Item description for Idols for Destruction: The Conflict of Christian Faith and American Culture by Herbert Schlossberg, Robert H. Bork & Charles Colson...
Overview This analysis of our times examines the wrong beliefs America has held supreme - "idols" that are to blame for our nation's decay - and suggests how our problems can be healed.
"The bookshelf next to my desk holds Christian classics and books I refer to often. Idols sits on that shelf, for Herb's lucid critique has been an invaluable reference for my own writings. It helps believers to understand the ideologies that undergird secular culture, and how they dramatically--and dangerously--differ from the Judeo-Christian view based on adherence to absolute truth." --Charles Colson, Prison Fellowship
"Well-written and highly readable... discerning and critical analysis of our times; a stimulating contribution." --Carl F. H. Henry
"This book has become a vade mecum for thousands of Christians who understand the cultural disaster of our time and are determined to do something about it." --Richard John Neuhaus, Editor-in-chief, First Things
"Now that Francis Schaeffer is no longer with us, Schlossberg is just about the most provocative Christian thinker around." --Harold O. J. Brown, Professor of Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
"Years before anyone talked about an American 'culture war, ' Herb Schlossberg penned an acute description of the crisis of virtue that is the domestic issue of the 1990s. His diagnosis remains essential reading for everyone who believes that self-governing republic requires self-governing and morally serious citizens." --George Weigel, President, Ethics and Public Policy Center
"Thorough, provocative and especially penetrating. If you want to think Christianly about culture Idols for Destruction is must reading " --John H. White, President, Geneva College
Citations And Professional Reviews Idols for Destruction: The Conflict of Christian Faith and American Culture by Herbert Schlossberg, Robert H. Bork & Charles Colson has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Christianity Today - 01/01/2012 page 62
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More About Herbert Schlossberg, Robert H. Bork & Charles Colson
Herb Schlossberg (PhD, University of Minnesota) is a historian and has served as a senior analyst in the Central Intelligence Agency. The author of several books, he lives with his wife in Alexandria, Virginia, and they have three grown children and nine grandchildren.
Charles -Chuck- Wendell Colson (1931-2012) was an Evangelical Christian leader who founded Prison Fellowship and BreakPoint. Prior to his conversion to Christianity, he served as Special Counsel to President Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1973.
Reviews - What do customers think about Idols for Destruction: The Conflict of Christian Faith and American Culture?
Essential Christian Library Jan 18, 2009
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.
The destructiveness of idolatry for every aspect of society Jan 28, 2008
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.
One of Chip's Top Ten (wordsntone.com) Sep 10, 2005
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."
A three time read and ready for number four... Aug 5, 2005
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.
Examine your preconceptions. Dec 6, 1997
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.