Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Book Club - God is Back #1 - Winter 2014

The introduction to Micklethwait and Wooldridge's God is Back provides a number of provocative facts, ideas, and claims.  Some of them include:
  • The world's major religions are currently engaged in a "scramble for China" (p. 5).
  • One ruse is to set up trading companies in China that are really missionary outposts (p. 6).
  • The biggest problem for the prophets of secularization is that the surge of religion is being driven by the same two things that have driven the success of market capitalism: competition and choice (p. 21).
  • The American model of religion--one that is based on choice rather than state fiat--is winning (p. 25).
Yet, it is another of their claims that is particularly interesting in light of the recent Pew report (mentioned here).  Micklethwait and Wooldridge claim that:
It now seems that it is the American model that is spreading around the world:  religion and modernity are going hand in hand, not just in China but throughout much of Asia, Africa, Arabia, and Latin America.
But should this claim above remain true given the recent Pew report that regulation of religion is on the rise in many countries around the world?  Is the Pew finding too recent to have been noticed by the God is Back authors?  Or are both going on, i.e., we see a growth in religious freedom in many countries while simultaneously seeing a decline in religious freedom in others?  What other questions come to your mind as you read this chapter?

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