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A Free People’s Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future

Nothing is more daring in the American experiment than the founders’ belief that the American republic could remain free forever. But how was this to be done, and are Americans doing it today?

It is not enough for freedom to be won. It must also be sustained. Cultural observer Os Guinness argues that the American experiment in freedom is at risk. Summoning historical evidence on how democracies evolve, Guinness shows that contemporary views of freedom–most typically, a negative freedom from constraint– are unsustainable because they undermine the conditions necessary for freedom to thrive. He calls us to reconsider the audacity of sustainable freedom and what it would take to restore it.

“In the end,” Guinness writes, “the ultimate threat to the American republic will be Americans. The problem is not wolves at the door but termites in the floor.” The future of the republic depends on whether Americans will rise to the challenge of living up to America’s unfulfilled potential for freedom, both for itself and for the world.

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Signals of Transcendence: Listening to the Promptings of Life

Signals of Transcendence: Listening to the Promptings of Life

IVP
There must be something more to life. The modern world is a place of great distraction, and it can be difficult to make sense of our human existence. But at some point in our lives, we may experience particular moments that prompt us to searchRead More
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In his usual erudite clarity, Os Guinness illuminates the dark paths of history's chaos, traumas, and violence with Signals ofRead More
Makoto Fujimura, artist and author of Art+Faith: A Theology of Making

There must be something more to life.

The modern world is a place of great distraction, and it can be difficult to make sense of our human existence. But at some point in our lives, we may experience particular moments that prompt us to search for something deeper. Sociologist Peter Berger described these hints and clues as “signals of transcendence” that awaken us to unseen realities.

Os Guinness tells stories of people who experienced signals of transcendence and followed them to find new meaning and purpose in life. Notable figures such as Leo Tolstoy and C. S. Lewis as well as lesser-known individuals experienced a variety of promptings that signaled to them that life could not continue as they had thought. Through unsatisfied longings or disillusionments that yet yielded glimpses of beauty or joy, these moments drew people toward epiphanies of transformation. And the same can be true for us, should we have the courage to follow the signals wherever they may lead.

Listen for the signals. And discover what more awaits those with ears to hear.

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In his usual erudite clarity, Os Guinness illuminates the dark paths of history's chaos, traumas, and violence with Signals of Transcendence. This book is a gold mine of wisdom, a gift for generations to come. For all of us meandering as border-stalking artists, drowning in the undertows of cultural currents that wash away our confidence in institutions of faith, classical learning, and worldly systems, Guinness is a pedagogical North Star that guides to enlarge our imaginations and to give courage for that journey. I found myself gripped with every page of this book, called into the minute particulars of every word, in order to behold, to begin to mend the fragments of broken fissures in our time.
Makoto Fujimura, artist and author of Art+Faith: A Theology of Making
A tremendous little book, crackling with challenge, insight, and truth. Essential reading for anyone brave enough to open their mind and think.
Norman Stone, director of the original Shadowlands
Long Journey Home: A Guide to Your Search for the Meaning of Life

Long Journey Home: A Guide to Your Search for the Meaning of Life

WaterBrook
Have you woken up to the journey of life? Have you reached a point where you long for “something more”? Have the things you have striven to achieve turned out to be far less than enough? Do you desire to unriddle life’s mystery and pursueRead More
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Have you woken up to the journey of life? Have you reached a point where you long for “something more”? Have the things you have striven to achieve turned out to be far less than enough? Do you desire to unriddle life’s mystery and pursue a life rich with significance?
Long Journey Home is a seeker’s road map to the quest for meaning. Rich in stories and profoundly personal as well as practical, it explores the great philosophies of life and charts the road toward meaning taken by countless thoughtful seekers over the centuries. Written for those who care and those who are open, “it assumes no faith in the reader, only the recognition that the humanness of life as a journey is something we should all care about enough to seek to make sense of it and to make up our minds for ourselves.”

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The Global Public Square: Religious Freedom and the Making of a World Safe for Diversity

The Global Public Square: Religious Freedom and the Making of a World Safe for Diversity

How do we live with our deepest differences? In a world torn by religious conflict, the threats to human dignity are terrifyingly real. Some societies face harsh government repression and brutal sectarian violence, while others are divided by bitter conflicts over religion's place in publicRead More
One of the foremost religious-liberty thinkers of our time, Os Guinness sets a soaring goal for this book: establishing aRead More
Thomas F. Farr, director, The Religious Freedom Project, Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs

How do we live with our deepest differences? In a world torn by religious conflict, the threats to human dignity are terrifyingly real. Some societies face harsh government repression and brutal sectarian violence, while others are divided by bitter conflicts over religion’s place in public life. Is there any hope for living together peacefully? Os Guinness argues that the way forward for the world lies in promoting freedom of religion and belief for people of all faiths and none. He sets out a vision of a civil and cosmopolitan global public square, and how it can be established by championing the freedom of the soul―the inviolable freedom of thought, conscience and religion. In particular he calls for leadership that has the courage to act on behalf of the common good. Far from utopian, this constructive vision charts a course for the future of the world. Soul freedom is not only a shining ideal but a dire necessity and an eminently practical solution to the predicaments of our time. We can indeed maximize freedom and justice and learn to negotiate deep differences in public life. For a world desperate for hope at a critical juncture of human history, here is a way forward, for the good of all.

One of the foremost religious-liberty thinkers of our time, Os Guinness sets a soaring goal for this book: establishing a vision of religious freedom ('soul freedom') that accommodates competing truth claims about who man is and why he exists, guarantees freedom and justice, and builds stability amidst a fragile world order. Guinness succeeds magnificently. This book should be required reading for the secularist and the theocrat alike. Its Global Charter of Conscience is a blueprint for all the peoples of the world―both in the West and beyond―struggling to achieve for themselves just and lasting regimes of ordered liberty.
Thomas F. Farr, director, The Religious Freedom Project, Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs
For a generation now, Os Guinness has stood as one of our most consistently prophetic voices. In this latest book he returns to a lifelong concern: the precarious status of religious liberty in a fractured world. Drawing on a breadth of insights from history, philosophy, sociology and theology, Guinness makes a compelling case for the primacy of 'soul freedom' as the only enduring foundation for securing peace and human flourishing in our fractious era of unprecedented pluralism. And he does so in his inimitable way, with passion, eloquence and civility. It is a challenging yet ultimately hopeful message that demands to be heard, and to be acted upon.
William Inboden, University of Texas-Austin, former senior director, National Security Council, the White House
This is a closely reasoned and eloquent defense of religious freedom (Guinness calls it 'soul freedom,' because it refers to the rights of secularists as well as people of faith). This is not just one right among many, but a fundamental right rooted in the dignity of every human being. But it is also a right essential to the maintenance of a public space in which people with widely diverse worldviews can live together with civility. This is a book that should be read by everyone concerned with freedom of conscience, not only in the face of murderous persecution as still exists in many places, but also with the more subtle threats by political orthodoxies in Western democracies.
Peter L. Berger, professor emeritus, Boston University