Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ochre and Bone, Flint and Clay

Not all evidence of civilization endures as history...

The Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age is a fascinating examination of the period between the Upper Paleolithic Revolution and our earliest historical knowledge.  Civilization did not arise fully formed like a Venus on the half shell.  This wide-ranging but effectively concise book explains that our climb to modernity began many centuries before the Sumerians, Egyptians, and the Minoans began to create history.  Written by Richard Rudgley in 1999, Lost Civilizations foreshadowed wonders yet to be unearthed at Wonderwerk, Blombos Cave and other excavations where we moderns strive to discern the nature of our paleolithic origins.

Photo credit: The Museum of Natural Sciences, Brussels, Belgium, by way of

Clever Isn't Necessarily Compelling

C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity is merely challenging...

A friend with whom I discuss religion asked me to read one of his favorite books and even made a gift to me of a copy. I've known of C.S. Lewis since middle school but I had not read any of his explicitly religious work.  Linda and I read The Chronicles of Narnia books to the kids when they were young.  They enjoyed them and so did we.  When it comes to religion Lewis was a skilled writer and speaker (Mere Christianity was originally a series of lectures he gave on BBC radio during WWII).  While not a theologian or a philosopher, Lewis was certainly a very clever apologist. He delivers his description of a manly, muscular Christianity in a rather neat package, with all the contradictory bits tucked away, snipped off, or just ignored. Lewis levels the field, minimizing the value of non-Christian goodness and explaining away the all too frequent examples of unregenerate behavior seen in many Christians.  I can see why evangelicals find him compelling, but I don't.  All that said, those who would debate Christianity - from any perspective - should read it.