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Monday, July 09, 2012

The Grace Effect by Larry Taunton

"The Devil Is A Bureaucrat" is the title of one chapter in this depressing but heart-warming book.  Ukrainian diplomats are certainly devils, according to The Grace Effect.  When Taunton and his family go to Ukraine to adopt a little girl, Sasha, they encounter obstruction and corruption at every step of the way.  Government officials all want bribes.  The family experiences constant delays.

This is not the only problem.  In fact, Taunton paints a horrifying picture of a country in which atheism has won. There is little Christianity or humanity in post-Communist Ukraine.  Children are treated as commodities.  Life in the orphanages is grim.  The only improvements are made by Christian missionaries from overseas.  Many of the children don't even have toilet paper.  Sasha only has a shower once a week.  The food is meagre. The physically disabled are put in the orphanages with the mentally disabled.  As Taunton writes, "a society contaminated by the virus of unbelief is a pitiless one."

When the Tauntons take Sasha out, she eats like someone who hasn't seen food for days.  She is also convinced, like many orphans in Ukraine, that she doesn't deserve to be treated well.

There is an almost total lack of civility in the country.  People are generally rude.  They even demand money from tourists who want to get on buses!  Beggars are jeered at.  Public life is filled with hardness and indifference. The Tauntons do have a kind and honest 'adoption facilitator' but this seems to be their only good experience apart from spending time with Sasha.

 When the Tauntons take Sasha back to the U.S. the difference in her is amazing.  She quickly learns to regard them as her family and she is delighted to be in a home filled with Christian love.  Sasha, unlike many of us, is also just thankful to be able to have a hot shower every morning.  She prayed for a family and her prayers were answered.  Sasha has been truly saved by grace.

Taunton begins and ends The Grace Effect with discussions and debates with the famous atheist, Christopher Hawkins.  As he writes, the 'New Atheists' fail to realise the huge influence that Christianity has had on Western civilisation and the type of world that we'd live in without it.  A world without Christianity is really a world without humanity, according to this book.

This is a lovely story but it's also a very sad one.  There are many orphans who won't be adopted.  They will probably lead very miserable lives.  The government actually doesn't even want them to be adopted because they don't want people to know the truth about how the orphans are treated in the Ukraine.

Taunton makes a convincing argument about Christianity and its importance.  The problem is that he is probably largely preaching to the converted.  I can't imagine that many atheists will want to read this book.  They're probably busy reading Dawkins and Hitchens. Even Dawkins, however, seems to be beginning to realise that Christianity is a good bulwark against fundamentalist Islam.

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