The Evolution of the West: How Christianity Has Shaped Our Values
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What has Christianity ever done for us? A lot more than you might think, as Nick Spencer reveals in this fresh exploration of our cultural origins.
Looking at the big ideas that characterize the West, such as human dignity, the rule of law, human rights, science, and even, paradoxically, atheism and secularism, he traces the varied ways in which many of our present values grew up and flourished in distinctively Christian soil.
Always alert to the tensions and mess of history, and careful not to overstate or misstate the Christian role in shaping our present values, Spencer shows us how a better awareness of what we owe to Christianity can help us as we face new cultural challenges.
Over the last decade the role of Christianity in the West has come under close, sometimes hostile, scrutiny. During that time, Nick Spencer, Research Director of the Christian think tank Theos, has been at the forefront of the debate, and this book brings together a range of his influential essays, putting forward a well-rounded case for the continuing presence of Christianity in 21st-century public life. They also sound a warning that contemporary liberal secular society risks losing sight of the basis for its deepest values - with the attendant risk that forgetting them leaves little capacity to defend them.
This is a much needed book. Spencer shows persuasively that we cannot understand our political, economic or social culture without taking into account the key role Christianity has played in shaping Western values. Balanced and never claiming too much, it offers an essential corrective to contemporary narratives that try to write Christianity out of the script. -- Richard Harries, House of Lords
Surrounded by complex issues, it is hard to understand what's going on, what the important thinkers are saying, and what a thinking Christian might make of it all. Nick Spencer carves out a clear path through this jungle, helping us to see how we got here in the first place and how we might move forward in faith and wisdom. -- N. T. Wright, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, University of St Andrews
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