Book Review: Right from Wrong
Having gone through the book, one cannot help but feel that the book is somewhat oriented along the lines of the rudimentary discussions of everyday life. However the fact that it is based upon a survey does give it a certain degree of strength, but that too is overshadowed by the fact that the book is based on a survey performed in 1994 (McDowell, 1994). Nevertheless, it provides quite a productive insight into evangelical churches.
The book starts with a discussion on the definition and understanding of truth and proceeds by establishing ground through the well known incident that led Adam and Eve to the sin of eating from the forbidden tree. The author takes the reader through the thinking pattern that man went through as he continued to evolve. The focus of the thinking pattern with regard to the book is kept upon the center of attention that continued to be replaced by the evolving understanding that man holds regarding the universe he lives in. It is indeed amazing to follow the author as he speaks of the time when man went through the industrial revolution and the thinking process through which man went as he continued to find solace in Darwin’s theory in his quest to determine not only his origin but the very source of his origins. The author brings this part of the discussion to an end by presenting a conclusion to the reader that brings forth the reasoning for man’s actions in his life. McDowell concludes that no matter which approach man implements to assist him in the perusal of the questions that have amazed him since he has gained consciousness. McDowell infers and states that it is the right of every individual to decide the exact difference between the wrong and the right in his life. He believes that no solid definition can be established since there is no established line between the perceptions of right and wrong.
McDowell’s book comes out to be quite different from other books that explore the same area of basic human principle. Although the text does seem to be quite lengthy at times when the author gives multiple examples continuously, the subject matter still holds together quite effectively. This is so because there is no doubt the degree of research that the author carried out in the penning of the book is reflected in the various areas that the author has covered in the book while elaborating upon the core subject matter.
But it is not merely examples that the author has used to prove his point but it also appears that the author has made extensive use of anecdotes in his desire to get the message through. For every subject that the author has discussed, the number of examples and anecdotes is undeniably one of the few dimensions that give the book its strength.
However, the author is by no means unrealistic in his approach and his utilization of the anecdotes and examples mentioned above. Yet, there is a certain sense of unease as one goes through the true to life examples that the author has presented in his book. But perhaps this unease in the reader is not a sign that points to any fault in the book. The case is quite similar to that of a motion picture based on a horror theme. The success of the motion picture lies in the degree of fear it can instill in the audience. The more the audience feels truly scared of watching the movie again, the higher the success of the main cause of the motion picture can be considered to be. This element of unease is one that the reader feels continuously through the course of the reading of the book. However, it is not one that can possibly motivate the reader to put the book down and consider it a failure altogether. On the contrary, it is one that inspires the reader to find out more and to continue reading the book from cover to cover and then all over again in order to learn more about the true difference between right and wrong.
It is important to highlight at this point that not all of the anecdotes and examples used by the author are based upon real life, in fact, quite a few of them are purely factious and penned down in an attempt to elaborate upon the subject to an extent where the reader holds no more confusions or doubts by the time the chapter concludes. If there is one element that the book undoubtedly succeeds in achieving, then it is the achievement of instilling the reader with a desire to learn more about the core of the book.
One of the many highlights of the book can be observed to be the fact that the author has adopted a multidimensional approach to the subject matter. As the books proceed and the chapters follow each other, one is greeted by the discussion of the subject in a number of genres and areas. This made the book a very interesting read since the degree of repetition and redundancy was next to none because of this prime reason. In this regard one area that one finds the author concentrating upon to quite a significant extent is the elaboration on the recovering truth in a variety of environments. These include the home, the church and the community environment.
As mentioned earlier, the book holds its ground on a survey and one can see graphs illustrating data from the survey strewn across the latter third of the book as one goes on. In light of this review, the book can be seen as a part of a movement to restore belief in the purity and divinity that lies in the absolute truth. In order to do so, the author has taken extensive help from anecdotes and examples, from both real life as well as fiction. To provide the reader with a path to quench the thirst for the understanding of absolute that the book instills, the author has taken the liberty of providing a list of additional resources to which the reader can turn to in order to attain a deeper understanding of the subject at hand. The author is careful in making sure that a part of these additional resources are tailored to the modern generation of today.
The author also provides a helping hand of sorts by providing information that is specific to people and agencies that can be reached in order to gain a further understanding of the inverse relationship between the degree to which the significance of absolute truth is forgotten and the degree to which the significance of absolute truth is increasing. In light of the fact that the author managed to bring about a change in my thinking regarding truth, I would recommend that the book can be considered to be a must read for students and should be most definitely recommended.
McDowell, J. (1994). Right From Wrong. Thomas Nelson.