Monday, February 17, 2014

Book Review - What's Your Worldview?

James N. Anderson has written a helpful and informative book on worldviews called What's Your Worldview?: An Interactive Approach to Life's Big Questions. This book would likely be found in the apologetics section of a bookstore or library, but it would be significantly different than most, if not all, books found there. Though what makes it different is definitely part of the appeal of this book, it also provides the reader with a valuable resource for studying worldviews, for sharing one's faith, and for scrutinizing one's own beliefs.

Since much of the blog and Twitter chatter involves the uniqueness of this book, we'll start with what it is that makes What's Your Worldview? special in the genre of apologetic books. Anderson immediately draws the reader's attention to this book's unusual feature: "Have you ever read one of the Choose Your Own Adventure(CYOA) books?" This is the first line of the book. And with this sentence the reader is introduced to the unique characteristic that is receiving so much attention. I'll not go into details about CYOA books as many are familiar with them. If you're not, a search on Wikipedia will give you the gist of how they work. The fact that this book on apologetics works like a CYOA book is what makes it unlike anything else out there. This format helps the reader find out their own worldview by presenting a series of questions. The answer to each question determines the destination (worldview) the reader arrives at. This was surprisingly fun and intriguing to experiment with. It added some suspense to the reading experience. This unique structure definitely adds to the attractiveness of the book. Particularly, I think unbelievers would find this a very comfortable feature.

That is one reason why I suggest this book would also be a valuable tool in sharing your faith. I could easily see myself handing this to an unbelieving friend and asking them to see where they land when it comes to their own beliefs. And I think that process would encourage valuable discussions. What's Your Worldview? is a non-threatening way to engage those who don't share your beliefs and give them an opportunity to hear about Christianity's perspective on life. Anderson's work is not only a resource for sharing your faith, but it is also a resource for studying worldviews in general.

The final destination for all readers will be one of 21 different worldviews which will be determined by how the reader answers a series of questions. The destination worldviews are 1-2 page summaries which are in and of themselves a very informative and helpful part of this book. This book will be a good reference to revisit when there are questions about different religions, philosophies, and outlooks on life. The worldview summaries that are represented in the book are as follows: Atheistic Dualism, Atheistic Idealism, Christianity, Deism, Finite Godism, Islam, Judaism, Materialism, Monism, Mysticism, Nihilism, Non-Mainstream Monotheism, Panentheism, Pantheism, Pelagianism, Platonism, and Pluralism. It must be obvious that  a book that includes concise, readable summaries on all these belief systems would be of significant value. And one of the many worldviews that the reader will come to understand is their own.

For the Christian reader, this book will help confirm whether or not what they believe actually lines up with historic Christianity. Or, it will clarify where one departs from the Christian perspective into another system of beliefs. Thus, it is a diagnostic for those who profess themselves as Christ-followers. Again, it seems to me that the value of this function of the book is evident.

What's Your Worldview? is a fun and edifying book to read. It's Choose Your Own Adventure structure, unique in the realm of apologetical books, is the main reason why it is so fun to read. It provides more than entertainment as a tool for evangelism, a resource for study of worldviews, and a diagnostic of one's own beliefs. This is a book worth owning, reading, and re-reading

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