The book that made your world: how the Bible created the soul of Western civilization by Vishal Mangalwadi.
Whatever you think of the Bible and Christianity, you can’t deny they’ve changed the world. I knew this, but I never realised in what ways and to what extent, until I read The book that made your world.
The Bible gives a particular view of the world – it is not divine, nor a living entity; it is able to be understood and investigated – and of humans: by nature equal, but because of pride and selfishness, socially unequal; born to rule the world but not to abuse it; the crowning glory of creation but rebels against the God who made us.
Manglwadi notes how this unique view of the world and humanity shaped the Western view of life; of humanity, education, technology, science, finance, work, heroism, ethics, equal rights, charity, justice, and compassion.
Considering just one topic, technology, he notes that Korea had movable metal fonts two centuries before Gutenberg developed wooden ones, and that China had developed the printing press before 1000 AD, and Buddhist monasteries contained 130,000 pages of writings; so many that they also developed rotating bookcases. In six out of ten monasteries you could hear the bookshelves revolving day and night – not because the monks were reading the books, but because they were meditating on the sound of the turning bookcases. This was because of their worldview, which sought to stop thought, not encourage it. A culture of sharing information only develops if there is a reason to share information. (more…)