Bad Religion

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235 Ratings

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5 out of 5 stars
By J. D. Ryals on 07-19-16

Bad Religion Is Bad Ass

Fascinating narrative of the shift from (relatively) robust mid-century/post-war American religious institutions (morally authoritative and politically above the fray) to our current, institutionally-weakened religious climate (pervaded by heresies such as Osteen-ish prosperity preaching, Oprah-esque god within thought, or Beck-like nationalism) and enlightening connection of our religio-social climate with its different forms' various historical roots. The analysis is grim but insightful, and it concludes with thoughtful and thought-provoking reflections on possibilities of renewal.

Perhaps somewhat as an aside, one of the things I particularly enjoyed was the very incisive interaction with (and, I must say - as it seemed to me - pretty epic takedown of) the popular "real Jesus" search (those who partake in the essentially autobiographical project nearly always make him into a figure too impotent to have made much of an impact on history).

Overall the book makes Douthat look like a potential journalistic heir of Chesterton.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Matthew Ingold on 04-17-16

Most Christian book of our time

Ross does two things that most 21st Century Christians fail to do in our present era.

1. He goes beyond the common denominator of mere Christianity to objectively call out what is and is not Christianity.

2. He conveys his argument in a gentle and fatherly way that is respectful of the reader and their particular creed, yet assertive in delivering the radical challenge of Christ, which the orthodox Christian Faith's have preserved over the millennia.

This is an academic and scholarly read, so if you are like me, it may get dull at times. Nonetheless, I applaud Ross for the way he so delicately, yet strongly, challenges American culture to see the great value of authentic Christian culture, and the universal danger of watering it down to an unorthodox relative dogma to be used for one's own personal justification.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Chuck Jones on 03-11-15

Pretty good book

Ended on a good note. Author has a great understanding of chronological 20th century. Can be a bit dry and exclusive at times but stick with it.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Lynn on 06-05-12

Broad Stroke Analysis

In Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics, Ross Gregory Douthat provocatively addresses the drift of Christian faith experienced in the US during the recent past. He links this drift to the current economic, policy, and political malaise effecting the populace. The slow-motion decline of traditional faith and the rise of pseudo-Christian thinking is described and analyzed. One could argue details of Douthat’s arguments, but overall he makes a rather disturbing case for what has transpired. The thought provoking book is generally depressing. The tenor turns upbeat (or perhaps I should say hopeful) in the final sections where he proposes how Christian faith may be turned back to its roots. For my tastes, Douthat reveals his political biases in a number of places. However, Christians of all stripes would do well to at least give Douthat a hearing. The reading of Lloyd James is excellent.

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5 of 7 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Vanessa on 05-14-12

Food for thought

Would you try another book from Ross Douthat and/or Lloyd James?

Lloyd James is a compelling narrator as he seems to understand the material and reads the more academic sections in understandable prose. He is by far my favourite non-fiction narrator.

I think that Mr Douthat gives huge food for thought, especially to a non-American trying to understand the political landscape. Although, I do not necessarily agree with all his conclusions he certainly made me think about how I view the institutional Catholic Church, the Pentecostal movement as it is working itself through Africa and the new religion of "self". I would have liked more systematic theological depth as I thought that this could have strengthened some of his arguments. I also would have liked him to make more connections between the history of Church development in the US with the political situation now. However this is my particular bias as Church history in general and the historical development of systematic theology is a bit of a passion.

All in all a compelling "read" and I will definitely be following his views throughout the election period. Not necessarily in agreement but as an interesting point of clarification for my own thoughts.

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3 of 4 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Linwood on 05-02-12

Maybe not best as an audio book

What would have made Bad Religion better?

There are many excellent aspects of this book. It is quite technical at times. This is no easy read so I would not recommend it for your drive to work. You have to listen carefully. I speak 4 languages and still found the vocabulary and references a bit high brow. Also, it is the kind of book that I would like to be able to check the references and footnotes. He makes some allegations, that I am sure he researched, but in a print copy you could check them out and especially the context.

What could Ross Douthat have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Simplify the language and make it more accessible to the average reader. It comes across as an intellectual tome written for a philosophical elite. The subject is important enough to make more accessible to more people.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Good Narration.

Any additional comments?

I would remind the reader/author of the words of God to a discouraged prophet Elijah, "I have 7000 people in this land who haven't sold out to Baal". I agree there are very serious issues facing the church in the USA. Still, I believe there are many people who despite the sin and imperfections of contemporary Christianity, have not bought the lies and heresy which the book documents.

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5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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