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The Way of the (Modern) World: Or, Why It's Tempting to Live As If God Doesn't Exist Paperback – June 26, 1998

4.2 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kathlyn Gay is a full-time freelance writer and has authored more than 120 books and articles. She is the author of several titles in the "It Happened to Me" series for Scarecrow, including Cultural Diversity (2003), Volunteering (2004), The Military and Teens (2008), and Body Image and Appearance (2009).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (June 26, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080284362X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802843623
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #594,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is one of the best and most insightful (and dare I say important?) books I have ever read. It's clarity, depth of insight and profundity have few equals in contemporary scholarship. I am reminded, reading this book, of the first time I ever read Francis Schaeffer's "How Should We Then Live?" This book is equally profound in its insight and implications, but is a much better work of applied scholarship than that one is.

Gay's basic premise is that the forces that shape the modern world are not those things we see on the surface, but those hidden assumptions that permeate our understanding of ourselves and our world via modern politics, science and technology, economics, and psychology. Gay argues that these areas are often permeated with subtle "worldly" assumptions which drive our culture in a secular direction and make belief in God seem irrelevant or unrealistic. Not that Gay is against these areas of modern life per se, either. He simply wishes to make his readers aware of the danger in the assumptions that often lie beneath the surface of these areas that can influence us to "live as if God doesn't exist," even if we are professing Christians.

The book is extremely well researched and documented, and Gay spends a great deal of time, in each section of the book, setting up the historical factors that contributed to the rise of these worldly assumptions. In each chapter he also talks about the historical relationship between the Christian church and these different facets of modern life and how Protestant Christianity (Gay is a Protestant Christian) is, ironically, partly responsible for the rise of modern secularity. He concludes the book by offering some helpful reflections on how Christians should think and act in the secularized modern world.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a remarkable book. It provides a clear re-framing of some of the key issues that divide (and, unfortunately, at times define) the contemporary church. Instead of arguing left vs. right, or whether it's a matter of engaging in the world vs. withdrawing from it, Craig Gay's thesis is the perspective that it's a matter of living as though God exists or not. The modern view, he contends, is that we live as if God does not matter. This is a refreshing perspective that unfortunately rings true. It has the potential to bring together those previously divided by a contemporary false dichotomy of what it means to be the church.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The Way of the (Modern) World by Craig M. Gay is a well-researched, well-documented book with a provocative title. However, I find the claims to be overly ambitious by today’s standards, and out of date with its avoidance of addressing postmodernism. Because I read the other reviews here on Amazon before I read the book, I was expecting something more practically focused, and I was disappointed. This book was published in 1998, and it is showing its age, with almost the entire focus on modernism and hardly any attention given to postmodernism. Furthermore, throughout the entire book, the author paints religion as a victim of progress; he hardly ever acknowledges that religious institutions, through corruption, pride, and other sins, have contributed substantially to their own marginalization and the diminishment of Christianity’s influence in society

What I really do not like about this book is how it whitewashes the supposedly less secular past. There are few concrete examples of how religion impacted the everyday life of common laborers before the so-called “secularization” of society. Christian ideas are often explained only in contrast to the “modern” definition, which is often a secular idea portrayed in the most extreme, morally objectionable way. While European scholars in the middle ages were more religiously oriented than scholars today, there have always been a fraction of the population who are not interested in religion or following God. Furthermore, Christianity as a religion was enforced by the political bodies of the time. To be a religious minority in Europe during the middle ages was in many cases risking death.
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Format: Paperback
Wide ranging and delightfully erudite but enlivened with a deft and engaging style, Gay gives fresh insight and thoughtful nuggets on every page as to "why it's tempting to live as if God doesn't matter" For so very long after C. S. Lewis, Christian scholars couldn't seem to put pen to paper without sounding like Jeremiah. Gay--and a few others in recent years--show that there need not be anything scandalous about the "evangelical mind."
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