Ron’s #29: Saving Leonardo by Nancy Pearcy


I love Nancy Pearcey and will read everything she writes. Last year, Total Truth was one of my top picks, and I think that Saving Leonardo will be one of my picks for this year as well.

We are reading and discussing this book in Apologia, and it is a perfect work to use on worldviews. Pearcey is clear, interesting, and smarter than you are! Saving Leonardo expands on/clarifies/details her two-story model of truth that she discussed in Total Truth. She shows how a variety of worldviews fragment truth into two parts: facts and values. The lower story, facts, is the “real” truth (“Science is ultimate authority”), while the values part is relegated to the less meaningful, less truthful top half (“That’s fine for you to believe, but…”). This division is contrary to the Christian worldview of a unified truth, with facts and values all the weight of its “truthiness.” Jesus Christ rose from the dead in history, AND He offers hope and eternal life for those who believe. The Christian worldview is unified in its view of personhood: the body AND the person is all human, contrary to pro-abortion views that the body may be present but it is not a person yet. The Christian worldview is unified in sexuality, stating that our gender and our physical body are one; one informs the other. Some on the extreme today would state that you can be whatever gender you like regardless who you are physically equipped with. If I want to act as a woman, great! These are divided truth splits, and therefore not truth at all.

Saving Leonardo also offers a crash course in art history, an area that is lacking from my education. I appreciated reading about worldviews and how they are reflected in a variety of art, both classic and modern works. Just for the art history overview, this book is worth its price.

This is a weighty book, both in content and in gravitational pull. It is worth your effort to spend time with Nancy Pearcey.


I want to offer the questions I wrote for our group discussion on chapters 1-5. If you are interested in the questions for the remainder of the book, please ask.

  1. Why is knowledge of worldviews important to you as a Christian? What are some key areas that the biblical worldview is antithetical to the worldviews of our society? Do you agree with Pearcey that “people are hungry for alternatives to the dominant secular worldviews” (22)?
  2. Before understanding the rest of the book, we must discuss the two-story concept of truth, a major premise of this work.  How is this is a good model to understand prevailing worldviews? (26)
  3. Explain the method that Kunkle uses to discuss objective versus subjective truth  (29-31). How could this add to our conversations with others ?
  4. Josh McDowell states that he noticed a change on university campuses in how students challenge his claims for Christianity. They used to say, “Prove it…Give me some evidence.” Now, they respond with, “What right do you have to say that?” What does this change say about the audiences and culture? (31)
  5. How would you respond to the challenge stated regarding Christian missionaries?  “Why don’t you Christians respect other people’s beliefs and cultural traditions? Why do you think yours are superior? You have practiced cultural genocide, wiping out entire cultures in your imperialistic ambition to remake everyone in your own image” (33). What are some underlying worldview ideas in these objections?
  6. How does the fact/value split apply to discussions on abortion, homosexuality, and gender? (Chapter 3)
  7. What did you find new and/or unique in the discussions of art and worldview in chapter 4?
  8. Kant’s dualism split nature (facts) and freedom (ideals). Pearcey shows that this leads to Bible stories becoming merely object lessons for us, even if they are not true. This split leads to the “two opposing streams” in philosophy (96). Discuss what we know about these two.
  9. What are the worldview differences in the three representations of the assassinations of the monks? (108-110).
  10. Using one of the many pieces in this chapter, show how worldviews are connected to art.
  11. Pearcey reminds us that “Christians should speak out on moral issues not because they feel ‘offended’ or because their ‘cherished beliefs’ are threatened, but because they have compassion for those who are trapped by destructive ideas. Their motivation should be that they are compelled by the love of Christ (2 Cor 5:14)” (68).  How well does this describe you? How can you improve in this area?



About Ron 173 Articles
I teach English and government in Okinawa, Japan. I love reading theology and fiction, and helps keep me accountable. Reading with three kids under 5 is a bit of a challenge, but I keep trying to find ways to read more. My favorites writers are C. S. Lewis, Flannery O’ Connor, and Raymond Carver.

9 Comments on Ron’s #29: Saving Leonardo by Nancy Pearcy

  1. Great review and wonderful questions. I am organizing a teenage co-op and would love to have access to the rest of your questions for the co-op. We will be studying truth — how to know it, share it and defend it. Thanks!

  2. I would love to receive the balance of your questions for Saving Leonardo. I’m just about to begin it!

  3. Hi there!
    Great questions – I would really love your full list. I’m leading a parent discussion group and your questions are amazing.

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