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5.0 out of 5
ISBN/ASIN : 1573833231
Manufacturer : Regent College Publishing|
Release data : 28 February, 2005
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Unexpectedly valuable book.. easy to read, simple but powerful themes
I was assigned this book for a college course and was greatly surprised at its quality. Blamires had C.S. Lewis as a tutor, and I've read some of Lewis's writings and have found them to be above average but not particularly special (many people do find his works special of course). Blamires, on the other hand, I find to be very unique - his book is top quality and very helpful. I'm surprised this isn't a very popular book, as it ought to be.
I have only two complaints, both of which are purely stylistic. First, the edition I have looks like it's a copy of an earlier edition, which makes the text hard to read (I got used to it after a while though). Some publisher should take it upon themself to retype this book and republish it. My second criticism is something that can't be avoided - the book was originally written in the early sixties, so a lot of the examples are dated (i.e. references to WWII, which was still in memory, also out-of-date terms like "jive", etc.). However, just a few of the examples are affected by this. The book as a whole could be reasonably passed off today as a recent work, since so much Blamires's criticism of the Christian mind (or lack thereof) still (sadly) applies.
However, the Christian mind today is being rediscovered, and the march of atheism is on the decline, with the march of religion in general on the rise. Even though things are looking up, Christians should keep Blamires's book in mind - not to get too comfortable with this (secular) world, for our real home is beyond bodily death. That we ought to have a supernatural orientation is basically the theme and summary of this book.
Superb book, and I really recommend this to anyone. This is definitely recommended for Christians, and also for any non-Christian who are curious and want to take a look at some of the problems Christians have today.
to read, or do origami... that is the question.
Here is a book which I can unreservedly recommend to anyone who is currently thinking about how they should think. Of course, Blamires (pronounced "the choirs") is addressing himself mainly to the Christian reader, but ALL readers can benefit from this exclusively Christian author who is honest enough to begin his book with the words... "There is no longer a Christian mind." If you have ever wondered why Christian "thought" seems increasingly irrelevant, read this book and find out many of the reasons why your hunch is PERHAPS justified. I started to fold back the top corner of pages that I found especially illuminating, until I realized that I might as well just fold up the entire book. (see title of this review).
The author's call for the recovery of the authentic Christian mind is not a call for the abolition of, nor even the belittling of, the secular mind. It is a call for the critical understanding of the difference between the two. This difference forms the fundamental premise of the book, which is thus: "To think secularly is to think within a frame of reference bounded by the limits of our life here on earth: it is to keep one's calculations rooted in this-worldly criteria. To think christianly is to accept all things with the mind as related, directly or indirectly, to man's eternal destiny as the redeemed and chosen child of God."
I especially appreciated the fact that Blamires posits a form of critical thinking that is predominantly POSITIVE. He legitamizes the need for examination of world views (in literature for instance) which the Christian may disagree with or even abhor, but laments the lack of current Christian dialogue regarding these views. There are issues in the human situation which may touch us pre-eminently "as a Christian" but the tragedy is that too often the only way we can pursue these currents of thought is by "more reading of non-Christian literature written by skeptics, and by discussion of it within the intellectual frame of reference which these skeptics have manufactured." This is sad and regettable, because the eternal perspective of the Christian mind is meant to challenge secular thinking, not be undermined by it. But how will it challenge, if it refuses to think? Be assured that the secular mindset will not hesitate to fill such a void. Indeed, from the first sentence onward, Blamires shows that we are living in a time when such temporal thinking prevails. Even so, the book has much POSITIVE to say to those who choose (at some point) to understand the nature of Christian truth as being objective, authoritative, unshakable, and God-given.
Must read for closet Christians
I was introduced to Blamires from his work on James Joyce's Ulysses. I figured anyone that could bring the clarity he did to Joyce's work is worth reading. I was not disappointed.
Blamires work is a self-examination. Throughout the book, I found myself saying; "That's me." I remember a reporter asking Mother Theresa why she bothered with people that are only going to be dead in a few hours. Without a blink, she answered, "They will live for eternity."
Blamires does not attack the secular mind (not in this work, anyway) he just shows how Christians have been conditioned to think secularly, to their lost.
Blamires work is clear and extremely well written. The reader will quickly see the influence of C.S. Lewis.