The Magna Carta of Humanity
In these stormy times, voices from all fronts call for 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.
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
Introduction: Upside Down or Right Way Up?
1. I Will Be Who I Will Be: The Great Revelation
2. Like the Absolutely Unlike: The Great Declaration
3. East of Eden: The Great Alienation
4. Let My People Go: The Great Liberation
5. Set Free to Live Free Together: The Great Constitution
6. Passing It On: The Great Transmission
7. Putting Wrong Right: The Great Restoration, Part 1
8. Putting Wrong Right: The Great Restoration, Part 2
Conclusion: A New, New Birth of Freedom?