Most Influential Books

I’ve read so many books this far into my life there is no way to count them all. I enjoy so many from several different subject matters. I do highly prefer nonfiction over fiction. Although, one type of book that is an emerging favorite is historical fiction where the author writes a true account but in a story format filling in the blanks with a compelling narrative.

At any rate, I enjoy a variety of books. But I was thinking about singling out a few books that have been influential or have had a lasting impact on my life.  While I have many favorite books, I have compiled a list of my “most influential books.” This list is sure to expand or possibly change over time. It should be noted that the Bible clearly impacts my life more than any other literature in the world. But this list includes influential books aside from the Bible. Also, I’m simply listing the books and their authors. I’m typing this on my iPhone and it’s not conducive to posting summaries at this point. In no particular order:

  1. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek
  2. The Reason For God by Tim Keller
  3. The Man in Black by Johnny Cash
  4. Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard
  5. Mere Christianty by C.S. Lewis
  6. Christian Apologetics by Douglas Groothuis

Again, I have many more favorite books,  but these ones I return to often for reference, inspiration, reflection, to provoke thoughtfulness, and for direction. 

Do you have a book that greatly influenced your life?

“Godless” Europeans Believe in Trolls and Elves

The other day I was thumbing through my Wall Street Journal and the following quote was enlarged within this book review article (if the link leads you behind a pay wall just google “wsj the God profusion” to get the free view). The quote said, “Europe’s churches are empty–but don’t take that as a sign of reason’s triumph. More than half of Icelanders believe in elves and trolls.”

I couldn’t skip the article written by Naomi Schaefer Riley and I was thoroughly entertained reading it. I won’t type out the entire article here save for few quotes. I encourage you to read it. But essentially the article is a review of a book entitled, “The Triumph of Faith” by Rodney Stark. The author of the book argues against faulty polling that erroneausly suggests the world is becoming more god-less. When in fact, the world is ever becoming more faith-filled.

He makes the case against the Enlightenment dogma that says reason will triumph over and eventually bury faith and religion, and ultimately God himself. Enlightenment evangelists and apologists are quick to point out that religion and belief in God are for the less educated, ignorant, illiterate, and even country hicks. Surely the more educated urban dwellers would never be led into such silliness, right? But the facts show something quite different. The author of the article correctly points out that “college-educated Americans are more likely to attend religious services than their counterparts with only a high school diploma.” In South America, nearly all of their countries are “now less than 5% secular.” And in the rest of the Southern Hemisphere and the Middle East, religion is growing very rapidly.

The article then touches on something I have never considered before. The book goes into an area detailing how government sponsorship of religion (think the United Kingdom) is actually a “hinderance to the growth of faith. Monopoly destroys competition, and competition causes growth.” I won’t go into much detail on this point for now, but I’ll be considering this idea for a very long time I’m sure.

The article then talks about the famous empty churches of Europe. Generally speaking, the empty church phenomenon is relegated largely to the European continent. But do empty churches point toward a lack of belief in the supernatural? Not according to the facts. In fact, supernatural beliefs in Europe are wildly far reaching and far fetched.

The article states, “In Austria, 28% of respondents say they believe in fortune tellers; 32% believe in astrology; and 33% believe in lucky charms. More than 20 percent of Swedes believe in reincarnation; half believe in mental telepathy. More than half of Icelanders believe in huldufolk, hidden people like elves and trolls. It seems as if the former colonial outposts for European missionaries are now becoming more religious, while Europe itself is becoming interested in primitive folk beliefs.”

Quite comical.

I’m not saying that America will not follow the European trend. With all the immoral filth being trotted about in the name of progressivism, we may well be on our way to teaching our children about little trolls and worshipping boxes of Lucky Charms cereal. Who knows? But despite these primitive folk beliefs in Europe, America and indeed the vast majority of the world, is absolutely not on the fast track toward secular naturalism.

Far, far from it.