Reclaimed: How Jesus Restores Our Humanity in a Dehumanized World

Reviewed by:

T G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


Reclaimed: How Jesus Restores Our Humanity in a Dehumanized World


Andy Steiger with Sheri Herbert


Zondervan Reflective

Publication Date:

September 1, 2020




192 pages


It’s been said many times that we now live in a Post-Christian West. The rise of secularism has many effects, one of them being that people seem to be losing any idea of what it means to have human dignity. Andy Steiger considers what it means to be human, follows that with a discussion about secular philosophy’s struggle to make a cohesive case for human dignity, and considers how believing in Jesus provides the one worldview that gives humans a real sense of dignity. Along the way, he cites recent examples (from transhumanism to contemporary racism) of secularism leading to problematic definitions of humanity, emphasizing the need to have this discussion now.

Steiger builds on a variety of ideas explored by other apologists. He takes a page from Francis Schaeffer’s work and “tears the roof off” secular philosophy, emphasizing that worldviews must be logically consistent and sound to deliver what they promise. Much like John C. Lennox in his book 2084 or Mark Chironna and Leonard Sweet in their book Rings of Fire, Steiger looks at troubling trends in secular philosophy and their impact on education, scientific research and other areas. He also brings up some interesting quotes between Darwin’s writings about human life, building a fascinating case for the philosophical dangers of evolutionary thinking.

All told then, Steiger makes it clear that secularism is dangerous and that a Christian worldview provides what secularism cannot. However, he doesn’t address how to handle hypocritical Christianity that dehumanizes people, which presents a problem. His chosen topic is contemporary Western society, arguing that secularism harms it and Christianity provides the answer. However, it’s quite common for contemporary Western Christians with struggles (disabilities, addictions, or even long-term illnesses) to say they’ve had mixed experiences with church. Most Christian memoirs or therapy books published in the last twenty years or so reference this problem in some or another. These books’ authors are not usually anti-church, but they describe Christian community as hard to find when many Christians don’t know how to help or give poor advice. For example, addiction counselor Ted Roberts writes in Pure Desire that when he talked with other counselors about helping men overcome pornography addiction using a local church context, many scoffed at the idea; the counselors replied that their clients find church to be a place of shame and apathy and “sometimes the Church is part of the problem.” Roberts doesn’t share that view, but he admits that as he created church small groups for men struggling with sexual problems, he realized most churches had many members suffering in silence.

Similarly, Alec Hill writes in Living in Bonus Time about receiving insulting advice from “prosperity gospel” Christians when he was undergoing cancer treatments. K.J. Ramsey sarcastically implies in This Too Shall Last that people have questioned her faith because she has a chronic illness. On the softer end of the spectrum, there are writers that describe therapy groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous as giving things that they couldn’t find anywhere else, such as empathy and a sense of community; these are traditionally traits that Christians find in local churches. In short, many hurting Christians would say other Christians don’t treat them like human beings. In general, they find the church treats them like things to throw cheap advice and easy solutions at.

These testimonies don’t disprove Steiger’s thesis. Hypocritical Christians who dehumanize people doesn’t prove that consistent Christianity is dehumanizing. However, since Reclaimed is about what’s wrong with contemporary Western society and how to fix it, Steiger needs to address any obvious objections to his thesis. The topic doesn’t need to be addressed throughout the book, but a chapter at the beginning or the end would have balanced the book. As it is, many readers will be able to dismiss the book out of hand.

Leaving this flaw in his arguments aside, Steiger does a great job of considering how secularism can’t give people the sense of value they need as human beings.

A solid critique of secular philosophy and its inherent dangers.


Rating (1 to 5 stars)

4 stars

Suggested Audience

Christians interested in what defines human dignity, how to defend it, and the particular problems that secularism has with defending human dignity.

Christian Impact

Steiger helps readers see particular problems with secular philosophy and its inability to give humans true value. Along the way, he uses a variety of philosophical arguments to show how Christianity provides sustaining answers that other philosophies cannot provide. As noted in the review above, his topical approach means he probably should have also acknowledged contemporary problems with hypocritical Christianity. However, he does an excellent job of dealing with secularism’s philosophical flaws.

Reclaimed: How Jesus Restores Our Humanity in a Dehumanized World

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