusions are probably more inescapable now than they were 25 years ago. Some examples are: "We should understand totalitarianism to refer not to the severity of the regime . . . but rather the scope of its purview. A totalitarian regime is one that seeks to control every aspect of communal life, and to bring as much of private life as possible into the sphere of the communal"; ". . . the attempt to be contemporaneous, which is to say relevant, ensures the irrelevance of theologies and churches." I was amazed by the parallels between this book and Herman Bavinck's "Philosophy of Revelation" (1908), which are very similar in methodology and are well worth reading together, which I did by accident. I heartily recommend this book - it should absolutely be required reading for all western Christians.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
One of Chip's Top Ten (wordsntone.com) Sept. 10 2005
By Stephen M. Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A bit heady, but worth it. Schlossberg writes as a Christian and systematically goes through the 20th century influences on Western thought and compares them with a traditional Judeo-Christian worldview. This is a thinking book-and will cause you to think past your "in the box" notions about our faith. As the author quotes, "He who marries the spirit of an age, soon finds himself a widower."
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A five-time read Aug. 5 2005
By No King But Christ - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read this book three times in the last five or six months and will read it again before the year is over. Why? The language is elevated and the concepts are deep. Multiple reads are the way to mine this treasure for all it is worth.

As for content, I concur with the observations made in the previous review entitled "Examine your preconceptions". Adding anything more would be redundant.

Update: I have read this book five times, refer to it frequently, and regularly use excerpts when teaching seminars and classes. My current economics students are reading chapter three, "Idols of Mammon". Parents have commented on how wise and perceptive their students are becoming as a result. I would love to use this book as the basis for an introductory college course.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Essential Christian Library Jan. 18 2009
By D. Teel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
An extensively researched review of the prevailing culture. This book will be a classic. Both interesting and enlightening reading. Written on a college level, may be difficult to follow at times. Highly recommended for the thoughtful Christian.

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