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The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

James W. Sire , Grover Gardner


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Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  42 reviews
62 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Introduction to an Important Topic. 23 Sep 2003
By Kyle Demming - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In "The Universe Next Door", James Sire articulates and discusses all of the major worldviews held by persons today. Since worldviews are important to every individual, this book is relevant and useful for almost everybody. Each worldview is explained quickly and concisely, which means that this book is by no means a comprehensive look at the issue. However, this is a strength rather than a weakness- the short chapters are easy to grasp and Sire relays complicated ideas in an easy-to-understand manner.
Sire definitely approaches the issue from a Christian perspective. Some may see this as a major flaw, but I think it is appropriate for Sire to openly announce his biases rather than try to hide them. In any case, I feel Sire is correct in that theism is the only consistent and complete worldview. His discussion of Christian theism is absolutely great. Sire does point out that there are many "inner" issues or problems within Christianity- but still contends that Christianity provides the outer framework of a consistent worldview.
"The Universe Next Door" is a recommended read for everyone.
52 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Praise from a "Pagan" 19 Aug 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I first read Mr. Sire's book when I was earnestly striving to be an evangelical protestant. As I eventually became a universalist mystic, one might safely assume that Sire's Christian theistic arguments failed to convince me. Nevertheless, I found the book a useful introduction then, and still refer to it now, although for quite different purposes than the author likely intended. This is an excellent introduction to different philosophical points of view, and although the categories are rather broad, the footnotes are extensive and give great amplification to the text. As one might expect, Mr. Sire's pro-Christian bias is unapologetically present throughout [as he himself admits in the introduction], yet he is nevertheless fair in presenting the basic arguments for each worldview in it's own terms and often in the words of those who champion each school of thought. In closing, I would recommend this book to anyone who is seeking an accessible introduction to the major modern worldviews, whether they be Christian or not. Hopefully others will find this book as great a help in forging their personal philosophies as I have found it in creating mine.
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enduring Work 13 Jan 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I chuckled as I read reviews critical of this ambitious little book. What did its critics expect? A book critical of theism from InterVarsity Press would be shocking.
I first read this book when it was published about twenty years ago. It is not as detailed as Norm Geisler's Introduction to Apologetics but it serves a different purpose and is aimed at a different audience. The value of the book is obvious from the number of reprints it has enjoyed over the years. The author writes with understanding and appreciation for other worldviews. I expect this from a professor of English who wrote a book entitled "How to Read Slowly." One of Sire's favorite authors is Saul Bellow; Sire would purchase Bellow's books sight unseen. His literary tastes should tell discerning readers a great deal about the author. As a professor of English, Sire writes clearly and lucidly about a subject that others fumble and stumble through.
The only other author who has attempted such an ambitious book about understanding worldviews is Mortimer Adler, the deceased editor of Encyclopedia Britanica. Adler's and Sire's works on worldviews compare favorably. If anything, this single book by Sire has a greater scope than any of Adler's books except for The Great Ideas: A Lexicon of Western Thought. And Sire is just about at the same level for concise, pointed critiques of various worldviews.
A critical assessment of postmodernism (Foucault, Derrida, etc.) is a welcome chapter in the book. I don't believe that Foucault's dependence on Heidegger is acknowledged. Barthes and Lucan are not discussed. I find Tasic's Mathematics and the Roots of Postmodern Thought to be among the most interesting and sympathetic surveys of the complex postmodern phenomenon. It might serve as an excellent supplementary text although it might prove to be challenging reading.
This well-written book is highly recommended for readers looking for a single book that fairly and concisely assesses worldviews.
25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound. Simply profound. 21 Sep 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
We all think. But how and why do we think the ways we do? The way we look at ourselves as beings, and how we come to acquire information about the world around us may be something few people ever think about. However upon examination of the worldview we possess, and those possessed by others, we come to a new and more objective appreciation of what it is to truly be human and aware. Sire examines the worldviews of Theism, Deism, Naturalism (and it's necessary extention - Nihilism), Existentialism, Eastern Monism, and PostModernism as well as others. Again, the analysis reveals something simply profound (dare I say life-changing) to those who seek a truly objective and realistic worldview. As a Christian, I was strengthened greatly. Not merely nominally in the conclusion Sire draws, but rather, in the new understanding of the ways and reasons others' think the way they do. Taken together with works such as Hugh Ross' "Creator and the Cosmos" or "The Fingerprint of God" which show modern cosmology to be truly in harmony with the Bible, this work by Sire presents compelling evidence for the Christian Theistic worldview and faith. One outstanding point in the work is Sire's logical analysis of Naturalism's "random chance" which is used to explain a great many things. As a tool for describing our lack of information about a system, it is proper to assign probabilities and a chance 'figure' to it. However, in the naturalistic worldview where there is no belief in a 'spirit' or that the universe may be re-ordered by God or man in that respect, determinism reigns, and there is no such thing as 'random' chance at all - only man's ignorance of deterministic cause. Profound.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comparing ways of thinking rather than comparing beliefs 13 May 1998
By Steve Johnston (Steve_Johnston@sec.siemens.com) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As a student of both psychology and philosophy I found this book to be a missing link in literature. The truth is I read this book many years ago and bought it again to read after I gave my original copy to my son in college. If you are a Christian and interested in understanding how the message of the Bible stacks up with other world views you cannot pass up this book. You may find the book tough reading in places, however the author has kept the content as simple as possible while still exploring differences in major world philosophical perspectives.
If you are a Christian who wants to understand how your faith stacks up against alternative human views of creation, human nature, the existence of God, life after life, revelation and other issues you must read this book. One note...before you begin reading be determined to finish it. It is very important to read the entire book, no matter the effort, to get the most value from the message. A TRUE MASTERPIECE!!
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