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Unspeakable: Facing Up to the Challenge of Evil [Paperback]

By Os Guinness (Author)
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Item description for Unspeakable: Facing Up to the Challenge of Evil by Os Guinness...

The author of The American Hour and Long Journey Home counsels readers on the nature of human evil, challenging beliefs that many acts of violence are perpetuated by religious motivations while addressing such topics as coming to terms with evil and the place of God in human suffering. Reprint. 15,000 first printing.

Publishers Description

We are still surprised by evil. From Auschwitz to the events of September 11, we have been shocked into recognizing the startling capacity for evil within the human heart. We now know 9/11 revealed that our country was unprepared in terms of national security, but it also showed we were intellectually and morally unprepared to deal with such a barbaric act.

Our language to describe evil and our ethical will to resist it have grown uncertain and confused. Many who speak unabashedly of evil are dismissed as simplistic, old-fashioned, and out of tune with the realities of modern life. Yet we must have some kind of language to help us understand the pain and suffering at the heart of human experience.

Author and speaker Os Guinness confronts our inability to understand evil - let alone respond to it effectively - by providing both a lexicon and a strategy for finding a way forward. Since 9/11, much public discussion has centered on the destructiveness of extremist religion. Guinness provocatively argues that this is far from an accurate picture and too easy an explanation. In this expansive exploration of both the causes of modern evil and solutions for the future, he faces our tragic recent past and our disturbing present with courageous honesty. In order to live an "examined life," Guinness writes, we must come to terms with our beliefs regarding evil and ultimately join the fight against it.

Addressing individuals as well as a traumatized culture, Unspeakable is an invitation to explore the challenge of contemporary evil, a call to confront our culture of fear, and a journey to find words to come to terms with the unspeakable so that it will no longer leave us mute.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: HarperOne
Pages   242
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.9" Width: 5.2" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 7, 2006
Publisher   Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN  0060833009  
ISBN13  9780060833008  

Availability  106 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 26, 2016 05:12.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Os Guinness

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Os Guinness was born in China and educated in England. He did undergraduate studies at the University of London and postgraduate work at Oriel College, Oxford, where he earned a D.Phil in the social sciences. Formerly a guest scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Studies and Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Os is currently Senior Fellow at the Trinity Forum in McLean, Virginia. Widely traveled, he has written or edited more than twenty books, including The American Hour, Time for Truth, and The Call. He makes his home in northern Virginia.

From the Hardcover edition.

Os Guinness currently resides in Burke, in the state of Virginia.

Os Guinness has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Daylight Bible Studies
  2. Hourglass Books

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Ethics & Morality
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( G ) > Guinness, Os
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Unspeakable: Facing Up to the Challenge of Evil?

Frightening reviews  Jan 11, 2007
The reviews of this book reveal that Mr. Guinness is "dinged" for one consistent reason only: his Christian faith. There is no criticism of his thinking (he is exceptionally lucid and insightful) or his delivery (always candid and respectful). Mr. Guinness is Christian, and as such, he does not receive the level playing field of the naturalist or secular humanist. This bothers me. I am especially concerned because the book is about evil and the devaluation Mr. Guinness receives simply because of his faith is nothing if it is not evil and bigotry.

This is not limited to the individual reviews. Look at the Publishers Weekly review above: "Guinness, one of evangelical Christianity's few public intellectuals...." Why is it okay to do this with Christians? Could we be so accepting if it were blacks? Muslims? Atheists? Chinese? Hindus? Publishers Weekly continues: "His Christian convictions are evident, but he engages respectfully with those who do not share them." It is very interesting that other reviewers also emphasize that Mr. Guinness is a Christian, but doesn't write offensively. Have we lost even the concept that those whose convictions differ from our own cannot extend to us respect and courtesy? Is respect only to be expected from those who have NO convictions (or perhaps no Christian convictions)? Is it possible for anyone to be without some absolute convictions? I think not. I guess we are all doomed to be offensive to each other, instead of grateful for the freedom to think and express ourselves, to the end we might be iron sharpening iron.

Reading this book is like taking in calories - it is nourishing even though it is not a comfortable read. Mr. Guinness has a rare gift of very deep thought and the ability to write in precise language. His arguments are, at least to my mind, unassailable.

Those who discredit Mr. Guinness for his faith should re-read pp. 231 and 232 of this book, which I will quote here: "One of the main lessons is to reconsider the significance of evil for our understanding of public and international life, though this topic would require a book in itself. I would simply argue here that living with our deepest differences is one of the world's critical problems and that one of the overlooked keys to solving it is to give religious liberty its due place in public life. People of different faiths--including secularism--might then relate to public life constructively and to each other civilly.

"At the very least, we must shed Enlightenment prejudices about religion and consider the facts more objectively. We must reject the hoary myth that 'religion is the problem,' as well as the fallacious idea that the answer is a public square denuded of all religion....The quality and tone of the public discussion would improve immeasurably if secularists were to acknowledge that their faith is one faith among others and talk openly of their own failures--on the one hand, directly inspiring utopian evil, and on the other, failing to provide humanistic values strong enough to resist modern evil.

"As the global public square emerges, there are two particular errors we cannot afford. One is to replace the religious establishments of the past with a secularist establishment or semi-establishment. The other is to create a two-tier global public square in which the cosmopolitan liberal secularists form the top tier of the global elites and all religious believers are relegated to the second rank. In a truly diverse world, neither of these options for the public square is just and neither is workable."

I find it frightening that Mr. Guinness's words appear to be coming true. The bottom tier, the back of the bus, is to be occupied by Christians and others who embrace religious world views, while the top tier would never include them simply because they are people of faith.
Facing Up to the Challenge of Evil by Os Guinness  Jul 26, 2006
Excellent Service. Thank You.
A must-read on the issue of evil  Mar 13, 2006
Unlike many of Guiness' earlier works, Os tackles a heavy topic from a broad perspective in this book. For anyone wrestling with the concept of evil, even from the perspective that there is no such thing, Guinness lays out a very strong study of the strengths and weaknesses of all the modern approaches to the problem.

The hardest part of the book was reading that not only has genocide happened again and again after WWII, but the world's responses to it haven't improved in the slightest.

Left unanswered is what response world leaders should take, but Guinness does an excellent job of laying out what the individual should do.
Unspeakable  Oct 9, 2005
This book is extremely well written. It explores in depth how the eastern religions and the monotheistic religions deal with evil. If Mr. Guinness is right, and I believe he is, then we need to diligently pray for our country more than we ever have.
Don Cameron  Oct 3, 2005
An excellent book on a difficult subject. I recommend as a companion book C.S.Lewis' "The Problem of Pain".

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