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Nancy Pearcey

Saving Leonardo : A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning

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<div> <font></font> </div> <p><font>Award-winning author Nancy Pearcey (<i>Total Truth</i>) makes a case for biblical Christianity in defense of art, life, and liberty in this growing age of cultural secularism. Includes more than 100 art reproductions.</font></p>

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Award-winning author Nancy Pearcey (Total Truth) makes a case for biblical Christianity in defense of art, life, and liberty in this growing age of cultural secularism. Includes more than 100 art reproductions.

Is secularism a positive force in the modern world? Or does it lead to fragmentation and disintegration? In Saving Leonardo, best-selling award-winning author Nancy Pearcey (Total Truth, coauthor How Now Shall We Live?) makes a compelling case that secularism is destructive and dehumanizing.

Pearcey depicts the revolutionary thinkers and artists, the ideas and events, leading step by step to the unleashing of secular worldviews that undermine human dignity and liberty. She crafts a fresh approach that exposes the real-world impact of ideas in philosophy, science, art, literature, and film--voices that surround us in the classroom, in the movie theater, and in our living rooms.

A former agnostic, Pearcey offers a persuasive case for historic Christianity as a holistic and humane alternative. She equips readers to counter the life-denying worldviews that are radically restructuring society and pervading our daily lives. Whether you are a devoted Christian, determined secularist, or don't know quite where you stand, reading Saving Leonardo will unsettle established views and topple ideological idols. Includes more than 100 art reproductions and illustrations that bring the book's themes to life.

Praise for Saving Leonardo:

"A feast for the mind and for the eye. Nancy Pearcey not only is a trustworthy guide for a nuanced discussion on the relationship between culture and the gospel, but she is a gifted teacher as well . . . Saving Leonardo is a rare, precious gift to the churches and universities alike."

Makoto Fujimura, artist and author of Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art, and Culture

"Nancy Pearcey has done it again and better than ever. She has taken the complex sophistication of the best cultural analysis and laid it out for any person to grasp, enjoy and use to live out their daily lives honoring Christ. An astounding accomplishment!"

James W. Sire, author of The Universe Next Door

"G. K. Chesterton said 'the danger when Men stop believing in God is not that they'll believe in nothing; but that they will believe in anything.' Nancy Pearcey understands where believing in anything leads and in this book she reveals where a secular philosophy is taking us. A balanced, fair, and impacting work!"

Cal Thomas, syndicated and USA Today columnist

"Nancy Pearcey helps a new generation of evangelicals to understand the worldview challenges we now face and to develop an intelligent and articulate Christian understanding . . . Saving Leonardo should be put in the hands of all those who should always be ready to give an answer--and that means all of us."

R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

"Nancy Pearcey is an intellectual prophet in our day and one of Evangelicalism's foremost cultural observers. Saving Leonardo is a tour de force. In it, Pearcey provides a penetrating analysis of the nature of contemporary secularism, a helpful exposition of how we got to the present situation, and a well-crafted strategy for changing the situation. This is her best effort yet . . . a must read."

J. P. Moreland, distinguished professor of Philosophy, Biola University and author of The God Question

"Nancy Pearcey is unsurpassed in the current generation of Christian thinkers . . . The magic continues with this book. Pearcey's virtues as a writer and thinker are once again fully evident in the range of material that she has mastered, the encyclopedic collection of data that she presents, and the analytic rigor with which she separates truth from error in worldviews. She is a prophetic voice for contemporary Christians."

Leland Ryken, Clyde S. Kilby professor of English, Wheaton College

"Brilliant . . . The book brings complex, abstract ideas down-to-earth -- or rather, down-to-life. . . . Saving Leonardo bridges the gaps between the arts and the sciences, the theoretical and the practical. The book not only argues for the unity of Christian truth but exemplifies that unity and shows it in action."

Gene Edward Veith, provost, Patrick Henry College


B&H Publishing Group
Book Format
Original Languages
Number of Pages
Nancy Pearcey
Saving Leonardo
Publication Date
September, 2010
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
10.30 x 7.20 x 0.90 Inches

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Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

An excellent book that...

An excellent book that explains how worldview influence our culture and lives. Very thoughful and intelligent but readable. To quote from the book, " We are called to revolt against false idols and teh power they exert over minds and hearts."

Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

An excellent book that...

An excellent book that explains how worldview influence our culture and lives. Very thoughful and intelligent but readable. To quote from the book, " We are called to revolt against false idols and teh power they exert over minds and hearts."

Average Rating:(3.0)out of 5 stars

Nancy Pearcey begins h...

