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The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog, 5th Edition Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0830838509 ISBN-10: 0830838503 Edition: 5th

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 293 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic; 05 edition (October 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830838503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830838509
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born on a ranch on the rim of the Nebraska Sandhills, James W. Sire has been an officer in the Army, a college professor of English literature, philosophy and theology, the chief editor of InterVarsity Press (a Christian publisher of books for thoughtful readers), a lecturer at over two hundred universities in the U.S., Canada, Eastern and Western Europe and Asia, and the author of twenty books on literature, philosophy and the Christian faith. His book The Universe Next Door, published in 1976 and now in its fifth edition, has sold over 350,000 copies and has been translated into 18 foreign languages. He holds a B.A. in chemistry and English from the University of Nebraska, an M.A. in English from Washington State College (now University) and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Missouri. His most recent book is a memoir, The Rim of the Sandhills (eBook on Kindle and Nook).


Customer Reviews

This book is amazing to read!
Courtney Spittka
This book works well as a tool for high school or college intro class to worldviews.
Life Long Reader
Very thought provoking book and a good read...
Dashirl Daughtry

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By flower on February 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
In The Universe Next Door, author James Sire discusses the eight main worldviews that are held by different individuals in the twentieth century and then provides seven basic yet probative questions to help the reader recognize the primary presuppositions that underlie each main belief system. Further discussion is provided to help the reader analyze the cohesiveness and validity of each worldview presented. The history of each worldview is discussed in great detail so that the reader can see the progression of each view, why it arose and what events led to its overall acceptance or denial among the masses. Mr. Sire then compares and contrasts each worldview with others mentioned in the book, evaluating each worldview in turn. The emphasis is on awareness and understanding, encouraging the reader to become more consciously aware of what they believe, why they believe what they do, and how this belief colors the way they view life. The book concludes with a detailed chapter, entitled, "The Examined Life" that summarizes the basic points made throughout the book and then provides tools intended to help the leader choose the most logical, cohesive and consistent worldview.

Overall, the Universe Next Door is a very thorough, and yet manageable, discussion of the eight (or six, depending on how once classifies the material) main belief systems that exist in today's culture. Presented in a somewhat relaxed manner, the language used by Mr. Sire ensures understandability and readability, successfully moving difficult philosophical topics out of the university classroom and placing them in the hands of the layman. Because each worldview is discussed in relation to the six main questions presented at the beginning of the book, analysis of all views is both easy and consistent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Life Long Reader on April 9, 2013
Format: Paperback
Now in its fifth edition, James W. Sire has written the go-to introduction to nine major worldviews. Sire has written this book with the desire for people (especially Christians) to grasp the importance of understanding what a worldview is, what are the other worldviews other then their own and what their own worldview is. Sire defines a worldview as a

"Commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true or entirely false) that we hold (consciously or unconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic constitution of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being." (p. 20)

The book takes a very inform approach to presenting and evaluating the nine worldviews. Sire examines the worldviews by asking eight basic questions that all worldviews must answer:

1. What is prime reality? - This question gets to the foundation of what a worldview understands to be the foundation of reality. For Sire this is the first and foundational question that must be answered before the other seven.
2. What is the nature of external reality, that is, the world around us? - This looks at whether we see the world around us as created or autonomous, material or immaterial, etc.
3. What is a human being? - For instance, are people made in the image of God or just a machine/
4. What happens to a person at death? - This looks at options like extinction, reincarnation or transfer to a higher state of existence.
5. Why is it possible to know anything at all? - Answers include being created in the image of God or just the result of an evolutionary process.
6. How do we know what is right and wrong?
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mark K. Wickersham on December 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a book that I would not normally read, but it was required reading for a Worldviews course I took at Colorado Christian University. The basics of Christian theism, deism, naturalism, nihilism, existentialism, Eastern pantheistic monism, New Age philosophy, and postmodernism are explained. We need to know what our worldview is as well as the worldview of others. Examining our thoughts and behaviors helps us to understand ourselves and communicate with those around us. To not evaluate how and why we think and act the way we do is simply foolish. What is our purpose? What happens to us after we die? How do we know what is right and wrong? These are some of the vital questions that we must tackle that are addressed in this book. I am thankful that this book was assigned to my class.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jim on September 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book gives an excellent review of the Christian worldview using eight basic questions. It then uses the same eight questions to compare and contrast the worldviews of deism, naturalism, nihilism, existentialism, eastern pantheistic monism, new age spirituality, and postmodernism. A new chapter was added in this 5th edition on Islamic theism.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By amazinggrace on February 26, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have found the universe next door an exceptional resource in comprehensively unravelling the differing worldviews within society today. With an exceptionally well founded Christian basis with which to compare and analyse the most dynamic and essential elements of the nature of reality and relationships, Sire's book is thought provoking.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Vicki Schrauger on October 29, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Universe Next Door is an insightful look at different world views. It begins with a chapter on Christian theism followed by Deism, Naturalism, Nihilism, Existentialism and beyond in a logical progression. This is readable to the layperson, but I found I needed to read some chapters over to grasp the concepts.
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