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DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

The Genealogy of the Apocalypse

Written by: on November 10, 2016

Summary

Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari is a narrative of origin of the human race. Harari begins with the origin of life and humanity, when life was at its best. Then journeys through changes, not necessarily the advancement, of humanity from the Agricultural revolution. It is here that a series of changes began that led humanity to the fallen and broken world we live in. The change is not because of sin, primarily because Harari is polytheistic and discounts just one view of God much less Christianity, but the decision to quit a foraging and nomadic lifestyle for one that is local and domesticated. This decision allows for the ills of society felt even today: greed, imperialism, religion, and success based achievement. The result has culminated into the Scientific Revolution, where science is called upon to fix the ills of society that it has revolutionarily caused.

 

Analysis

I found this book to be the biggest waste of time of any project or reading we have done so far. First, the book is a series of facts and observations that are connected together rather subjectivity by the author. Second it basically communicates that if we would have stayed in our caveman condition we would be better off. Thirdly, it is filled with contradictions, some of which are from differing opinions of the author. Last it is not only absence of any embrace of monotheistic belief, but hostile to any such view.

The book is a narrative of the author’s view of humanity. It is seasoned with facts and figures, but very little conclusive objective data. It is more so, filled with Harari’s ideology. The presentation of Neanderthals as “one of history’s great what if’s” (Harari, 18). “Tree of Knowledge mutation”(Harari, 21) is the author’s perspective to explain man’s capacity. Chapter three goes a long way around to justify or prove the author’s perspective of origin and creation. The “gorging gene” (Harari, 41) gives no credence to medical science factual stance that over indulgence is connected chemically, especially within chemically processed foods. Even Harari’s summary statement of part one: “the evidence is circumstantial” (Harari, 66) is the best summation as his approach to factual history as opposed to his narrative formation of the data.

Second, is the idea that we as humans would be better off to stay in our caveman condition. This really begins in Part two with the Agricultural Revolution. Harari present the argument on page 80 with the example of wheat. The author denotes that the farming for wheat was not fitting physically for humans and that it actually was the domestication of humanity. “How did this grass turn from insignificant to ubiquitous? Wheat did it by manipulating Homo sapiens to its advantage.” (Harari, 80) Harari, blames the domesticated production of wheat on a more miserable existence, poor economic security, and an increase in human violence. “The Agricultural Revolution was a trap.” (Harari, 83) This ultimately leads to bigger families, more stuff, houses, villages, sickness, disease, and death, all because of decrease movement.

Third is the volume of contradictions contained in the book. Chapter nine, The Arrow of History, is all about the tension and contradictory nature of human life with its ever changing, multiple worlds coexisting, and occasionally colliding lives. Another great contradiction is found in chapter eight with how humans have organized themselves. He views them as “imagined orders” with mythical documentation such as the United States Declaration of Independence. Is it possible that this is how God created us “to rule and reign” along with a toxic mix of sin? In Chapter ten, money is bad because it creates a system that causes humanity to lustfully and greedily take advantage. Is is possible that money is not the creation of such degradation, but that nature and sin are to blame as seeds for such conduct? Harari goes on with Capitalism is bad on pages 305-309 and that human progression is the cause of most environmental issues on pages 334-350. It just sounds like a secularly humanistic rant, not even an original one. It was as though he collected the ideology of college students along with a Western Civilization 101, very freshmen.

Last is his utter disdain for religion, especially Christianity. “Teaching such an ancient Sapiens, persuading him of the truth of Christian dogma…would have been hopeless undertakings.” (Harari, 20) “We can weave common myths such as the biblical creation story…” (Harari, 25) “Today religion is often considered a source of discrimination, disagreement, and disunion.” (Harari, 210) “Two thousand years of monotheistic brainwashing have caused…”. (Harari, 213) I could go on, the essence is his utter disdain for religion, especially Christianity has him blind to any creationist possibility of humanity.

Therefore, I find this book a hodgepodge of facts and data that connected by the author’s own narrative. This is much revisionist personal perspective history going on. Not to mention just a lot of filling in his own blanks. With the thought at all is bad we are headed for a apocalyptic ending.

