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Unspeakable: Facing Up to Evil in an Age of Genocide and Terror [Hardcover]

By Os Guinness (Author)
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Item Number 21483  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   256
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.98" Width: 6.22" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   103 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2005
Publisher   Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN  0060586362  
EAN  9780060586362  
UPC  025986586362  

Availability  0 units.

Alternate Formats List Price Our Price Item Number Availability
Hardcover $ 21.95 $ 18.66 21483
Paperback $ 14.99 $ 12.74 56173 In Stock
Item Description...
Addressing both individuals and a traumatized culture, sociologist and popular Christian author Os Guinness confronts our inability to understand?let alone effectively respond to?evil, providing both a grammar and a strategy for a way forward.

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More About Os Guinness

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Os Guinness was born in China and educated in England. He did undergraduate studies at the University of London and postgraduate work at Oriel College, Oxford, where he earned a D.Phil in the social sciences. Formerly a guest scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Studies and Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Os is currently Senior Fellow at the Trinity Forum in McLean, Virginia. Widely traveled, he has written or edited more than twenty books, including The American Hour, Time for Truth, and The Call. He makes his home in northern Virginia.

From the Hardcover edition.

Os Guinness currently resides in Burke, in the state of Virginia.

Os Guinness has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Daylight Bible Studies
  2. Hourglass Books

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( G ) > Guinness, Os   [18  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General   [31520  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Unspeakable  Oct 9, 2005
This book is extremely well written. It explores in depth how the eastern religions and the monotheistic religions deal with evil. If Mr. Guinness is right, and I believe he is, then we need to diligently pray for our country more than we ever have.
Don Cameron  Oct 3, 2005
An excellent book on a difficult subject. I recommend as a companion book C.S.Lewis' "The Problem of Pain".
A Decent Read from Guinness  Aug 24, 2005
This definitely is not a book that you MUST have on your shelves, but it is a decent read. Guinness does make some excellent points regarding the problem of evil, and suggests that the belief in the Judeo-Christian God has the best solution to the problem.

My greatest disappointment in this work was the recycling of material Guinness had used in another one of his books. Even though it was important to his thesis, if you were familiar with his writing it was a bit of a let down.
A superb treatment of a perennial problem  Aug 23, 2005
This is a very important book: it is an important subject tackled by an important author. Guinness, one of our finest Christian commentators and thinkers, argues that the issue of suffering and evil is our most urgent and serious problem.

Evil may have been always with us, but Guinness argues that for the first time in human history, many people no longer have a coherent moral and intellectual framework with which to assess it. More disturbing, we no longer have a shared understanding about whether there even is such a thing as evil.

Ironically, while the scale and scope of evil has increased in the modern world, our ability to respond to it has weakened. Because of the "sorry state of moral illiteracy and intellectual cowardice" that we moderns find ourselves in, we have a hard time even recognizing evil. Or worse still, we simply make excuses for it.

Utopian views of human goodness and a refusal to face reality have resulted in a moral myopia that cannot call evil evil. Indeed, postmodernism compounds the problem, by arguing that calling something evil is the real crime. PoMo has "spawned legions of people who pronounce all judgments of evil to be judgmental and evil themselves".

Guinness spends a lot of time asking questions about evil and suffering, saving tentative answers for the end of his book. The questions themselves reveal a very deep and nuanced struggle with the issue. Guinness has drawn deeply from the wells of human reflection on, and interaction with, the subject of pain and suffering. His many incisive quotes from a range of authors, thinkers, philosophers and religions are alone worth the price of the book.

As part of his investigation, he describes in detail three main responses to the problem of evil. The three main families of faith in the modern world are the Eastern, the secular, and the Judeo-Christian.

Eastern responses to evil include that of Hinduism, Buddhism, and much of the New Age Movement. A common theme of the Eastern approach is that there is no real solution to evil in this world, only the renunciation of this world. Freedom from evil means freedom from individuality. If the East is world-denying, the next main option is world-affirming.

