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Against the Night: Living in the New Dark…

Against the Night: Living in the New Dark Ages

by Charles W. Colson, Ellen Santilli Vaughn (Author)

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I thought it might be good to open this with a little statement regarding good old Chuck Colson. He worked for the Nixon administration during the Watergate Scandal, and when it broke, he was one who did gaol time because of it. The story is, though, that while he was in gaol he became a Christian, and since his release he has been working in the prison system sharing the gospel with the inmates. However, there is a but: when Deep Throat finally revealed himself, Colson was one of those who then began to criticise Deep Throat for what he did. I question then whether Colson has truly understood what he actually spent time in gaol for, or whether it was one of those 'God ordained' things to set him on a road of fruitful ministries.
That is not to say that Colson's prison fellowship is without criticism, but the criticism usually comes from the rabidly anti-Christian corner and they accuse his organisation of creating a favoured class of inmates who are involved in the fellowship. This I think is somewhat over the top, and while I was very disappointed to hear Colson's attack against Deep Throat, it does not mean that his work with inmates is unhelpful. I actually believe that it is very beneficial for society.
However, on to his book. This book is pretty much a diatribe on how immoral and bad society has become, and if we don't turn back to God, then it is only going to get worse. Now, don't get me wrong, I do believe society has lost its way, but the fact of the matter is that it had never found it in the first place. The counter-cultural revolution in the 60s was not so much people suddenly deciding not to be Christians and to embrace a life of sin, no, much of the things that happened during the 60s (such as free sex, drugs, homosexuality just to name a few) were happening already and had been happening for quite a while beforehand. However, what the 60s did was that it brought it out into the open and forced society to accept that these things were going on. Some people have suggested that homosexuality did not exist before 1975 (the year it became legal in Australia) and all I can say to that statement is that it is rubbish. All I need to do is point the reader to C.S. Lewis' Surprised by Joy where he writes about homosexuality in a boy's school in England around 1905, and that is just to name one of many sources that evidence its practice prior to 1975 (though there are only a handful that tend to take that belief anyway).
However, what we also need remember is that this is a product of the Reformation. We wanted freedom to worship how we liked, and we wanted freedom from a dictatorial church. In fact one of the reasons that the Americans rebelled against British Colonial rule was on this very point. The constitution guarantees freedom of religion. However, the catch is that while we have freedom to worship god, others have freedom not to. We can't have it both ways, demanding our right to worship God while denying others the right not to. If you travel to many of the very liberal states in Europe (such as Germany and Holland) you will discover that these places was where the reformation was born. France is different, namely because they killed all of the protestants in the 16th century, and then pretty much broke up the church during the French Revolution. Once again it was a demand for freedom, freedom to worship how we chose to.
While I will not condemn a book pointing out to us society's permissiveness (and it is true that a permissive society is a society on the road to self destruction, as is clear in the book of Judges), we need to remember that things have been this way for centuries, it is just that it has now come out of the closet. What we as Christians need to do is to not rant and rave against society for its sins, but to demonstrate to society that there is a better way to live, and to be there to pick up the shattered lives of those who have been destroyed by such a permissive culture. ( )
1 vote David.Alfred.Sarkies | Jan 18, 2014 |
Calls the church to be part of the moral rehabilitation of the world. Good, not great, exposition of the subject. Colson presents a more balanced approach than other cultural apologists. ( )
  Bjace | Apr 22, 2012 |
This is a depressing book. It's all doom and gloom. The world is a horrible awful place. We get it already. ( )
  w_bishop | Feb 25, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Colson, Charles W.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vaughn, Ellen SantilliAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0892833092, Hardcover)

Ten years ago when Charles Colson's top-selling Against the Night appeared, he described the demise of Western culture as the "new dark ages." The book describes in particular the ominous shadows that have engulfed politics, family life and education. Today as we face the new millennium, the book is still pertinent, as the darkness has not lifted. It seems in many ways to have thickened. Against the Night, however, is not pessimistic. It gives Christians hope that as we regain our vision of living in God's kingdom and being God's people, we will be a light in the darkness.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:19 -0400)

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