better angels

I was staying at my sister-in-laws over the Christmas holidays and noticed some ‘light’ bedtime reading by the bed in the spare room, ‘The Better Angels of our Nature‘ by Stephen Pinker which I was sort of fascinated by. Then last week there was a copy in the library which I’ve brought home and have started to read.

It is a very long book. Well, not very long, but long enough for me. And he is a very good writer so I am reading it and enjoying it.
But it feels like a much more dangerous book for a Christian to be reading than some of the books by Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins because

a) I enjoy his writing
b) He is very good at pulling out studies and burying you under a weight of smartness which you can’t be bothered to check out. You are just swept along by the writing
c) He shoots Christianity down, but doesn’t do it in a way that makes you particularly annoyed. Instead of trying to prove that he thinks it’s all wrong like Hitchens and Dawkins and that you should believe that it’s wrong (which gets your back up) he just gets on with assuming it’s all wrong and writing about the book.

So that’s what I’m reading at the moment. One thing I’ve noticed is that about a quarter of the book through and I don’t remember there being a ¬†definition of violence or what he means by violence.



I’m not sure what I mean by dangerous book for Christians to be reading. That sounds like my teenage days talking when people used to say that you couldn’t listen to rock music as it was from the devil.


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