As the youngest-ever op-ed columnist for the New York Times, Ross Douthat has emerged as one of the most provocative and influential voices of his generation. In Bad Religion he offers a masterful and hard-hitting account of how American Christianity has gone off the railsaand why it threatens to take American society with it. Writing for an era dominated by recession, gridlock, and fears of American decline, Douthat exposes the spiritual roots of the nationas political and economic crises. He argues that Americaas problem isnat too much religion, as a growing chorus of atheists have argued; nor is it an intolerant secularism, as many on the Christian right believe. Rather, itas bad religion: the slow-motion collapse of traditional faith and the rise of a variety of pseudo-Christianities that stroke our egos, indulge our follies, and encourage our worst impulses. These faiths speak from many pulpitsaconservative and liberal, political and pop cultural, traditionally religious and fashionably aspiritualaaand many of their preachers claim a Christian warrant. But they are increasingly offering distortions of traditional Christianityanot the real thing. Christianityas place in American life has increasingly been taken over, not by atheism, Douthat argues, but by heresy: debased versions of Christian faith that breed hubris, greed, and self-absorption. In a story that moves from the 1950s to the age of Obama, he brilliantly charts institutional Christianityas decline from a vigorous, mainstream, and bipartisan faithawhich acted as a avital centera and the moral force behind the civil rights movementathrough the culture wars of the 1960s and 1970s to the polarizing debates of the present day. Ranging from Glenn Beck to Barack Obama, Eat Pray Love to Joel Osteen, and Oprah Winfrey to The Da Vinci Code, Douthat explores how the prosperity gospelas mantra of apray and grow rich, a a cult of self-esteem that reduces God to a life coach, and the warring political religions of left and right have crippled the countryas ability to confront our most pressing challenges and accelerated American decline. His urgent call for a revival of traditional Christianity is sure to generate controversy, and it will be vital reading for all those concerned about the imperiled American future.In Bad Religion he offers a masterful and hard-hitting account of how American Christianity has gone off the railsaand why it threatens to take American society with it.
|Publisher||:||Simon and Schuster - 2012-04-17|