140: The Universe Next Door by James W. Sire

by Gerard


140: Sire, James W. The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog, 3rd Ed. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997. 200 pp. ISBN 0-8308-1849-6.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 100: Philosophy and Psychology
  • 140: Specific philosophical schools and viewpoints

James Sire caught me with my proverbial pants down (so to say) with his Universe Next Door. Ostensibly, it goes through the six to ten (depending on how you count and group them) major philosophical schools and examines each one for strengths and flaws. He indeed covers the whole spectrum, from theism to nihilism to naturalism to existentialism to postmodernism. And his dutiful explanations of each school are decent; I’ll give him that. But sadly, it’s the last chapter that wallops you on the side of the head. After a competent exploration of the world of philosophy, he dumps all but one into a bucket labelled “Not Worth Your Time.” The conclusion he brings the book to is to that to live a “well-examined” life, one must be a Christian theist. That left a sour taste in my mouth. That is not to say that Christian theism isn’t a worthy worldview for some people. But simply dismissing billions of people as not living a good life is both insulting and deflating. If you must read this one, stop just before the end—trust me, you’ll feel a lot better about it.