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The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog, 5th Edition 05th Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0830838509
ISBN-10: 0830838503
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Read as a whole it traces a convincing history of the evolution of worldviews (particularly in the West), as well as providing a robust defence of the enduring validity of the Christian faith . . . an excellent introduction." (Dr. Alan Kerry, Faith & Thought, October 2010)

"For more than thirty years, The Universe Next Door has set the standard for a clear, readable introduction to worldviews. Sire offers additional student-friendly features to his concise, easily understood introductions to theism, deism, naturalism, Marxism, nihilism, existentialism, Eastern monism, New Age philosophy and postmodernism." (Rev. Paul J. Cain, Liturgy, Hymnody, and Pulpit Quarterly Book Review, August 2010)

"For anyone concerned to understand the culture in which we are called to work and witness, which ought to be all of us, this is still an indispensable resource." (David McKay, The Covenanter Witness, June 2010)

"Revised and updated to include a new chapter on Islam by a contributing author, and incorporates developments about the worldview notion from Sire's Naming the Elephant." (Reference & Research Book News, February 2010)

"The most readable presentation of alternative systems that I have ever seen." (Russ Bush)

"To think intelligently today is to think worldviewishly, to come to terms with the mosaic of meaning systems which make up modern thinking. This book is a clear introduction and invaluable guide." (Os Guinness)

"If you are looking for an introductory exposition of prominent worldviews, I know of no better book." (Nicholas Wolterstorff)

PRAISE FOR THE FIRST EDITION:

"A most magnificently useful book." (E. M. Blaiklock)

About the Author

James W. Sire (PhD, University of Missouri), formerly a senior editor at InterVarsity Press, is an active speaker and writer. He has taught English, philosophy, theology, and short courses at many universities and seminaries. He continues to be a frequent guest lecturer in the United States and Europe. His InterVarsity Press books and Bible studies include The Universe Next Door (a worldviews textbook), Scripture Twisting, Discipleship of the Mind, Chris Chrisman Goes to College, Why Should Anyone Believe Anything at All?, Habits of the Mind: Intellectual Life as a Christian Calling, Naming the Elephant: Worldview as a Concept, Learning to Pray Through the Psalms, Why Good Arguments Often Fail and A Little Primer on Humble Apologetics.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 293 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic; 05 edition (November 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830838503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830838509
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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If your desire is to discover different worldviews and the truth and false premises of each then this book is for you. I purchased this for my college class and determined that it is a must read. However, this book is biased in that it looks on all the different worldviews through the lens of a Christian's worldview. Despite the biased view, after reading this book I understand that we as humans view and interpret the world around us with a worldview. Therefore, no worldview is unbiased. Must read for those seeking to become better at Apologetics.
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A GREAT read to help understand the various worldviews. James Sire does an outstanding job honestly and fairly presenting the major religious and philosophical worldviews. A top book for any serious student who wants a good understanding. Two thumbs up!!
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If you are already well-read on the subject of worldviews, then this book will be too simple for you. But for most people, this book is just right for presenting and analyzing the world's major religions and philosophies. I had the old edition, and bought the new one for the recently added material, which is worth it. The author is openly biased, which I find honest and actually helpful in philosophical/religious/political/opinion writing.
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Overall, I perceive the value of the content in this text as 4.5 out of 5.0. This book provokes a lot of deep thinking, so please do not expect this to be a fast or easy read. I was recommended to review this text by my pastor and I found this book quite insightful. It can serve as an initial guide for areas of additional research. In addition, at least I now feel that I have a general, elementary, understanding of the significant worldviews and how they relate or contrast with each other from the perspective of Christianity as perceived by the author.
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