Two "Economist" writers show how and why religion is booming around the world and reveal its vast effects on the global economy, politics, and more.
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. Formerly secular conflicts like the one in Palestine have taken on an overtly religious cast. "God Is Back" shines a bright light on this hidden world of faith, from exorcisms in Sao Paulo to religious skirmishes 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 "God Is Back" argues, religion and modernity can thrive together, and America is becoming the norm. Many things helped spark the global revival of religion, including the failure of communism and the rise of globalism. But, above all, twenty-first century religion is being fueled by a very American emphasis on competition and a customer-driven approach to salvation. These qualities have characterized this country's faith ever since the Founders separated church and state, creating a religious free market defined by entrepreneurship, choice, and personal revelation. 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. Indeed, its destabilizing effects can already be seen far from Iraq or the World Trade Center. Religion plays a role in civil wars from Sri Lanka to Sudan. Along the tenth parallel, from West Africa to the Philippines, religious fervor and political unrest are reinforcing each other. "God Is Back" concludes by showing how the same American ideas that created our unique religious style can be applied around the globe to channel the rising tide of faith away from volatility and violence.