Monday, July 06, 2009

God is Back (!)

God is Back: how the global revival of faith is changing the world, by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge.

These two authors, both journalists for The Economist, (one is a Catholic and one an atheist) have written several books together about trends on the global level. This latest one focuses on the (surprising) increase and revival of religion in the world, at a time when it was widely believed that secularism would predominate. And the intriguing thing is that the people who are embracing religion are not just the poor and uneducated, but the ‘technologically sophisticated, upwardly mobile, urban, well-educated, middle class – in a word, thoroughly modern – people.’
While the authors focus extensively on the way in which the American First Amendment ‘simultaneously forbids the state to manipulate religion for its own ends by creating an established church while guaranteeing citizens the right to participate in public life on the basis of their religious convictions’ and thus creates a vitality that Europe lacks, they by no means focus exclusively on Western religions. Islam of course receives due attention, but so does the uprise of religion in many third world countries, as well as Africa and South America.
The book is well-researched, written in an often witty and lively style, and essential reading for anyone who wants to get a global perspective. A much more extensive review (by New Zealander Chris Marshall - pictured at right) can be found in the June 2009 On the Road Journal.

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