The Air We Breathe: How We All Came to Believe in Freedom, Kindness, Progress, and Equality – Glen Scrivener

The Air We Breathe: How We All Came to Believe in Freedom, Kindness, Progress, and Equality by Glen Scrivener
Also by this author: The Gift: What If Christmas Gave You What You've Always Wanted?
Published by Good Book Company on March 1, 2022
Genres: Non-Fiction, Apologetics, Christian Life
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Is Christianity history? Or is Christian history the deepest explanation of the modern world?

Today in the west, many consider the church to be dead or dying. Christianity is seen as outdated, bigoted and responsible for many of society's problems. This leaves many believers embarrassed about their faith and many outsiders wary of religion. But what if the Christian message is not the enemy of our modern Western values, but the very thing that makes sense of them?

In this fascinating book, Glen Scrivener takes readers on a journey to discover how the teachings of Jesus not only turned the ancient world upside down, but continue to underpin the way we think of life, worth, and meaning. Far from being a relic from the past, the distinctive ideas of Christianity, such as freedom, kindness, progress and equality, are a crucial part of the air that we breathe. As author Glen Scrivener says in his introduction: "The extraordinary impact of Christianity is seen in the fact that we don't notice it.

This is a book for both believers and skeptics--giving Christians confidence to be open about their faith and showing non-Christians the ways in which the message of Jesus makes sense of their most cherished beliefs. Whoever you are, you'll gain a deeper appreciation for the values you hold dear as you discover the power and profundity of Jesus and his revolution.

In this highly readable, engaging book, Glen Scrivener shows that Christianity is “the air we breathe” within Western society, regardless of our individual beliefs. He shows that core Western moral convictions, such as the idea of human equality, come from the Bible and from “the Jesus revolution,” not from any self-evident truth in nature. In contrast with this, he shares history from the ancient world and quotes from its famous philosophers, showing how deeply their self-evident norms go against ours. What we see as inevitable, and as obviously right, flows from Christianity, regardless how secularized Westerns leave Christianity behind in their pursuit of those virtues.

The Air We Breathe: How We All Came to Believe in Freedom, Kindness, Progress, and Equality is fascinating. Unlike more academic books that deal with similar topics, this one is concise and frequently humorous, with Scrivener’s strong voice adding to the book’s appeal. He also makes a point of addressing different groups of people (Christians, secular readers, and people who have left Christianity), and anyone can enjoy and benefit from the book, regardless of their beliefs. Scrivener also primarily cites from non-Christian historians to support his case, showing that the power and revolution of Christianity in society are evident to people who disbelieve its religious claims.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Western history, social issues, or religious history. I found this fascinating, and despite how well-versed I already am with the topic, I learned a lot. My only word of warning is that some chapters include graphic details about physical and sexual violence. None of the information is gratuitous, since it reveals socially accepted evils from the ancient world, but readers who are highly sensitive to this should be aware.