Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Book That Made Your World

By Vishal Mangalwadi, Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Mangalwadi takes a Protestant view of history, honoring Wycliffe, Hus, Tyndale, Luther, Calvin, and the Protestant world in general for advances in science, human rights, politics, and economics. Hope is the great lesson of the Bible, and Protestants, as Bible-readers, developed a fuller reading than the medieval church had.

Not a bad understanding, but it shows Mangalwadi's bias against Catholicism. For instance, many leading modernizing developments, such as science, came out of Catholic Italy and France. The author does discuss the great medieval achievements in science and learning, yet makes oft-repeated generalization, such as that the Church closed learning during the middle ages. It didn't - people from all walks of life were educated in universities and simpler schools.

Also, he makes the oft-repeated generalization about the Crusades, including the error that the Crusaders killed all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. A more updated reading of those wars would have shown him that, no, the crusaders didn't kill everyone, and that they were no more vicious than others at that time.

This book has excellent parts, and avoids bashing the west. The author makes startling assertions that would offend many people, such as the claim that the Bible made modern India. We need more of this kind of thought-provoking, free (rather than p.c.-driven)-thinking. He also avoids romanticizing the west, warning against Kurt Cobain nihilism, showing that suicide is the rational result of nihilism.

A timely book that could use a more balanced approach at times regarding Catholicism.

1 comment:

  1. Mangalwadi is an astute observer of India and the West, but like other committed Evangelicals he is completely biased with respect to Catholicism. There's an underlying anti-Catholic bias in all his books, which is a pity because he does otherwise make some very interesting points.

    He is partly correct in saying that the Bible did make modern India. It was the missionaries who really transformed education in India, help develop vernacular languages, put an end to social evils like sati, inspired reformers (like Gandhi), pioneered health care, and gave Indians a sense of inclusive nationalism. Sadly modern India seems to have long forgotten the good work of the missionaries.