Most helpful critical review
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Useful descriptions, but disappointing assessments
on April 2, 2013
The topic of worldviews addressed in books, journal articles, and university lectures tends to be examined from a predominantly scholastic perspective, which is to say the ideas, ideals, and philosophies behind the dominant worldviews which shape our culture are typically the focus of these studies. Certainly the ideologies and philosophies underlying worldviews are important subjects for examination, after all, what apologetics student has not been warned that ideas have consequences? However, what is often lacking in these worldview lessons is an assessment of these worldviews on the "street level." How does the concept of worldview play out in the life one's neighbor, coworker, brother or sister, or local school board president? Steve Wilkens and Mark L. Sanford, the authors of Hidden Worldviews, seek to address the concept of worldviews on the "street level," and more importantly they endeavor to, "isolate areas where hidden worldviews, alien to Christianity, have crept into our thoughts and lifestyles."
The contents covered in this work include such worldviews as "Individualism," "Consumerism," "Nationalism," "Scientific Naturalism," and "Postmodern Tribalism," among others. In this reviewer's estimation Wilkens and Sanford have done an excellent job defining and describing eight worldviews (or cultural stories as they identify them) which not only permeate our culture, but have also subtly crept into the worldview of many professing Christians. Readers of this work will find it very easy to identify with the defining elements of each of these worldviews.
Some of the treatments of these worldviews are better than others. For example, the description of "Individualism" will resonate with most if not all readers (and it is a problem that is epidemic in the church), however, after reading the authors' portrayal of "Nationalism," this reviewer was struck with the impression that they must only think Americans suffer from this malady. Still, even though some descriptions were better than others they are all very helpful.
In addition to describing these eight cultural stories the authors also identify what they consider to be the good and bad elements of each of these worldviews. There isn't much to disagree with in the bad elements identified for each worldview. This reviewer did disagree at times with elements considered by the authors to be good. For instance, in their critique of "Scientific Naturalism" they assert that, "Scientific naturalism is correct in its quest for unity and its desire to solve earthly problems." That assertion is a generously romanticized view of "Scientific Naturalism." Perhaps more than a disagreement about some of the conclusions reached about the worldviews presented in this book this reviewer takes issue with the relatively minor role Scripture plays in evaluating these worldviews. In this book pragmatism and rationalism seem to be more important than Scripture in the evaluation process.
This book is useful for its descriptions of these eight worldviews, but readers will want to use care when reading the authors' assessments of these worldviews. Scripture is the best tool for measuring the merits of the worldviews it is not a secondary support. This work is recommended, but with some reservations.