The Worst Books Ever Written
The pen is mightier than the sword-and sometimes more cruel. Books have changed the course of mankind in dramatic ways for both good and evil. Recently an article crossed my desk regarding the 10 worst books ever written which piqued my interest.
How does one determine that a book is bad? A panel of scholars was asked to submit a list of books written within the 19th and 20th centuries that have caused the most suffering. Seems a reasonable assessment for evaluation. Jesus said "Judge them by their fruits" which is still the gold standard of judgment.
Adolph Hitler is the benchmark of evil for the 20th century, so it's reasonable to look at the books that influenced him. What books had the greatest influence on Hitler's thinking? He kept by his bedside "Das Kapital" by Karl Marx, "The Prince" by Machiavelli and Charles Darwin's "Origin of the Species." In spite of that, many American educators embrace these books today.
Darwin's concept of "survival of the fittest" convinced Hitler that many humans are inferior. The solution was to exterminate eleven million people.
American history essentially ignores that American doctors and other scientists were involved with and supported Nazi experimentation. Why not? They all drank the same Darwinian wine that still flows liberally through our educational system.
Another author admired by Nazis was Friedrich Nietzsche whose book
"Beyond Good and Evil" started the "God is Dead" craze, which still has its fingerprint on modern theological institutions. Following his death a piece of graffiti was often seen on walls announcing,
"God is dead-Nietzsche"
"Nietzsche is dead-God".
The educational system has been deeply influenced by another of the "10 worst" books-"Democracy and Education" by John Dewey. Both men rejected God and changed the course of academics.
Another "worst book" to make the list is "General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money" by John Maynard Keynes. He advocated ever-expanding government and deficit spending which lengthened the Great Depression under Roosevelt and created long gas lines under Richard Nixon, both of whom believed in Keynesian economics.
In contrast to the books that have caused so much human suffering, there is one book that has changed the world for the better. The main book used by the founding fathers of our country was the Bible. The two books George Washington kept on his bedstead were the Bible and Addison's "The Life of Cato." George Washington was great in large degree because he rejected opportunities for unilateral control, a principle he learned from studying the Bible. That principle is not found in either "The Prince" or "Das Kapital."
If a person is tempted to wonder about the Christian influence on the founding of our country, ask the question: What if Napoleon or Hitler had founded America? Would our nation have survived?
But many men and women were involved in founding this country. A generation of people were schooled and grounded in THE book that influenced citizens to support leaders of character. Men like Hitler and Napoleon existed in America but they could not come to power because people schooled in the Bible rejected their ideas.
The old truth yet prevails. People deserve the kind of leaders they get. People who believe the things taught by Machiavelli, Nietzsche, Marx, Darwin or Mohammad get a Hitler or Stalin. Choose a man who believes the Bible and you get a Washington or Lincoln.
An interesting common denominator among authors of the "worst books" is the rejection of God. They wrote books that changed the world leaving it worse than before. The words written by the Psalmist 3,000 years ago still ring true, "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'" (Psalm 14:1)
What we believe determines what we become. As the Psalmist wrote, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance." (Psalm 33:12)
Until next time, Jim O'Brien