What is the greatest achievement of the Western world? How did education become a thing? What do monks and technological milestones have in common? How come Western cultures, in particular, consider some things morally worse than other cultures? What does the Bible have to do with hospitals? How did the Bible promote prosperity in the West? If these are questions that keep you up at night, I might just have the remedy.
What is it? A while back my sister gave me a copy of Vishal Mangalwadi’s “The Book that made your world.”
I read the German version, but I’m sure the English original is even better. The author is an Indian Christian, scholar, and speaker who takes a look at the history of the Western world and his home country India. He considers a wide range of topics, such as music, language, technology, morals, economy, education, politics, human rights, freedom, etc. In each chapter, he takes a look at how the Bible is the basis for much of what defines (or used to define) the Western world in each particular area. In doing so, he cites a plethora of sources, refers to the Bible itself over and over again and compares and contrasts his findings with cultures where the Bible was less influential.
How is it written? Let’s be honest, it’s not the kind of book you just skim through. Mangalwadi covers a lot of material in every chapter and no sentence is unimportant. With well over 500 pages the book also isn’t a quick read. It took me many lunch breaks to get through it and I’m still not quite at the end. The German version is well written and for the most part, it was easy for me to follow Mangalwadi’s train of thought. Every now and then, I wish he would have elaborated more or gone into further detail when drawing his conclusions, but then again – the book covers two millennia, give the man some credit!
What’s in it for me? Prepare to be amazed at all the ways and all the areas in which the Bible shaped the Western world in thought and practice. It was a true eye-opener for me as this book sheds light on so many topics where the influence of the Bible is either overlooked or denied. The book made me realize afresh that God’s word influences and transforms all areas of life and that we in the Western world as slowly but surely burning up our roots. How tragic that so many people reject the teachings of the Bible and yet daily enjoy the benefits it brought to their everyday lives.
This book leaves you with a new sense of pride in the Bible, a new outlook on the history of the Western world and a new sensitivity to the issues of our time.
Disclaimer: I do not receive anything from the author for reviewing this book.