This is the best book I’ve read this year, and I’ve been reading a lot. Ross Douthat is a conservative commentator and the youngest op-ed columnist ever for The New York Times. In a provocative and pessimistic tone he chronicles the decline of orthodox Protestantism/Catholicism in mid 20th century America and narrates the present upsurge of “heresies” like Oprah spirituality, Joel Osteen prosperity theology, and Glen Beck religious nationalism. Each trend has profound societal impacts.
As an aside, Douthat converted to Catholicism as a teen and represents the ongoing marriage between conservative Catholics and evangelicals on cultural analysis. The first recommendation listed on the book cover is by respected evangelical pastor Tim Killer, who writes, “This volume is a sustained proof of Chesterton’s thesis that when people turn from God, ‘they don’t believe in nothing—they believe in anything.”After the recent publication of his book, Douthat was interviewed by Southern Baptist Theological’s president Albert Mohler, as well as The Gospel Coalition and Christianity Today.