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Steering Through Chaos: Vice and Virtue in an Age of Moral Confusion Paperback – July 5, 2000

5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Popular author and seminar leader Os Guinness calls readers in a very concrete way to "... lead an examined life in an unexamining age." Part of the Trinity Forum Study series, this book, intended as a guide for small study groups, offers the classical tradition of the virtues and vices as a framework for a very modern discussion about what kind of individuals and society we are becoming. Rather than contrasting the seven deadly vices (pride, envy, anger, sloth, avarice, lust, gluttony) with their corresponding virtues, Guinness takes an interpretive path less traveled, by contrasting the deadly vices rather with the beatitudes of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount. Thus, for example, the opposite of envy is mourning (envy being sorrow at another's good, and mourning, sorrow at another's loss). Each chapter focuses on one of the vices and its opposing beatitude, providing excerpts from literature, brief quotations and thought-provoking questions designed to spark discussion and debate. This book is not a great armchair read, nor is it intended to be. It is, however, a well-rendered, intelligent discussion-group guide that provides, in addition to an engaging set of readings and quotations, an opportunityApotluck supper by potluck supperAto enrich a national conversation about the common good and how to achieve it. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

DR. OS GUINNESS' deep concern is taking things that are academically important and making them practical to a wider audience, especially matters of public policy. He has been involved in several projects in this area, including a BBC television documentary on the presidential election in 1980, a major public opinion survey, and the American Express study on the United States, America in Perspective. He is a senior fellow of the Trinity Forum in McLean, Virginia, whose interactive seminars led to the writing of When No One Sees. Os has written and edited more than fifteen books, including The American Hour (Free Press), Invitation to the Classics (Baker), The Call (Word) and Time for Truth (Baker). Former resident of England and Switzerland, Os lives in McLean, Virginia.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: NavPress Publishing Group (July 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576831582
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576831588
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #636,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Well, this is one of the "lighter" books of Os Guiness. If you've read "The Call," you know Os can pack a lot of content; this book isn't quite as much work.
The book is more a study guide that helps you work through issues about the 7 cardinal virtues and the 7 deadly sins. He is not going for lightweight topics, however. There are a lot of passages where one says "Ouch!" because it hits home.
A good introduction into basic virtues for an age that has forgotten classical education.
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By A Customer on January 2, 2001
This book is a must-read! I was skeptical at first because I didn't see the vital importance of learning about the seven deadly sins and seven virtues, but I could not put this book down after starting. I love the way the sins and virtues were compared- I recommend it to everyone, it really opened my eyes. The only word of caution is that it is slow in the beginning, but stick with it and you will be rewarded.
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Guiness uses classical and modern literature to take the reader through the topics of the seven deadly sins and seven Beatitudes of Christ. A must read for the college freshman or sophmore getting ready for lit. classes. Provides and excellent framework for interpretation of some of the world's greatest literary minds.
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Os Guinness has put together an incredible collection of essays, quotes and works on the subject of moral clarity. The foundation for the study is the comparison of the "seven deadly sins" and how they contrast with the moral principles laid out within the "Sermon on the Mount" from the New Testament. While this study may not be unique, the presentation is so well done that the result challenges conventional thinking through ideological dichotomies that leave no doubt that morality can be defined as a moral standard.

What is amazing is the diversity of opinion presented. From Bertrand Russell and Friedrich Nietzsche, to Soren Kierkegaard and CS Lewis, from Isaac Newton to Calvin and Hobbes, the philosophy and moral presentations leave the reader with the task of sifting through the often opposing worldviews. Interspersed throughout are hundreds of quotes, poetry, and depictions of moral values - both post modern and ancient.

Each chapter looks at one of the "deadly sins" and it's "Beatitude" counterpart, and includes study questions and guidelines for further reading. This book could easily be the basis for a long study of philosophical morality from across cultural and generational perspectives. The study questions themselves are thought provoking and generate far too much to ponder and digest in one reading.

I would consider this book "very highly recommended" in every respect. This one will stay on my shelf, for repeated readings, for years to come. The index and citations alone are worth the price. I can also see this book as the foundation for study groups and further research. Simply put, it is well worth the time to read, review and consider.
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