Top positive review
A Challenge to Relgious and Secular Ideas
on 27 February 2014
This is a book to make you think. It traces many trends in religious and secular thinking that all stem from what the author sees as a harmful myth - the idea that a perfect world can be achieved. He traces this myth back to the Christian idea of the imminent end of the world and the coming of the Kingdom of God. Having led to much violence in its religious setting, in modern times it has been transposed into a secular guide through such movements as the French Revolution, Communism and other revolutions, all of which have led to reigns of terror. Apocalyptic thinking is willing to sacrifice any number of lives now for the sake of a perfect future which it 'knows' is coming. Gray sees this in the missionary enthusiasm that assumes that all the problems of the world will be solved when the American style of democracy becomes the norm everywhere. This has led to such things as the disastrous invasion of Iraq. This is a complex book which deserves to be read and re-read. In the end it pleads for realism rather than utopianism - the willingness to do what w can to improve things while recognising that the world will never be perfect.