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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The destructiveness of idolatry for every aspect of society, January 27, 2008
This review is from: Idols for Destruction: The Conflict of Christian Faith and American Culture (Paperback)
This is an extensive and thoroughly researched examination of the ruinous consequences of the unbelieving thought that in the last hundred years has saturated our culture. Schlossberg argues that in all areas of thought our approach to reality is always determined by specifically religious assumptions, such as our theories of knowledge, history, value, and the future. These are assumptions that we rarely consider, but determine the results of our thinking, and subsequently, our action. As secularization in our culture has progressed, we have substituted what is created for the Creator, and placed the created reality at the top of our pyramid of values, with disastrous consequences. This constitutes the idolatry.

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.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 3, 2009, 7:01:37 PM PDT
R. Jankowski says:
this book is available in audio for free at reformedaudio dot org

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2009, 8:38:58 AM PST
Sean McKay says:
Ch5 is available for free at the URL above.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2009, 5:59:08 PM PST
We are slowly but surely recording this book to audio and posting the chapters as we complete them.
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Location: Albuquerque, NM

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