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God Is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith…
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God Is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith Is Changing the World (edition 2009)

by John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge

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Member:dhackett44
Title:God Is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith Is Changing the World
Authors:John Micklethwait
Other authors:Adrian Wooldridge
Info:Penguin Press HC, The (2009), Hardcover, 416 pages
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God Is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith Is Changing the World by John Micklethwait

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Showing 4 of 4
Biography And History > Culture and Institutions > Religious institutions > Social Sciences > Social Sciences, Sociology, Anthropology
  FHQuakers | Feb 13, 2018 |
I read this book because I heard an interview with one of its authors on Radio New Zealand (with Kim Hill). It was a really interesting interview.

So after it was promoted in NZ, I bought the book in Australia, and have now finished it. I'm interested - and a little disappointed - to find that there's not a single paragraph in there about what's going on in Australia, NZ and the Pacific Islands. A paragraph would have pacified me. Otherwise, it doesn't feel like a true overview of 'the world', as promised in the subtitle.

Perhaps this was not their story to write. I do think, probably, that Australia is following America's lead - and I refer mainly to a recent episode of Compass in which the issue of Chaplains in Schools was covered. So the buckle of our bible belt is in Queensland. I wasn't surprised to learn that K Rudd had put a lot of funding into that program, but I was very surprised to learn, at the very end of the episode, that J Gillard (the atheist) had continued on with it.

I was wondering what kind of tone this book would take - the radio interview suggested to listeners it would be less polemical and more neutral than, say, Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion. It's clear from reading, however, exactly where the authors stand on this issue - they understand that religion comes in waves, that religion is about to make another resurgence, and there's nothing much anyone can do about it. By the final chapter, however, they make it clear that not all the world's evil can be blamed on religion - much of the worst fighting happens within religions. There is a very good coverage of how big a role religion plays in wars (not always that much, unless you count nationalism as another kind of religion).


( )
  LynleyS | Feb 8, 2014 |
I was reading this book more or less alongside "[Stealing Jesus]", and it was a most odd experience. Often the two books were covering the exact same ground and yet their perspectives were vastly different.

This book, however, is less concerned with questions of the merit of faith as to describing what is actually happening on the ground. As such it was an extremely interesting read, from authors who are not particularly wedded to any of the world views they are describing.

The fundamental thesis is that the assumption that modernity leads to secularism is in fact incorrect - that as countries are developing, they are becoming more religious, and that Europe here is an exception. What is more there is a thesis as to why this should be the case. The argument is made that US style separation of church and state, and the resulting pluralism this produces creates a need for religions to compete in a religious marketplace. This commoditisation of religion is well described, with historical examples of how churches have become more outward focussed and keyed into the winning of converts as they have found themselves unable to rest on the laurels of state establishment.

The result is a kind of tailored religion that people such as Bruce Bawer have clearly reacted against, and yet has proved incredibly durable. The result is that religion has prospered.

The book looks at issues for the future. It also discusses how some policy makers have radically misunderstood the place of faith in foreign policy, and also deals with issues of tension in the major religions themselves.

All in all this is an excellent work - not least because it avoids any triumphalism in the information it presents. This book is about numbers, but it is fundamentally an analysis of the current situation. It nowhere propounds a view that a numbers game is actually what the issue should be all about, and this then lends credence to the findings.

The analysis is so wide ranging it is going to be wrong in places. I detected a few places where I felt the authors had simplified issues (for instance in the summary of Robert Pape's work in "[Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism]". But read with an open mind, I think this book provides a convincing thesis. ( )
2 vote sirfurboy | Jun 10, 2009 |
Written by the editor-in-chief (John Micklethwait) and the Washington bureau chief (Adrian Woolridge) of The Economist.

The Western European view over the past several decades has been that religion is irrelevant and an embarrassment, and far more trouble than it is worth. Both the theocracies of Saudi Arabia and Iran, matched by the theocracies of the Bush administration and Israel, have brought more conflict on this planet than anything since Europe's Thirty Years War.

This has been echoed by Sam Harris in The End of Faith and Christopher Hitchens in God is Not Great.

Well, God is Back. And yes, religion is a crucial element in understanding the politics of the Middle East, Africa, India, and the U.S. But this is perhaps not a terrible thing. Maybe there is a way out of this Clash of Civilizations, and it requires an understanding of the role of religion in the world today.

And that is the point of God is Back. ( )
  bodhisattva | May 24, 2009 |
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Book description
On the street and in the corridors of power, religion is surging all over the world. From Russia to Turkey to India, nations that swore off faith in the last century, or even tried to stamp it out, are now run by avowedly religious leaders, and the destabilising effects of religion can be seen far from Iraq or the ruins of the World Trade Centre. Formerly secular conflicts like the one in Palestine have taken on an overtly religious cast, and religion plays a role in civil wars from Sri Lanka to Sudan. Along the tenth parallel, from West Africa to the Philippines, religious fervour and political unrest are reinforcing each other.

Since the Enlightenment, intellectuals have assumed that modernization would kill religion, and that religious America is an oddity. God Is Back argues that religion and modernity can thrive together, and that the American way of religion is becoming the norm. Many things helped spark the global religious revival in the twenty-first century, including the failure of communism and the rise of globalisation; it is now being fuelled above all by market competition and a customer-driven approach to salvation. These are the qualities which have characterized America since the Founders separated church and state, creating a free market in religion defined by entrepreneurship, choice, and personal revelation, and as market forces reshape the world, the tools and ideals of American evangelism are now spreading everywhere.

The global rise of faith will have a dramatic and far- reaching impact on our century. God Is Back shines a bright light on this hidden world of faith, from exorcisms in São Paulo to religious skirmishing in Nigeria, to harassed Muslims in India and vibrant house churches in China (where there are already more Christians than Communist Party members). If you want to understand the politics of this century, you cannot afford to ignore God, whether you believe in Him or not.
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On the street and in the corridors of power, religion is surging worldwide. From Russia to Turkey to India, nations that swore off faith in the last century--or even tried to stamp it out--are now run by avowedly religious leaders. This book examines this new world, from exorcisms in São Paulo to religious skirmishing in Nigeria, to televangelism in California and house churches in China. Since the Enlightenment, intellectuals have assumed that modernization would kill religion--and that religious America is an oddity. As these authors argue, religion and modernity can thrive together, and America is becoming the norm. The failure of communism and the rise of globalism helped spark the global revival, but, above all, 21st century religion is being fueled by a very American emphasis on competition and a customer-driven approach to salvation, and its destabilizing effects can already be seen far from Iraq or the World Trade Center.--From publisher description.… (more)

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