In 1966, Time magazine famously asked, “Is God Dead?” For almost 50 years, the geopolitics of the world has indicated a strong and loud “no” to this question. So argue the editors of a great volume, intended for journalists but a worthwhile read for anyone interested in faith or politics, entitled Blind Spot: When Journalists Don’t Get Religion. At the conclusion of their background article, “God is Winning,” Timothy Samuel Shah and Monica Duffy Toft argue,
“Contrary to the influential scholarly theories of the 1950s and 1960s, religion is not dying with modernization. Contrary to conventional wisdom, religion plays an independent and powerful role in how people view themselves and how states conduct their affairs. And, contrary to the assumptions of recent U.S. foreign policy, democracy promotion may only increase the political role of religion – including radical religion – throughout the world, most immediately in Iraq and other parts of the Middle East. God is winning in global politics. And modernization, democratization, and globalization have only made him stronger.”
The chorus of New Atheists (Dawkins, Hitchens [RIP], Harris, Dennett, etc.) continues to argue that religion either will or should go away with advances in modernity and science. And yet, the exact opposite is happening. There is a message here for all of us, religious and nonreligious: to understand the world around us, we had best understand our religious neighbors on their own terms, lest we are fated to be ignorant of our world and one of its indefatigable factors. This has been true since Time‘s infamous cover, and will, in all probability, remain true in this new year – despite what the cultured despisers happen to feel about it.
Source: “God is Winning,” in Blind Spot: When Journalists Don’t Get Religion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 28.