The book that has sparked a vigorous national debateabout the state of American religion,praised by Timothy Keller as “provocative” and “compelling,” while TheNew York Times says “Douthat attacks nonsense on both the cultural right and left…responsible and fair,” and the Washington Times raves “a superb documentation of America’s crisis of faith,” now in paperback.
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 forceful account of how American Christianity has lost its way—and why it threatens to take American society with it.
In a world populated by “pray and grow rich” gospels and Christian cults of self-esteem, Ross Douthat argues that America’s problem isn’t too much religion; nor is it intolerant secularism. Rather, it’s bad religion. Conservative and liberal, political and pop cultural, traditionally religious and fashionably “spiritual”—Christianity’s place in American life has increasingly been taken over, not by atheism, but by heresy: debased versions of Christian faith that stroke our egos, indulge our follies, and encourage our worst impulses.
In a brilliant and provocative story that moves from the 1950s to the age of Obama, Douthat explores how bad religion has crippled the country’s ability to confront our most pressing challenges and accelerated American decline.
Ross Douthat is a columnist for the New York Times op-ed page. He is the author of To Change the Church, Bad Religion, and Privilege, and coauthor of Grand New Party. Before joining the New York Times, he was a senior editor for the Atlantic. He is the film critic for National Review, and he cohosts the New York Times’s weekly op-ed podcast, The Argument. He lives in New Haven with his wife and three children.