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Why We Should Call Ourselves Christians: The Religious Roots of Free Societies [Kindle Edition]

Marcello Pera
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The intellectual and political elite of the West is nowadays taking for granted that religion, in particular Christianity, is a cultural vestige, a primitive form of knowledge, a consolation for the poor minded, an obstacle to coexistence. In all influential environments, the widespread watchword is “We are all secular” or “We are all post-religious.” As a consequence, we are told that states must be independent of religious creed, politics must take a neutral stance regarding religious values, and societies must hold together without any reference to religious bonds. Liberalism, which in some form or another is the prevailing view in the West, is considered to be “free-standing,” and the Western, liberal, open society is taken to be “self-sufficient.”

Not only is anti-Christian secularism wrong, it is also risky. It's wrong because the very ideas on which liberal societies are based and in terms of which they can be justified—the concept of the dignity of the human person, the moral priority of the individual, the view that man is a “crooked timber” inclined to prevarication, the limited confidence in the power of the state to render him virtuous—are typical Christian or, more precisely, Judeo-Christian ideas. Take them away and the open society will collapse. Anti-Christian secularism is risky because it jeopardizes the identity of the West, leaves it with no self-conscience, and deprives people of their sense of belonging. The Founding Fathers of America, as well as major intellectual European figures such as Locke, Kant, and Tocqueville, knew how much our civilization depends on Christianity. Today, American and European culture is shaking the pillars of that civilization.

Written from a secular and liberal, but not anti-Christian, point of view, this book explains why the Christian culture is still the best antidote to the crisis and decline of the West. Pera proposes that we should call ourselves Christians if we want to maintain our liberal freedoms, to embark on such projects as the political unification of Europe as well as the special relationship between Europe and America, and to avoid the relativistic trend that affects our public ethics. “The challenges of our particular historical moment”, as Pope Benedict XVI calls them in the Preface to the book, can be faced only if we stress the historical and conceptual link between Christianity and free society.

Product Details

  • File Size: 382 KB
  • Print Length: 232 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1594035644
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (October 18, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005I57NN4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #346,894 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definite food for thought December 27, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
George Orwell, presumably in his later years, wrote (approximately), "We spent a couple of decades sawing off the branch we were sitting on, and when it broke and we fell to earth, we were astonished to discover that we had not fallen into a bed of roses, but into a nightmare of barbed wire, tyranny, machine guns and torture."

This book explains, in clear language, the dilemma faced by our modern atheist progressives. When the Founding Fathers wrote of our fundamental rights (to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness), they stated that men were endowed by their Creator with these rights. That is to say, God endowed each of us with these fundamental rights, and they were not to be altered or taken away by any sort of human proceedings --- not voting, not revolution, not tyranny, and not machine guns.

Now, if it suddenly becomes the fashion to deny the existence of God, what happens to the foundation stones of our democracy?

This is a question our New Atheists do not like to deal with, because the obvious answer is that our fundamental, divinely-granted rights cease to have any sort of foundation in deeper reality. They become a sort of "gentleman's agreement," and such agreements ARE subject to negotiation and alteration. Much more than that, they become subject to sudden disappearance, with results such as Auschwitz and the Gulag, two solid historical facts which our New Atheists cannot deal with rationally. (They tend to mumble that Nazis were Catholics and Communism was a "religion" -- ideas which they are incapable of defending in an extended rational discussion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book every westerner should read August 13, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's unfortunately true that, in current political and philosophical discourse, Christianity is often seen as a relic of the past, a religion that has nothing to offer to the modern World. Moreover, its historical role in the development of Western Culture is portrayed in a very bad light.

This book sets the record straight, and convincingly shatters these myths. It proves Christianity is the bedrock of our Western Culture (a fact nobody dared to question before the 20th century), and that we should not feel ashamed to recognise this fact, whether we are Christians or non believers (like the author himself).
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read! September 18, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Excellent work for anyone who wants to understand why and how the European Union has not lived up to the hype it enjoyed when it was first launched. It has no soul.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Why right does makes might July 7, 2014
By Peggy
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A challenging read but worth the time and energy. This does require an active reader. If you have been looking for an explanation for the foundation of our republic ( as well as why not to call it a democracy) this is your book. If you don't believe in "God given" you are left with Man given. Then, there follow all the issues as to which man or group of men will give you your rights or take them away. Understanding our foundation and why it is so special is all important to the strength and goodness of this country. This is a sequel to "Without Roots" which deals with our generalized sense of unease with the taking of ethical and political stands, and leaves us wandering the labyrinth of political correctness.
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