Recommended Reading: The Universe Next Door

I was first introduced to The Universe Next Door by one of my college professors, Ivan Spencer. In Dr. Spencers History of Ideas classes our main work was reading and analyzing primary sources in Western Thought (think: Plato, Dante, Karl Marx etc.) We read the works of these thinkers aiming to understand how they would answer the following seven questions:

  1. What is prime reality? (What’s really real?)
  2. What is the nature of external reality? (Is this world all there is, an illusion, or a creation of a deity?)
  3. What is a Human Being?
  4. What happens to a person at death?
  5. Why is it possible to know anything at all?
  6. How do we know what is right and wrong?
  7. What is the meaning of human history?

Those 7 questions come straight from The Universe Next Door, written by James Sire. Sire takes all 7 of those fundamental questions and catalogs the answers given by various dominant worldviews:

  1. Christian Theism
  2. Deism
  3. Naturalism
  4. Nihilism
  5. Existentialism
  6. Pantheistic Monism
  7. New Age Spirituality
  8. Postmodernism
  9. Islamic Theism

These worldviews are like individual universes of thought, custom, and culture living next door to one another, and all of them provide different answers to the aforementioned questions. If you are interested in learning about other worldviews, or in being able to think critically in terms of worldview, this text is a masterful starting point.

Application Ideas:

  • This book makes for a great reading group book. I have taken several groups of men from my church through this book.
  • These 7 questions are wonderful conversion topics as you seek to evangelize others. Ask someone what they believe about the world, or death, or humanity, and see where the conversation goes!

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