The Way of the (Modern) World (Book Review)

The Way of the (Modern) World by Craig Gay

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Title: The Way of the (Modern) World

Author: Craig M. Gay

2. Summarize in one paragraph the thesis or argument of the text.

Our culture, as it exists today in its modern and postmodern forms, makes believing in and living for the God of the Bible seem implausible and irrelevant. The superstructures that support the dominant world culture of modernity are fashioned precisely for this purpose. Modern politics, technology, economic life, and psychology all revolve around the unchallenged (and unchallengeable) assertion of secular and practical atheism. Gay argues, “secularity is quite literally built into the central institutions of modern society and culture both theoretically and practically, and that…is why modernity has proven to be so corrosive of Christian faith and why it is so resistant to substantive theological criticism” (238).

3. Summarize in one paragraph the author’s method of proving her or his thesis. How does she or he “get there”?

Gay primarily engages in socio-theological criticism of the state of the modern world. His modus operandi in each chapter is to state his thesis, proceed to quote at length from a host of scholars who support his assertion, provide a few bits of lucid commentary on each quote, and then begin building a bridge toward his next logical assertion. The cycle continues until he arrives at a conclusion that matches his original thesis. Thus Gay (and hopefully the audience) attains a cognitive rest whereby it would appear absurd to question his argument. This method of persuasion may seem to be the standard way for anyone to conduct an argument, but Gay does not often provide new thoughts or ideas that are relevant to the issue. Instead, his method is one of compilation of the best scholarly evidence already extant. He appears to be an astute arranger of ideas rather than a remarkably creative or observant social/spiritual critic, but the end result is not lacking since he draws from the ingenious insights of others.

(Continue reading here.)

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2 Responses to The Way of the (Modern) World (Book Review)

  1. cavman says:

    Bill,
    I’ve got that book floating around my office, but haven’t read it. Maybe that is a good thing.

    I saw your blog on my dashboard under new blogs, and noticed the title of your post on the resurrection. Thought I’d pop in and see what was up, and noticed the Revelation study. Thought I’d see who dangerous that was. Heartily recommend the Poythress book.

    Sorry you have to cheer for Red Sox LA. :-) I miss Bill Mueller. Too bad he had to retire.

  2. Cavman,
    Thanks for the encouraging word regarding the Poythress book. I’ve been really impressed by his approach, and his book comes with the highest recommendation for doing group studies from my RTS prof.

    Anyway, I enjoy your site. Keep posting on U2, that’s good stuff. I don’t really miss Mueller too much (didn’t root for him long enough), but I would really miss No-mah. :)

    Brian

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