About the Author

Aaron Cole

12 responses to “The Genealogy of the Apocalypse”

  1. Aaron,

    Thought I was going to see you today! Thanks for your blog. This book really did just take us on a personal journey of opinions and theories. A fanciful story but it completely lost me when he started to take on religion and fact as something other than fact when everything he presented was present as completely true 100 percent factual. When did he lose you?

    Kevin

    • Aaron Cole says:

      At the beginning, the facts did not add up, even from a secular perspective. Also the dismissive and degrading perspective to monotheistic religion.

  2. Hey AC. Your ending, “Therefore, I find this book a hodgepodge of facts and data that connected by the author’s own narrative. This is much revisionist personal perspective history going on. Not to mention just a lot of filling in his own blanks.” This describes most of the people at my church. Seems to me, most people, Christians included, create their own story this way. I pray that you and I are good shepherds.

    • Aaron Cole says:

      I agree with you, but most of those people are not writing books that we are buying and reading. 🙂 Did you find the book a hodgepodge of personal ideaology, not really based on fact be it secular or not?

  3. mm Marc Andresen says:

    Aaron,

    Harari may lead to yet another revolution: LGP6 against…?

    You wrote, “He views them as ‘imagined orders’ with mythical documentation such as the United States Declaration of Independence.”

    How do you compare this statement to what was written in “Imagined Communities,” with the idea that Americans form a community because we can imagine ourselves as such?

  4. Jason Kennedy says:

    AC,

    I too was frustrated by the book and felt like he obviously had an agenda. Often times, I try to find some common ground to begin a dialogue on faith, but with Harari, I think I found that it would be difficult. With a worldview like his, how do you find common ground in order to share your faith?
    Jason

    • Aaron Cole says:

      I don’t try to share or debate unless the other person iniatates the conversation. Then I am happy to express my beliefs. I find live the life, and speak only if needed.

  5. Loren Kerns says:

    Hi Aaron,

    I’ll pose to you the same question that I posted to Pablo [and Kevin] (http://dminlgp.com/the-power-of-shared-stories/#comment-41231) – what strategy you might suggest for relating the Christian story to someone inhabiting Harari’s world? You seem to try to show that Harari is consistent and dismiss claims about the factuality of evolutionary biology and cosmology. Yet, this reflects the dominant paradigm of the global elite – science, academia, technologist, etc. As Hunter pointed out, these folk set the ‘agenda’ for our current cultural conversation.

    • Aaron Cole says:

      Loren,

      Good question. I would not try to dismiss a “global elite” view of the world and its creation. However, I would show the inconsistencies of Harari’s writing with what and why secular humanistic science believes. My frustration was not the anti-biblical or prejudice against monotheistic religion, but rather his poor handling of facts and his “fill in the blank” style of historical interpretation. I would also point out the obvious contradiction he had with himself. I am conservative in my views of history and creation. However, I love debate and value another’s view. I just wish he presented his belief in a much more educated, factual, less prejudicial way. He writing felt like a passionate undergrad ranting about his secular half baked perspective more to get attention than to truely present an idea. The Silk Roads book, albeit secular did a surperior job presenting its case.

      The other issue here is apologetics. I think that we do very little good engaging the “cultural conversation” in order to make or prove our point. Rather, I believe we should live our lives before other and only speak if we are asked. Not try to initate engagement verbally, but let our actions do the talking. We should teach and train our children and people and equip them to navigate these waters of secularism not change others minds, but to keep their own.

      As always, Loren, I appreciate and respect you and input. You are walk in wisdom and understanding, much like the men of Issachar who knew the times.

      Blessings,
      Aaron

  6. mm Phil Goldsberry says:

    Aaron:

    Great overview and post of a work that amazes me the number of accolades and translations that it has had. Why is it that if a book/article is anti-God, written with a strong academic, and purports ridiculous ideas (that even rival the Bible) they are accepted as viable truth?

    Phil

  7. mm Garfield Harvey says:

    Aaron,
    Great review of the book. One of the things I tried to do while reading this book is to understand the author’s perspective and think of ways to lead this misguided writer to Christ. I believe it’s easy for me to dismiss others because of their conviction but rarely think about reaching them. As I get closer to completing this doctoral degree, I realize that I’m going to be challenged the way we’ve been challenging these authors. The question I ask myself is this: what’s next? Now that we’ve proven our point, how do we reach people with these misguided thoughts? By the way: I hate that I had to read this book and write a review about it.

    Garfield

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