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Idols for Destruction: The Conflict of Christian Faith and American Culture Paperback – June 15, 1993
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About the Author
Herb Schlossberg (PhD, University of Minnesota) is a historian and has served as a senior analyst in the Central Intelligence Agency. The author of several books, he lives with his wife in Alexandria, Virginia, and they have three grown children and nine grandchildren.
Charles "Chuck" Wendell Colson (1931–2012) was an Evangelical Christian leader who founded Prison Fellowship and BreakPoint. Prior to his conversion to Christianity, he served as Special Counsel to President Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1973.
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Top Customer Reviews
From this framework, Schlossberg examines many of the various idols that we have erected in this way. These include: history as an autonomous and inexorable unfolding of a closed system of necessary events; humanism, which elevates humans to the status of gods, but inevitably leads to a materialistic evaluation of them and a dehumanization of the people it professes to help; money, evaluated from the standpoint of an institutionalization of envy that believes that no one should have more than anyone else and the forced redistribution of wealth and crushing of motivation and incentive to succeed that it entails; nature, which is viewed through the lens of a philosophical naturalism that combines with secular humanism to dehumanize people; power, which resides exclusively in the state, and makes the state (and therefore the individuals who rule it) the source of, and therefore above, the law; and finally religion, which tends to blindly embrace whatever trends happen to be dominant in a culture and therefore ends up supporting, rather than casting down, the idols erected by the unbelieving world. In the final two chapters, he makes some predictions about where our idolatry will take us, and addresses how Christians should face the gods of an idolatrous age.
This book seems to have been first published in 1983, but I think that the analysis and research are outstanding, and the conclusions are probably more inescapable now than they were 25 years ago. Some examples are: "We should understand totalitarianism to refer not to the severity of the regime . . . but rather the scope of its purview. A totalitarian regime is one that seeks to control every aspect of communal life, and to bring as much of private life as possible into the sphere of the communal"; ". . . the attempt to be contemporaneous, which is to say relevant, ensures the irrelevance of theologies and churches." I was amazed by the parallels between this book and Herman Bavinck's "Philosophy of Revelation" (1908), which are very similar in methodology and are well worth reading together, which I did by accident. I heartily recommend this book - it should absolutely be required reading for all western Christians.
As for content, I concur with the observations made in the previous review entitled "Examine your preconceptions". Adding anything more would be redundant.
Update: I have read this book five times, refer to it frequently, and regularly use excerpts when teaching seminars and classes. My current economics students are reading chapter three, "Idols of Mammon". Parents have commented on how wise and perceptive their students are becoming as a result. I would love to use this book as the basis for an introductory college course.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
And only one reading is not enough to absorb everything.