Friday, December 30, 2005

Reading Matters I

I’ve recently finished J.F. Baldwin’s The Deadliest Monster: A Christian Introduction to Worldviews. The premise is intriguing: Everyone’s world view fits one of two basic outlooks based on literature’s most famous monsters. Christians take the view espoused by Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Man is a sinner and is incapable of saving himself. All others would identify with the monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Man is basically good and can work to save himself.

The analogy is not perfect, as the author admits. Baldwin provides a brief summary of each world religion, explaining how all but Christianity, and, to a certain extent, Orthodox Judaism, fall into the Frankenstein camp. He then provides a stellar discussion of how your world view affects what you believe about education, social reforms, law-making, politics, the purpose of suffering and a number of other issues.

While certainly written from a Christian perspective, the book does not overwhelm the reader with Scriptural references, but rather uses the Frankenstein crowds own philosophers, psychologists and proponents to point out the inconsistencies between what they believe and how they behave. Yet Baldwin concludes the box with an excellent call to heroic Christian living.

Certainly not my usual fare (mysteries and suspense novels being my common reading fodder), it was well worth the read.

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