Are you wondering how entrenched the underpinnings of Christianity are in our culture? Do you think that the ideals that we prize in our society are secular or innate in nature? Do you wonder how much effect Judeo-Christian religion has had on the basic cultural assumptions that we hold dear? Then, A Doubter’s Guide to the Ten Commandments: How, for Better or Worse, Our Ideas about the Good Life Come from Moses ands Jesus might be a book that would interest you.
In this book, Australian theologian and scholar, John Dickson, takes a little over 150 pages to take a look at the ten commandments given to Moses and to show how they have affected western thought. He also takes some time to look at the ten commandments through the Christian theology of Jesus because, after all, it was not Judaism that converted the western world, but Christianity. He contrasts the ideas in the ten commandments with both the ideals of new atheists and with the ideas of the Greco-Roman culture that Christianity was birthed into. He also makes a few modern applications and examples as he goes along, but that is not his main theme of his book.
I found this to be an enjoyable and edifying read. Dickson spends much of the foundation of his book talking to atheists and skeptics, laying the foundation of the first three commandments relating to God and why they exist and what that says about God. He spends much of the rest of the book talking to skeptics, but also to converts as well, laying a case for the importance of the commandments in both Western culture and in our lives. This is not a work of personal application or Christian inspiration, so if you’re looking for that here, you will be disappointed. Rather, this is a very well done book written primarily to those who are skeptical about Christianity. Twenty years ago, this would have been a book that I could have really reached to me and where I was in my life, so I appreciate seeing a book like this that is so well done.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.