book review! what’s your worldview?

If you decide to stay with the raft and see if anyone notices your signal fire, turn to page 19.

If you decide to leave the supplies and explore the jungle with the captain, turn to page 34.

Look familiar?

If so, you probably read Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books like I did!  The stories were quite often off-the-wall, but it didn’t matter, did it?  They were just fun!  They didn’t have to be perfect literary gems to be completely engaging.

The book I’m reviewing, What’s Your Worldview? is written just like a CYOA book.  Only in this case, the consequences of wrong decisions are linked to eternity.

The premise: The author, James Anderson, presents a series of questions, each followed up by a page or so of explanation to make sure the question is really understood.  After making a decision (e.g. “I believe there is objective truth” or “I believe there is no objective truth”) the reader turns to a certain page — either another question, or a description of what his or her worldview probably is.  Although the author does have a distinct worldview (just as everybody does) he writes from a fairly neutral point of view.

My perspective: I loved the simplicity and ingenuity of this book.  It also really allowed me to understand other worldviews in a deeper way.  It’s one thing to learn about them, it’s another to read a book as if it is addressed to you, the holder of the worldview, and be enlightened about the positives and negatives of said worldview.  It was a fun, fast read that only took me one evening to test almost all of the different possible paths.

Just like CYOA books were sometimes more fun than high-quality, this one has some flaws despite brilliantly conceived.  The writing style was a bit too casual for me.  It read more like one of my blog posts than a theological exploration.  Which is fine..if you like books that sound like my blog posts.  My second disappointment was that Anderson didn’t really leave me feeling happy with any worldview.  My worldview is already firmly in place, but if it hadn’t been, I would have walked away from the book thinking, Well, I guess none of these choices work all that well.  He brought up huge negatives for all of them.  I understand that he didn’t want to be so dogmatic as to alienate casual readers, and he had a tough call to make in how he approached his own worldview.

My recommendation: I don’t personally think this book is well suited for evangelistic attempts.  I would never hand this book to a non-Christian and expect them to be persuaded towards Christianity.  I would recommend this book for middle, high school, and college aged young people who maybe were raised in a Christian environment but aren’t entirely sure of what they believe.  I also feel this would be a great resource for anyone who ministers to younger people, as it gives a very concise overview of popular beliefs, written in a modern, easy-to-read way.

What was your favorite CYOA book?

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