India-born British author George Orwell (1903-50) was a socialist, inclined toward atheism. The horrors of Fascism, Nazism, Communism, and the two World Wars forced him to face the consequences of the “amputation of the soul.” In his “Notes on the Way,” Orwell wrote that the writers who sawed off the West’s soul included “Gibbon, Voltaire, Rousseau, Shelley, Byron, Dickens, Stendahl, Samuel Butler, Ibsen, Zola, Flaubert, Shaw, Joyce—in one way or another they are all of them destroyers, wreckers, saboteurs.” These “Enlightenment” writers led the West into its present darkness.
In his essay Orwell was reflecting on Malcolm Muggeridge’s book The Thirties, which describes the damage these writers had done to Europe. Muggeridge, then still an atheist, was astute enough to perceive that
we are living in a nightmare precisely because we have tried to set up an earthly paradise. We have believed in “progress.” Trusted to human leadership, rendered unto Caesar the things that are God’s. . . . There is no wisdom except in the fear of God; but no one fears God; therefore there is no wisdom. Man’s history reduces itself to the rise and fall of material civilizations, one Tower of Babel after another . . . downwards into abysses which are horrible to contemplate.
I first discovered the Bible as a student in India. It transformed me as an individual and I soon learned that, contrary to what my university taught, the Bible was the force that had created modern India. Let me, therefore, begin our study of the book that built our world by telling you my own story.
Vishnal Mangalwadi, The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization (Nashville TN: Thomas Nelson, 2011), 22-23.