FaithWorld

In God’s name — The Economist surveys religion in the world

November 2, 2007

The Economist cover, Nov. 3, 2007The Economist, which printed God’s obituary in its millennium issue, has produced a long and very interesting survey on religion and politics around the world in its latest issue. There’s also an editorial on the separation of church and state and an audio interview with the author John Micklethwait.

As the editor of one of the leading journals of the globalised world, it’s interesting to hear what he says about religion:

“Religion is a bulwark against globalisation for a lot of people. I think you see this particularly in the Islamic world,” he said. But there was also a positive side, which he said could be seen in the United States where so many people read Rick Warren’s book The Purpose-Driven Life. “They’re saying, look, here’s a lifestyle that helps you get the best out of globalisation. I think a long time ago, we made this sort of category mistake, which was to associate modernity with secularism. I think, really, modernity goes much better with pluralism.”

“A free market in religion generally tends to help religion and, I would argue on the whole, it tends to help the state as well. Fundamentally, I think it’s better, the sort of religion we’re heading towards now, which is much more based around choice, far more around individual choice than used to be. It’s not just a question of religions people are born into. It’s a question of religions people are choosing.”

Lots more in the survey itself.

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