Is morality based on some essential truth or is it defined by society? In this highly original critique of American social mores and popular culture, David Klinghoffer argues that the Ten Commandments are essential to maintaining a morally healthy society. With the meticulousness of a scholar, he begins by excavating the meaning of the Commandments. Drawing on the millennia-old rabbinical work Mechilta, he explains that the Decalogue was written on two tablets to show that when a country neglects the Commandments written on the first tablet, those having to do with the relationship between God and people, the interpersonal relationships described on the second tablet suffer irreparable damage as well.
Addressing such timely topics as the controversy over public displays of the Commandments and the battles over intelligent design, Klinghoffer demonstrates that Christians and Jews are united in their opposition to the pagan aspects of our culture. In the tradition of Hebrew prophets like Jeremiah and Isaiah, he describes our failings with humor and compassion but also with anger and disappointment. An unusual, incisive perspective on the role of religion in society, Shattered Tablets is sure to spark debate. In the end Klinghoffer argues that by shrugging off the Bible as a guide and turning toward secularism, America has created a crude, cruel, and dishonest national life.
DAVID KLINGHOFFER, a senior fellow in the Discovery InstituteÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s program in Religion, Liberty & Public Life, is the author of The Lord Will Gather Me In, a memoir of Jewish conversion, The Discovery of God, a spiritual biography of Abraham, and Why the Jews Rejected Jesus. He lives on Mercer Island, Washington.
Contrary to Mel Brookss humorous presentation of Moses and the 10 Commandments on film, Klinghoffer (The Lord Will Gather Me In) does not think these biblical laws are a laughing matter. A writer and senior fellow at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Klinghoffer warns that America is ignoring the commandments and sinking deeper into a quagmire of immorality. Using the Northwests urban environs in which he lives as a case study, he warns that Seattle suffers from an "advanced case of moral retardation" that could easily spread to the rest of the country. The main culprit is secularism, says Klinghoffer, a "modern and resurgent paganism." Although this seems somewhat overstated, in light of religions ascendancy in much of America, the authors argument that the U.S. has slighted a communitarian ethic in favor of increased individualism is compelling. Klinghoffer writes with passion and is genuinely concerned with the moral state of the union. However, he often slips into acerbic commentary that distracts from his more salient points. For every example given regarding the moral ineptitude of some residents of Seattle, there could be 10 provided about those who are fighting the good fight and living by Gods word.
- Publishers Weekly