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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 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.

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The Magna Carta of Humanity: Sinai’s Revolutionary Faith and the Future of Freedom

The Magna Carta of Humanity: Sinai’s Revolutionary Faith and the Future of Freedom

IVP
In these stormy times, loud voices from all fronts call for revolution and change. But what kind of revolution brings true freedom to both society and the human soul? Cultural observer Os Guinness explores the nature of revolutionary faith, contrasting between secular revolutions such asRead More
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This book should be read by anyone who is concerned about the future of America and of Western civilization. InRead More
Rob Gifford, senior editor, the Economist

In these stormy times, loud voices from all fronts call for revolution and change. But what kind of revolution brings true freedom to both society and the human soul? Cultural observer Os Guinness explores the nature of revolutionary faith, contrasting between secular revolutions such as the French Revolution and the faith-led revolution of ancient Israel. He argues that the story of Exodus is the highest, richest, and deepest vision for freedom in human history. It serves as the master story of human freedom and provides the greatest sustained critique of the abuse of power. His contrast between “Paris” and “Sinai” offers a framework for discerning between two kinds of revolution and their different views of human nature, equality, and liberty. Drawing on the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, Guinness develops Exodus as the Magna Carta of humanity, with a constructive vision of a morally responsible society of independent free people who are covenanted to each other and to justice, peace, stability, and the common good of the community. This is the model from the past that charts our path to the future. “There are two revolutionary faiths bidding to take the world forward,” Guinness writes. “There is no choice facing America and the West that is more urgent and consequential than the choice between Sinai and Paris. Will the coming generation return to faith in God and to humility, or continue to trust in the all sufficiency of Enlightenment reason, punditry, and technocracy? Will its politics be led by principles or by power?” While Guinness cannot predict our ultimate fate, he warns that we must recognize the crisis of our time and debate the issues openly. As individuals and as a people, we must choose between the revolutions, between faith in God and faith in Reason alone, between freedom and despotism, and between life and death.

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This book should be read by anyone who is concerned about the future of America and of Western civilization. In warning that Western freedoms are under threat, Os Guinness is not issuing an angry culture-war call to arms but a rational, cogently argued case for looking again at what made America and the West so successful in the first place. Guinness is a masterful writer. He pulls no punches in his critique of what ails the postmodern West. His arguments will and should be hotly debated, but they should not be ignored.
Rob Gifford, senior editor, the Economist
The Magna Carta of Humanity cries out like a voice in the desert calling for a bold rediscovery of the vision of freedom that once helped to shape the English-speaking world. The imperative to respond with humility and rediscover the ancient paths rings out on every page.
Baroness Philippa Stroud, Legatum Institute
The survival of the Jewish people in history is a miracle in itself, but Guinness goes beyond that. He argues that the Sinai revolution provides both a precedent and a pattern for the future of humanity. This is a bold argument and a must-read for anyone seeking to understand our present global crisis.
Tomas Sandell, European Coalition for Israel
Clichés aside, America is at a crossroads. Will the spirit of 1776 (the American Revolution) or the spirit of 1789 (the French Revolution) inspire us through the upheavals and crises of recent years? Os Guinness takes us back even farther, to the original revolution of freedom, the Exodus. Os sees the big picture through the right lens, that of the Bible and the Bible's constructive influence on America's founding ideals (1776). He is our Tocqueville, an outsider who knows us better than we know ourselves.
Douglas Groothuis, professor of philosophy, Denver Seminary
Carpe Diem Redeemed: Seizing the Day, Discerning the Times

Carpe Diem Redeemed: Seizing the Day, Discerning the Times

IVP Books
You only live once―if then. Life is short, and it can be as easily wasted as lived to the full. In the midst of our harried modern world, how do we make the most of life and the time we have? In these fast and superficialRead More
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As an artist, I'm perpetually seeking inspiration to fuel my desire to make a difference in the world. Few thinkersRead More
Max McLean, actor and theater director

You only live once―if then. Life is short, and it can be as easily wasted as lived to the full. In the midst of our harried modern world, how do we make the most of life and the time we have? In these fast and superficial times, Os Guinness calls us to consequential living. In strong contrast to both Eastern and secularist views of time, he reorients our very notion of history, not as cyclical nor as meaningless, but as linear and purposeful. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, time and history are meaningful, and human beings have agency to live with freedom and consequence in partnership with God. Thus we can seek to serve God’s purpose for our generation, read the times, and discern our call for this moment in history. Our time on earth has significance. Live rightly, discern the times, and redeem the day.

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As an artist, I'm perpetually seeking inspiration to fuel my desire to make a difference in the world. Few thinkers fire me up in that regard more than Os Guinness. Carpe Diem Redeemed is no exception.
Max McLean, actor and theater director
The Case for Civility: And Why Our Future Depends on It

The Case for Civility: And Why Our Future Depends on It

Harper One
In a world torn apart by religious extremism on the one side and a strident secularism on the other, no question is more urgent than how we live with our deepest differences—especially our religious and ideological differences. The Case for Civility is a convincing andRead More
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Popular evangelical writer Guinness (The Call) worries that the culture wars are destroying the United States. If Americans don't findRead More
Publishers Weekly

In a world torn apart by religious extremism on the one side and a strident secularism on the other, no question is more urgent than how we live with our deepest differences—especially our religious and ideological differences. The Case for Civility is a convincing and timely proposal for restoring civility in America.

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Popular evangelical writer Guinness (The Call) worries that the culture wars are destroying the United States. If Americans don't find a way of living with our deepest differences, the republic will decline. He forcefully defends religious liberty, noting that it was crucial for the founding generation and should be just as crucial today. To that end, he calls Christians to rethink their enthusiasm for government-sponsored faith-based initiatives, and to remember that evangelicals were the victims of earlier church-state establishments. The religious right—whose discourse of victimization, says Guinness, is silly and anti-Christian—comes under fire. Nor is Guinness a fan of the nascent religious left—he prefers a depoliticized faith. For all Guinness's rhetorical vim, his proposals ultimately feel anodyne: his boilerplate conclusion is that in order to restore civility we need leadership and a remarkable articulation of vision. Furthermore, although Guinness notes that he is a European, the book is oddly marked by the old rhetoric of American cultural imperialism. Echoing JFK, Guinness wants his essay to be taken as one model for fostering civility around the world and helping make the world safe for diversity.
Publishers Weekly