In the secularist family of faith (atheism, naturalism, secular humanism, etc.) evil is something that we alone must confront. There is no God to help us, so we must create our own paradise on earth. And we have certainly seen some robust attempts in the past century to do just that. Great experiments in producing a new man and a new social order have been tried, but only to be found greatly wanting. The grand social utopias, be they of Stalin, Hitler or Mao have all resulted in the most horrific bloodshed known to man.

Secularist regimes with secularist visions of heaven on earth have only led to hell on earth. Indeed, more people were killed by the secularists in the twentieth century than all other ideologies combined before then.

The last family, the great monotheistic faiths, has quite a different spin on things. The Judeo-Christian tradition sees evil as an intrusion into this world. Things are not the way they are supposed to be. Evil is unnatural and an intruder. The doctrine of creation tells us about how the world was meant to be, while the doctrine of the fall tells us what has gone wrong. But it does not end there. In the Christian version of things, the doctrine of redemption tells us how evil has been faced head on, and how it has been, and ultimately will be, overcome. Thus we can join in fighting against evil without seen to be fighting against God.

God does not abandon us in our struggle against evil. Indeed, "no other god has wounds," Guinness reminds us. In the Eastern view, detachment is the solution. In the secular view, denial or utopianism is the proposed course. In the Christian view, God enters into our predicament, suffers for us and with us, and leads us in the way ahead.

The three views could not be more different. In the Christian religion, not only is there a plausible explanation for evil, but there is the conviction that something has been done about it. God has entered human history and confronted sheer evil. And the sheer love of God has defeated this evil.

Of course the mystery of evil can never be fathomed, at least in this world. In the Hebrew scriptures a whole book was devoted to the subject. Job asked a lot of questions which were never answered. "In the end, rather than getting an answer from God, Job encounters God himself, which is his answer."

The timeless truths of the Christian faith will not satisfy everyone. And as Guinness points out, some of the most anguished cries against God concerning the problem of evil have come from believers, not atheists. The Christian solution must be weighed up and compared to its chief rivals.

No one system may completely satisfy. But by means of a careful presentation of the main alternatives, this book helps to lay out the quite different approaches to this vexatious problem, helping all pilgrims along the way to see more clearly and perhaps more hopefully.

If this book ultimately sheds little new light on the subject, it is because it does not claim to do so. It can only restate what has gone before. And this restatement is superbly done. And given the age of terrorism and genocide that we find ourselves in, the demand for a careful restatement is more urgent than ever.
We have met the enemy and...  Jul 25, 2005
The problem of evil confronts and confuses us all. Guinness encourages us to examine our lives in light of the evil so prevalent in our world today. Through a series of seven questions, Guinness addresses several areas relating to evil, including causes for and reactions to the suffering all around us. His overall thesis is that `religion is not the problem' but the only real answer to survival in a world gone mad.

In general Guinness examines evil from three perspectives: (1) Eastern religions (especially Buddhism and Hinduism); (2) Secularism (especially in terms of liberalism and relativism); and (3) Biblical faiths (Judaism and Christianity). He really never examines his subject from an Islamic viewpoint. Guinness writes from a Christian viewpoint and in determined fashion argues that detachment from evil (Eastern religions) or underestimating the presence and power of evil (Secularism) is not the answer. Rather, Christianity offers the only realistic appraisal of evil and the only legitimate hope of overcoming it. He writes with a `trilemma' in mind. Is God willing to prevent evil yet unable to? Is he able but unwilling? Is he both willing and able? These three questions vex Christian to no end but Guinness is clear to admit the questions must be part of the discussion.

Guinness is well informed and includes many great thinkers and survivors of evil in his discussion. He writes from a context of having evil impact his life directly. Readers will come away with an understanding of the issues surrounding evil, even if they don't share his embracing of the Christian worldview. If anything could be changed about the book it would be the inclusion of an Islamic perspective and the addition of footnotes and a subject index. But these complaints aside, Guinness' book will make you think about a topic that is often denied though it is critical to our understanding of who we are and what the meaning of life is.

Write your own review about Unspeakable: Facing Up to Evil in an Age of Genocide and Terror

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