Friday, April 24, 2009
I previously mentioned John Micklethwait's and Adrian Wooldridge's new book, God Is Back, and quoted from an article of theirs in The Wall Street Journal. Hanna Rosin has now reviewed it in The New York Times. Some parts of it cannot be a comfort to secularists, much less atheists:
[T]he book's strength is in dissecting exactly how God managed to morph and evolve and become indispensable to the world at a time when he should have faded away. ...
While fundamentalists of all kinds get most of the attention, the authors zero in on another phenomenon: the growth and global spread of the American megachurch. With no state-sanctioned religion, American churches began to operate like multinational corporations; pastors became "pastorpreneurs," endlessly branding and expanding, treating the flock like customers and seeding franchises all over the world. The surge of religion was "driven by the same forces driving the success of market capitalism: competition and choice." ...
All the while, religion began shedding its association with anti-intellectualism, and became the province of the upwardly mobile middle class. Evangelicals began graduating from college in record numbers, and Christian philanthropists began building an "intellectual infrastructure," including programs and endowed chairs in the Ivy League. A new class of thinkers emerged representing what some have called "the opening of the evangelical mind," and a solid religious left began to take shape, symbolized most powerfully by Barack Obama. Obama beat Hillary Clinton for many reasons, but one was his ability to "out-God" her, they write.