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.