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Subverting Global Myths: Theology and the Public Issues Shaping Our World [Hardcover]

Vinoth Ramachandra

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Book Description

July 2008
All societies are organized around, and sustained by, a set of dominant myths - public, large-scale narratives that engage our imaginations and shape the way we experience the world. Myths are an intrinsic part of human existence. They give meaning to our lives, even at the expense of truth. The essays in this book take up six areas of contemporary, global discourse where powerful myths energize and mobilize a great deal of public funding as well as academic production, namely combating terrorism, understanding religious violence, promoting human rights and multiculturalism, the hegemonic role of science, and the postcolonial critique of globalisation. They are addressed to all who are concerned about the public issues that shape our increasingly inter-connected and inter-dependent world. The author, who lives in Sri Lanka but has worked and traveled widely in Asia, Western Europe and North America, brings a critical Christian mind to bear on these issues.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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"I must admit, I didn't see this book coming. I didn't think I would see the sensibility and theological passion of Lewis and Chesterton combined with the rigorous (what some would consider edgy) cultural critiques of Chomsky and Zinn alongside the international and global perspectives of a Newbigin--all from a Sri Lankan nuclear physicist. The book is riveting from front to back; the content is rich, finely articulated, and well researched. We should pay it mind for its Christian prophetic import and its integrity in reminding the reader that faithfulness and hope must always be wed to the prophetic word."--Chris Keller, The Other Journal (theotherjournal.com), August 5, 2008 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

DR VINOTH RAMACHANDRA lives in Colombo, Sri Lanka and is the Secretary for Dialogue and Social Engagement (Asia) for the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students. He holds bachelor and doctoral degrees in nuclear engineering from the University of London. He is the author of, among other books and essays, The Recovery of Mission: Beyond the Pluralist Paradigm (Wipf & Stock, 2002) and Faiths in Conflict?: Christian Integrity in a Multicultural World (IVP (UK & US) 1999). --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Book 30 Sep 2011
By John Seale - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very interesting book - challenges a lot of preconceived notions from a non-Western standpoint. Very fun to read the concepts. Likely to be offensive to some, but if you can read with an open mind you will learn a lot.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing and Inspiring Work to shake your preconceptions 26 Jan 2013
By LeGuan - Published on Amazon.com
This is a challenging book to me, not only for the information, but the deep insights and self reflectiveness of the author. He writes with a grain of intellectual honesty, to challenge the orthodox viewpoints that held our conception in captive for decades. He revealed the myths behind what the ordinary would not be able to decipher from public media or regular school education system. I am also a member of a post-colonialized community which is still struggling to regain its own identity. I am as the author says in the book, a victim of the colonial education system - knowing only one loop-sided story of history. The world needs literature like this so that no one single community of people would be self-centered or try to superimposed on others with their beliefs, values and ideologies. It really takes a person's courage and integrity to confront his or her conscience to face up the reality of our world, and to be a voice that is different to the mainstream with agenda beneath, albeit may be a small voice.
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book 18 July 2013
By James Watrous - Published on Amazon.com
I discovered this book at the public library. I had never heard of the author before. I was thinking this would be an interesting book to read sometime in the future but then I realized I probably would not remember the title or the author. So I checked it out of the library and read it. This is one of the most provocative works on theology I've read in a long time. In fact, it deals with more than theology but many issues facing the world. This is the kind of book I would recommend to anyone whether they are religious or not or Christian or not. Vinoth Ramchandra challenges all our preconceived notions about terrorism, religious violence, human rights, multiculturalism, science, and post colonialism. The fact that the author is from Sri Lanka and not from the west gives him a very unique perspective. Also, the fact he is a scientist as well as a theologian also gives him a unique perspective. I found the book challenging and sometimes I even disagreed with some of his conclusions, which is fine. It's a great read; I highly recommend it.
1 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Quite Possibly the WORST Book I've EVER Read 6 Nov 2011
By Daniel May - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a disclaimer, I was required to read this book for a class, but I expected to really like it, especially after reading the introduction. If I hadn't had the book assigned, however, I would not have likely made it more than halfway through the first section (on Terrorism).

First, the good: the book is well written, and meticulously researched. The author has found and cited people that share his views. Also, the last two sections of the book (on Science and Postcolonialism, respectively) were reasonable and levelheaded, although the Postcolonialism section was rather dull.

Now, the bad: The majority of the book can be summarized in two words: Pure Craziness. I'd blame the insanity on a hyperliberal bias, except that there are a number of sections where a hyperconservative bias shows. I would guess that I'm in the author's core target audience. I am an American Christian, living and working outside of the US. I'm fairly conservative, but willing to discuss other points of view. That said, I found his views on most things outrageously (even laughably) extreme. I'd be much more sympathetic to a well reasoned extremism, but the author's views don't seem to follow any pattern (except to consistently espouse the most extreme viewpoint he can find).

Now this could just be a rant on my part if I didn't back it up. I don't have time to pick apart the entire book here, but I'll highlight a few quick viewpoints. Most of the rest of the book follows suit.

Just a few highlights: He argues that the US deserved what happened to them on 9/11, that to call intentional acts of guerrilla warfare against civilians terrorism is wrong, that legitimate wars fought by governments within the bounds of the Geneva convention should be called terrorism, and seemingly any other piece of self-contradictory nonsense that he can come up with. He attempts to ensconce his radicalist beliefs in a "Christian" facade, but any discerning reader can see through his chicanery. Later in the book, he argues that stealing to meet any felt need is completely justified, and should in fact not be called stealing. His views on international borders are similarly absurd.

Please save yourself time and money, and don't buy this book. If you feel you must, or like me, have it assigned for a class, go into it expecting the absurd and you won't be disappointed. Anyone looking for well reasoned, serious criticism should try reading "The Onion" before this book.
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