Nancy Pearcey begins her book Saving Leonardo: A Call To Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, & Meaning with an introduction discussing why Americans are disillusioned with politics. I almost abandoned the book. I'm glad I didn't. Pearcey examines competing secular worldviews throughout history looking at science, philosophy, and the humanities. She explains how these secular worldviews ultimately commit logical suicide and how "the only hope lies in a worldview that is rationally defensible, life-affirming, and rooted in creation itself." Pearcey states that some Christians ask, "Isn't it better to just preach the simple gospel?" She responds that to people lost in the maze of global secular worldviews supported by every aspect of culture the gospel is not simple. She writes: "Christians are called to tear down mental fortresses [the Apostle Paul's metaphor in 2 Corinthians] and liberate people from the power of false ideas... Once the walls are torn down, then the message of salvation is the same for everyone-scientist or artist, educated or uneducated, city or rural. Traditionally, churches have responded to fortresses not by demolishing them but by building counter-fortresses-with thick, high walls to shut out the world. They adopted an isolationist strategy to shield people from false ideas." Pearcey explains that the isolationist strategy ultimately backfires, and young Christians do not have the ability to answer deep personal questions or wrestle with doubt before being confronted with conflicting secular worldviews. She quotes a study that found young Christians grew more confident in their faith when adults served as guides in exploring difficult questions and challenges in life and secular worldviews. Pearcey suggests Christians must learn how to practice what Apostle Paul taught: "Test everything; hold fast to what is good" (1 Thess. 5:21). To do that, Christians must understand and decode worldviews in order to "demonstrate love for others... and find ways to connect God's truth with their innermost concerns and questions." After laying the groundwork for why Christians need to examine worldviews, Pearcey begins discussing how the concept of truth about the world has been changed throughout history. The concept of truth has been split into two essential elements by secular worldviews: facts (public, objective, universal) and values (private, subjective, relative). Pearcey examines how the fact /value split plays out in empiricism, rationalism, romanticism, realism, naturalism, modernism, postmodernism, and just about every -ism you can name. She uses art, philosophy, science, music, literature, and film from the various time periods and movements as examples. It really is a crash course in science and the humanities. Ultimately, the fact/value dualism split in all its incarnations fails. "The consequence of those secular views is inevitably dehumanizing. The reason is that secularism in all its forms is reductionist. A worldview that does not start with God must start with something less than God-something within creation-which then becomes the category to explain all of reality. Think back to Walker Percy's metaphor of a box. Empiricism puts everything in the box of the senses. Rationalism puts everything into the box of human reason. Anything that does not fit into the box is denied, denigrated, or declared to be unreal. The diverse and multi-faceted world God created is reduced to a single category. Humans, too, are stuffed into the box. Thus every idol is ultimately dehumanizing, leaving a wreckage of pain and alienation in its wake... A biblically based worldview is capable of affirming the best insights of secular philosophies without ever falling into reductionism. That's because it does not start with anything in creation but with the transcendent Creator. It does not deify any part of creation-and therefore it is not compelled to deny the other parts of creation. It recognizes and rejoices in the vast diversity and complexity of created reality." I particularly found the discussions of art and music interesting. Western culture loves science, which falls on the "fact" side of the dualism split. Since art and religion fall on the "value" side of dualism, Western culture has marginalized them. It would make sense that Christians would embrace the arts, but the reality is they do the exact opposite. Pearcey states that most Christians build their counter-fortresses, condemn immoral content in the arts, and isolate themselves from it. Or they try to be liberal Christians and find something redemptive in everything, without any rationale or scriptural basis. Pearcey writes, "Biblical truth is so rich and multi-dimensional that it can affirm what is true in every worldview, while at the same time critiquing its errors and transcending it limitations. In this way, Christianity makes possible the greatest intellectual and artistic freedom." Christians should evaluate everything against the truth of a biblical worldview. The problem is Christians have to have the tools for critical analysis and come out of their isolation to engage in the conversation. Too often Christians accept their own version of the dualism split and settle for the equivalent of "spiritual junk food." Pearcey uses the "Jesus-is-my-girlfriend" genre of praise music that is now popular as an example. Worship is moved to the "value" side of the split and becomes nothing more than an egocentric emotional buzz separate from the reality of life. She writes: "A full-orbed work of Christian art should include all three elements of the biblical worldview: Creation, Fall, Redemption. It should allude to the beauty and dignity of the original creation. But it should also be transparently honest about the reality of sin and suffering. Finally, it should always give hints of redemption... Some ray of hope should penetrate the darkness." C.S. Lewis stated that Christians should be the most creative and deepest thinkers in all subject areas, until people wonder why the best art, books, music, and movies are by Christians. Christians have to recognize their own version of dualism and adapt a truly biblical worldview that embraces the beauty and aesthetics of art in order to do that. The last two chapters focus on practical application. Saving Leonardo covers a tremendous amount of information and territory in roughly 320 pages. It is not the easiest read, but it is worth it. Any time a book goes from children's cartoons to quantum physics to abstract expressionism, the reader has to put in some work. Pearcey's tremendous intelligence and insight makes this book an education in itself.


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