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God is Back: How the Global Rise of Faith is Changing the World Paperback – 4 Mar 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (4 Mar. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141024747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141024745
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 428,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

John Micklethwait is the editor of the Economist and Adrian Wooldridge is its Washington bureau chief. They have written four previous books together: The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea, A Future Perfect: The Challenge and Promise of Globalization, The Witchdoctors: Making Sense of the Management Gurus and The Right Nation: Why America is Different.


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I was reading this book more or less alongside "Stealing Jesus", and it was a most odd experience. Often the two books were covering the exact same ground and yet their perspectives were vastly different.

This book, however, is less concerned with questions of the merit of faith as to describing what is actually happening on the ground. As such it was an extremely interesting read, from authors who are not particularly wedded to any of the world views they are describing.

The fundamental thesis is that the assumption that modernity leads to secularism is in fact incorrect - that as countries are developing, they are becoming more religious, and that Europe here is an exception. What is more there is a thesis as to why this should be the case. The argument is made that US style separation of church and state, and the resulting pluralism this produces creates a need for religions to compete in a religious marketplace. This commoditisation of religion is well described, with historical examples of how churches have become more outward focussed and keyed into the winning of converts as they have found themselves unable to rest on the laurels of state establishment.

The result is a kind of tailored religion that people such as Bruce Bawer have clearly reacted against, and yet has proved incredibly durable. The result is that religion has prospered.

The book looks at issues for the future. It also discusses how some policy makers have radically misunderstood the place of faith in foreign policy, and also deals with issues of tension in the major religions themselves.

All in all this is an excellent work - not least because it avoids any triumphalism in the information it presents.
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Format: Hardcover
There is something strange here. What is the editor of the Economist doing publishing a book titled God is Back? Three months after publication, why am I the first reviewer on amazon.co.uk, where the book is a languishing mid-list, but on amazon.com, Good is Back enjoys glowing reviews and is a best seller?

With titles such as The God Delusion, the strident atheists have polarised the current debate. Hardly an accusation to be levelled at any Economist report. The Economist is long respected for its balanced, rational, informed analysis. So how is God back?

The title God is Back is a journalistic headline designed to hook the reader. As shown by Amazon, the title has alienated British readers but successfully hooked Americans. Americans reading the contents will discover they have let in a Trojan Horse.

God is back examines religion in the tradition of the Economist. A reasoned analysis of how Christianity has developed in the last half century, where it may be going in the next, and what its economic effects may be. It is one of the few balanced contributions to the current debate. As such it is not gong to please either side. God is Back does not dismiss the concerns of Atheists. It presents a more objective and reasoned argument for those concerns than many Atheists present.

The title God is Back is not a prophecy but a conclusion. A conclusion that disturbs and yet may reassure the West in a rapidly changing world. The wide ranging facts the authors present lead to a prediction as apocalyptic as any the bible has to offer. If China is to become the world's largest Christian nation, and yet the largest Islamic nation, what happens if China fractures along the religious devide? Is Christianity part of the problem or potentially part of the solution?
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Format: Hardcover
The authors are John Micklethwait, the editor of the Economist, and Adrian Wooldridge, its Washington bureau chief, one of whom is a Catholic and the other an atheist. I have usually regarded the Economist, which I always enjoy, as secular-humanist in outlook and somewhat dismissive of all religion as the relict of a bygone superstitious era. Over the last few years I have observed a change, first in recognizing the important role of religion around the world and then in a more straightforward reporting of the facts.

Well, now we have God is Back. Not exactly written by evangelicals, but all the more compelling for that fact. It surveys the religious scene across the world from the house churches of China, through the megachurches of the USA and Korea, and Pentecostals all over the world, to the Hindu-nationalist politics of India and Islamic fundamentalists of the Middle East. It is a tour de force, and it's an easy read - a real page-turner.

From a Christian standpoint, if one takes seriously the "fullness of time" in the first century (the Christians' use of Roman roads and shipping lanes; the Greek language; the synagogues of the Jewish diaspora), and a second fullness of time at the Reformation (printing presses and rising literacy; the new nation states of Europe and collapse of the feudal system; the rise of a newly confident merchant class and Continental trade), then Micklethwait and Wooldrige may be onto something remarkable, namely that Evangelicalism (especially its Pentecostal version) was made for the 21st century. If this turns out to be true we may be on the verge of one of the greatest moves forward by Christianity in history. Interesting.
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