Beyond Opinion :: Reading to Know Bookclub January 2012

One of my January reading goals was to read Beyond Opinion by Ravi Zacharias as part of the Reading to Know bookclub. As of today, I am crying uncle and throwing in the towel. This is an extremely meaty book about living and defending your faith and what it means to have a Christian worldview. What I did read, I was encouraged by (and I'll share a few things below), but this was a TOUGH book for me to get through. That said, I don't regret the time spent on this and I plan to put this on my shelf for reference and referral, especially as my children get older and we'll spend more time on the apologetic side of their education.

One of the most helpful things that this book did for me was give me some simple definitions of things that I have (ashamedly) been fuzzy on. Words such as postmodern, a "worldview", what does an athiest actually believe (or not), etc. Words that in the context of a conversation I could nod and "um-hmm" and get the gist of where the person was going, but now I have a little more meat to sink my teeth into in regard to some of these terms.

I now feel like (from the first chapter) I have a better understand of why there is so much intolerance to the Christian lifestyle and worldview. People nowadays are brought up under teachings that highlight individuality and uniqueness. Because of this, the concept of one overarching Creator and Lord is not diverse enough to meet everyone's needs so it's refuted. Sadly, thought I'm not saying it's right, it makes sense to me.

I was also struck by the chapter on youth and apologetics. There were so many good things that I underlined in this chapter. A few of them:
  • passively refusing to prepare them [youth] to make wise choices = actively arranging for them to sin
  • faith and commitment cannot be more than vaguely real when you are unable to have a simple conversation about them.
  • reach teens by helping them develop conversation skills (p47) I wish I had had more training in this as a teen!
  • mentor teens diligent in Biblical worldview studies but also full of joy in their relationship with others and full of wonder at the world around them. Something I ponder in terms of social media and how that affects our relationships with others. Can someone really see your joy or wonder through a facebook status or tweet vs. a face-to-face conversation, a phone call, or even a person email or note in the mail? Speaking to myself here... : )
  • the single most important social influence on spiritual lives of teens = PARENTS. Especially fathers. (p56
  • A quote from George Washington: "The future of this nation depends on the Christian training of our youth." (p58)
And so on.

I barely scratched the surface on the chapters on science and faith and may at some point go back and read more there, but for now, I'm encouraged. Books like these are a good reminder to me that it's okay to have questions about my faith and it's okay to ask them. What's not okay is not looking for the answers or doing to the soul searching needed to find them. When that happens I fail myself and the children I am training by giving less than my best.

Thanks, Sky, for suggesting this book for the Reading to Know bookclub. While I didn't finish, I still came away with much to think about! And, I'm looking forward to next month's book, Running Away to Home: Our Family's Journey to Croatia in Search of Who We Are, Where We Came From, and What Really Matters. I went to Croatia in 1998 on a mission trip and I'm feeling inspired to dig out a few pictures and scan them in ... taken in my pre-digital days!

For more on the Reading the Know book club visit Carrie's blog at Reading to Know.

Reading to Know - Book Club


  1. You know, you brought up something here that I failed to mention in my sad little review, that NOW I sort of get what the word postmodern means, and I definitely see the influence of that worldview, even in my own life. I guess that's probably the biggest thing I took away from this book, and I forgot to even mention it. :-(

    I hope you do scan in your pictures from Croatia. That sounds like a fascinating trip!

  2. This sounds like a good book to read. Perhaps I could borrow it? The eldest is doing a worldview study as part of his curriculum. This sounds like a great additional read.

  3. Like you, I was inspired. You may not have finished it, but I think the things that left an impression upon you will remain with you.

    If you want to read my thoughts you can...

  4. You made it further than I did and I'm ready to cry out "UNCLE!" as well. =D (That seems to be the general feeling.) Very important and thought-provoking truth that I'm glad we're all wrestling with. But it's HARD!

    The points you drew out from youth and apologetics alone are very thought-provoking! That's a post in and of itself.

  5. We have a few books by Ravi Zacharius, though not this particular book. I don't know that I've ever finished them. He's the kind of author that I need a solid hour of quiet uninterrupted reading for his books. Sadly, I have neither quiet nor an hour of uninterrupted reading at my house so I opted not to participate in this one. Maybe I'll read it some day. :)


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