Collin Hansen reviews Ross Douthat’s latest book, Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics, which releases this Tuesday. A former journalist himself, Hansen assesses the book’s major themes, strengths, and weaknesses. An excerpt:
Bad Religion reads like what you’d expect from a skilled and tireless columnist: lots of interaction with books, essays, and studies to explain how great minds and dynamic leaders have changed culture from the top down. The book does not display the full wit of David Brooks, the theological expertise of David Wells, or the sociological sophistication of James Davison Hunter. Yet I don’t doubt Christian thought leaders will and should read this book cover to cover. The only question is whether they can do anything about the problems Douthat had identified. As he admits, the influence of institutional church leaders has diminished relative to the upstart prosperity preachers and pop psychology writers.