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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 rails--and 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 nation's political and economic crises. He argues that America's problem isn't 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, it's 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 pulpits--conservative and liberal, political and pop cultural, traditionally religious and fashionably "spiritual"--and many of their preachers claim a Christian warrant. But they are increasingly offering distortions of traditional Christianity--not the real thing. Christianity's 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 Christianity's decline from a vigorous, mainstream, and bipartisan faith--which acted as a "vital center" and the moral force behind the civil rights movement--through 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 gospel's mantra of "pray and grow rich," a cult of self-esteem that reduces God to a life coach, and the warring political religions of left and right have crippled the country's 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 a provocative challenge to Republican conventional wisdom, two of the Right's rising young thinkers call upon the GOP to focus on the interests and needs of working-class voters.Grand New Party lays bare the failures of the conservative revolution and presents a detailed blueprint for building the next Republican majority. Blending history, analysis, and fresh, often controversial recommendations, Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam argue that it is time to move beyond the Reagan legacy and the current Republican power structure. With specific proposals covering such hot-button topics as immigration, health care, and taxes, Grand New Party shakes up the Right, challenges the Left, and confronts the changing political landscape.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Sparknotes of Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen's masterpiece