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Fit Bodies Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don't Think and What to Do About It (Hourglass Books) Paperback – August, 1994

3.9 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books (August 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801038707
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801038709
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #483,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

OS GUINNESS (DPhil, Oxford University) is an author and social critic. Born in China, he was educated in England at the Universities of London and Oxford. He moved to the United States in 1984, and has been a Guest Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center and a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He was the lead drafter of both the Williamsburg Charter and the Global Carter of Conscience, as well as the founder of the Trinity Forum. He has written more than 25 books, including The Call, The American Hour, Time for Truth, Unspeakable, The Case for Civility, A Free People's Suicide, and his latest: The Global Public Square. He lives with his wife Jenny in McLean, Virginia..

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In this book, Dr. Guiness sets out to show the decline of the Christian mind in America in the past 200 years. He also reflects on the importance of the decline of Christian thought in American evangelicalism and its impact on Christian effectiveness in society.
Guiness sketches eight different ways in which the "high point" of the Puritan Christian mind has declined; Polarization, Pietism, Primitivism, Populism, Pluralism, Pragmatism, Philistinism and Premillenialism.
While I would generally agree with much of his analysis here, I wondered how Arminianism (in contrast to Calvinism) has contributed to the decline. It was a very interesting idea; the Arminian-Calvinist issue is one I'm currently exploring in my own study. His section on eschatology (the doctrine of last things; Christ's return, Rapture etc..) was also strange; eschatology is not a field that I have studied. I would agree that an excessive preoccupation with "end-times" can distract Christians from acting in the present (which seems to be his point) but otherwise I don't really see the significance of this point. One idea that came up several times in this section is the degradation of belief, theology and doctrine; a shift that has severely affected American evangelicalism. One of the memorable quotes in the Pluralism chapter from G.K. Chesterton, "Tolerance is the virtue of those who don't believe anything." Chesterton and Guiness were no doubt referring to the philosophical position of tolerance (i.e. regarding all propositions as true) rather than the idea of simply peacefully co-existing. This is personified in such quotes from Billy Sunday as, "I do not know any more about theology than a jack-rabbit knew about pin-pong.
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book greatly. Guiness encourages us not to "bow down" to the unintellectual age which has hindered Christian scholasticism. He does this in two parts. The first part of the book explains how the American religious consciousness has moved away from knowledge and even claims to be the enemy of knowledge. The second part of the book describes the current postmodern situation in America in which even nonreligious people are anti-intellectual, and how the church is simply becoming one with the secular world. The power of this book is that Guiness reminds us that we as Christians are to "love the Lord with all our mind" as well. The one critique (and therefore the loss of a star) is that Guiness does not investigate the postmodern philosophy of religion movement, which is returning to an academic approach to religious thinking, especially the writings of John D. Caputo and Merold Westphal. Of course, Guiness is not a philosopher, so he should not have to be accountable on philosophical terms. However, by ignoring the theistic postmoderns he has given an improper picture of religion in the postmodern world. However, as an overall book, it is a must read for all religious thinkers and religious nonthinkers alike. He will make you think about how you think about religion.
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Format: Paperback
Reading this book is part of a deliberate effort to study the relationship of reason to the Christian faith. The current subtopic is why evangelicals seem to be so anti-intellectual, this book follows: The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind , and Love Your God with All Your Mind . There are two more in the TBR pile as well: Habits of the Mind by James Sire and The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship by George Marsden, so i am looking for more books with the same common theme, email me your favorites please.
I usually read for an hour or so each morning over coffee at a local fast food joint, i find if i don't get out of the house at this time, that i don't get out of the house at all. I was lamenting the slowness of my reading to a person i have gotten acquainted with while sitting in my favorite booth there. He told me my problem was that i am trying to reading books that are too long, i suspect he isn't much of a reader, but his point is well taken. So this very short, 150 pages book is my attempt to take his advice to heart. The trouble is that this book is not an easy read, not because it's topic is complex but because of its structure, i started the book and put it aside several times because it seems too disjointed and choppy. It wasn't until chapter 10 on advertising that i realized that the book's structure is deliberate and made to mirror the criticism he makes of the shallowness of Christian intellects, i know i am slow, but i eventually got it.
The average chapter is about 5 pages long, the book reads like a series of slogans strung out together on a clothes line, with cuteness in phrasing common. There is little complexity of thought with points then defense and analysis but rather a structure that mentally looks like an outline.
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As an evangelical pastor, I agree with the author's theme that many believers hold the mind in contempt; people want to feel, not think. Yet the emphasis of Scripture is that lives are transformed as minds are renewed (Rom.12:2).
The evangelical world is in trouble: we have a higher divorce rate and a higher bankruptcy rate than society at large. Few will address this problem seriously because few will acknowledge that there really is a problem--at least a serious one.
Guiness has hit the nail on the head. Our churches are dumbed-down and we have a long history of contempt for thinking. This book is a must for all who recognize that all is not well within evangelicalism.
There are times the author is unfair, as, for example, in his chapter about premillennialists. When many amillennial seminaries were denying the faith, it was the premillennial movement that became the bastion for solid doctrine. Among the non-feeling oriented premillennialists, doctrine and truth are often quite valued.
Despite some pet aggravations the author mishandles, this book is a MUST and should serve as a blueprint for changing course into a better direction. We must no longer applaud ignorance and view thinking as "heartless." Read this book!!!
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