How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization
by Vishal Mangalwadi
This book is like great steak. There aren’t really that many surprises, but, man, it is GOOD.
I first heard about this book around the time Jordan Peterson was ranting about the Bible to Joe Rogan. There was some background on the socials, and it seems like, for as much as Peterson already paid attention to the Bible, Mangalwadi must have sent a copy to Peterson and it was like a shot of nitro into JP’s enthusiasm engine.
I happen to love the Bible. I don’t worship it, but it is the source of revelation from the true God whom I do worship. I started to read the Word for myself in high school, went to three different Bible colleges, and eventually went to the seminary I thought would teach me the most about ministering on the basis of and through the power of the Word.
But all through that time, and through almost my first decade of being a full-time Bible studying and preaching pastor, while I thought the Bible was AWESOME and as I looked to it first for ANSWERS, I kept reading it wrongly. I could say I was reading it partially, narrowly, dualistically. I read and studied it to learn “Bible” things, to glean theological truths, but failed to realize that the theological truths in the Bible provide the basis and the lens for reading and studying all things, as well as for building culture and civilizations.
Had I thought about it for even a second, it shouldn’t have been surprising. But I was giving credit to something “other” (without knowing or being able to name it) than God and God’s Word for creating the categories we share.
TBTMYW shows that secularism has no clothes; all idols likewise are naked. There just isn’t such a thing as neutrality. Ideas have consequences, and every idea comes from somewhere and connects with some kind of conduct. Cultures that haven’t had the Bible have had some good things, of course. Our Father makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. But the big, abundant BLESSINGS belong to those who receive the truth revealed in the divine Text.
Mangalwadi’s book is a who’s who and what’s what of Western Civilization. It has almost ALL the great names you’d expect. What makes it especially interesting is that Mangalwadi is looking into WesternCiv from the outside, from his Eastern culture. He argues that globalization, while certainly perverted and hijacked by some, has more to do with the Lord’s covenant to Abraham to bless all the nations of the earth.
TBTMYW a long book, but like a big steak, that should be the opposite of discouraging. Take it bite by bite. There is confidence in these pages. They obviously aren’t inspired, but they do inform our gratitude and increase our desire for the Word of God. God has been kind to give us a Book. We ought to read the Book, meditate on it day and night, and be careful to obey the Author of it. That would put some soul back into our civilization.
Here’s the video of Peterson talking to Rogan about how “roughly speaking we have a bedrock of agreement…that’s the Bible.”
The Bible is the fundamental basis on which our (shared) categories of meaning and understanding depend.