Unspeakable: Facing Up to Evil in an Age of Genocide and Terror

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9780060586362: Unspeakable: Facing Up to Evil in an Age of Genocide and Terror

Addressing both individuals and a traumatized culture, sociologist and popular Christian author Os Guinness confronts our inability to understand—let alone effectively respond to—evil, providing both a grammar and a strategy for a way forward.

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From the Back Cover:

When it comes to evil, our culture is surprisingly illiterate. From the American President downward, many of those who speak unabashedly of evil are dismissed as simplistic, old-fashioned, and having a view of life shaped more by fairy tales and old westerns than by science. This moral confusion became overwhelmingly apparent in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 9-11. Yet 9-11 simply reopened our eyes to the devastating history of tragic evil that haunts humankind. Guinness faces this history with courageous honesty, seeking to illuminate the nagging questions of the inhumanity of humanity as well as the place of God in human suffering.

While much discussion in the past two years has focused on religion’s role in history’s inhuman acts, Guinness attests that the worst atrocities of human history were perpetrated by secularist regimes and in the name of secularist beliefs. Religion can no longer be the scapegoat: we must learn to name and judge evil in order to handle it effectively. Having spent time living on 3 different continents, Guinness is able to illuminate the deeply different ways we have of understanding evil, and the decisive differences they make in a fresh and unbiased manner. He then provides a framework for learning to deal with this evil, outlining seven steps that can help us make sense of life in times of evil and suffering:
1. Recognize the sources
2. Listen to the questions
3. Acknowledge the modern transformations
4. Assess the different explanations
5. Act on the practical demands
6. Say no to false accountings
7. Appreciate the silver linings

The problem of evil is not something that can be ignored; it is the most serious problem in human life, the most serious problem in contemporary history, and the most serious problem for the deepest resort of humans in life—our trust in God or in the universe.

About the Author:

Os Guinness is an author and speaker living in the Washington, D.C., area. Born in China during World War II, Guinness left in 1951, after the Chinese Revolution. A graduate of the University of London and Oxford, Guinness is a former visiting fellow of the Brookings Institution. He has written or edited more than twenty books, including The Call, Invitation to the Classics, and Long Journey Home. A frequent speaker and seminar leader at political and business conferences in the United States, Europe, and Asia, Guinness has lectured at many universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, and Stanford, and has often spoken on Capitol Hill.

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