Although the main title sounds like one of the many get-thin/get-fit/getahead books that cram bookstore shelves, Greg Sheridan’s God is Good for You is a serious study of what Christianity has contributed to the West and its institutions over the lasts 2000 years, and continues to contribute today. It is also a rallying call to Christians and Christian churches to findnew approaches to understanding, living and practising their faith in ways that are relevant in a society that increasingly sees faith as irrelevant. The author sees human beings as naturally ‘Godomorphic’, as though the knowledge of God is written in our DNA. Belief in God, the author argues, is rational, and if we lose God we lose something of our humanity.
The publication’s subtitle is A Defence of Christianity in Troubled Times (and Christianity has been through these before). Unlike many of the defences written of Christianity (or of religion in general), however, which have been published in recent years, this is a book that could be given to an agnostic, or even atheist, friend without unduly disturbing the friendship. Sheridan treats other faiths and systems of belief respectfully; even atheists are treated with courtesy as he rebuts their attacks on Christianity.
One of the main purposes of the book is to correct the misconceptions about, and the lack of understanding of, the Christian faith and its contributions to Western cultures, which Sheridan sees as the root causes of much of the current falling away from religious belief. Even many of those who identify as Christians, according to Sheridan, do not properly understand the history and traditions of their faith. He doesn’t argue that Christianity has at times not failed dismally to live up to its own standards, but he does effectively hold that Christianity underpins many aspects of modern society that we take for granted. The title of Chapter Three sums it up neatly: “What did we ever get from Christianity – apart from the idea of the individual, human rights, feminism, liberalism, modernity, social justice and secular politics?”Jump to next article