Mormon Inquiry

Mormon Inquiry

This just in: God has returned.

To public life. Don’t let American headlines fool you — the global tide of faith is still coming in, according to the recently published God is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith is Changing the World. The Religious Studies Center Blog provides a short review of the book.

For the past two hundred years, European thinkers such as Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber believed that religion was doomed and that God was dead. However, history always seems to surprise us. …

One of the latest efforts to understand how and why faith is rebounding in the face of pervasive and profound secularism is John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge’s God Is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith Is Changing the World (New York: Penguin, 2009). Of interest, Latter-day Saints are mentioned on several occasions (see pp. 18, 19, 65, 115, 124, 229, 233, 357, 371).


The authors describe their efforts as a “long journey” and add, “No doubt [this book’s] overall message will depress many secularists; at times it has depressed us too. Some terrible things have already happened in this century in God’s name. More are undoubtedly on the way.” They conclude, “Unevenly and gradually, religion is becoming a matter of choice–something that individuals decide or believe in (or not)” (372). This model, where choice plays a central role in the decision to believe or not believe, is thoroughly American. Hence, the wave of the future is the American model, in which there is no established state church and people decide on their own what they will believe.

(Parenthetical in original post.) Get your hands on a copy of this one soon. You wouldn’t want to be … left behind.

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New Age Cowboy

posted May 28, 2009 at 2:47 pm

Christopher Hitchens makes a really good point: Now that godless Communism is gone, it’s the godly and religious that are denying freedoms and bullying. ( See )
I’m a believer in God. But Hitchens is right. From Teri Schavio to Prop 8 to child molestation cover-ups, and the ridiculous historical revisionism of religious fundamentalists… Even in Africa Christian priests are accusing little boys and girls of witchcraft… I’d say that our church leaders are poor representatives. In fact, it’s fair to say they’re turning off thoughtful people.
If John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge can’t provide any hard statistics about the growth of believers, then they’re just blowing holy smoke out their rear-ends. According to scientific surveys, the fastest growing demographic of the last 10 years is that which lies outside of any denomination with any prescribed/traditional dogma.
Until religious bodies, including my own, can get our own affairs in order and be honest… well, we’re gonna be pushing thoughtful people to the margins, outside of our bodies.
Mr. Banack,
I enjoy your blog and respect LDS members. I hope your church is finished with dictating morality via politics. Your church may have had a political victory; but you’ve lost countless souls. I’ve seen what political activism has done to Evangelicals (I grew up Evangelical). We went from having icons like Billy Graham and Johnny Cash to having Rush Limbaugh and opportunists like James Dobson.
If I was in LDS leadership, I’d display the effectiveness of the Church welfare program. It should be the envy of every denomination in the U.S.A.

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New Age Cowboy

posted May 29, 2009 at 2:03 am

Ya know Mr. Banack, food LDS food storage practices would be brilliant as far as coping and preventing nourishment crisis in the face of disaster. Tell somebody to in that LDS hierarchy to shout it from the rooftops like Moroni.
Me, I’m a lover; not a fighter.

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Jack Mormon

posted May 29, 2009 at 10:17 pm

New Age Cowboy – If we lost a handful of people over the Prop 8 issue, that may not be a bad thing. Sometimes you have to thin the herd to improve the quality.
Case in point: Remember Gideon in the Old Testament? He started out with 25,000, and had to whittle it down to 300. He won a victory over his adversaries, with God’s help.
That’s why I’m not too worried about the direction the Church leadership is taking us.

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New Age Cowboy

posted May 30, 2009 at 12:29 am

Hey Jack Mormon,
I’m a lover not a fighter. Ever hear the story about how Jesus would leave the 99 to save the one? Somehow that gospel story strikes a more humane chord than the Social Darwinism advocated by: “Sometimes you have to thin the herd to improve the quality.”
That seems to run along the same lines of Evangelicals supporting torture in polls. And from my own personal experience, it seems like the more traditionally religiously inclined one is, the more likely the support war, even unjustified ones like in Iraq.
Jesus put it really well, “If you live by the sword, you die by the sword.”
The amazing thing is that the “Christian/LDS” herd is getting trimmed for the silliest of reasons. Ernest Holmes, author of “Science of Mind” says to promote what YOU BELIEVE in; rather than engaging in constant condemnation.
Should the LDS be defined by its opposition to homosexuals to the effect of deterring decent folk with homosexual family members. Or, could the LDS church enhance marriage counseling to cut down on the Church’s own divorce rate? (Honestly, when religious bodies have the same or even higher divorce rates than those of liberals, are they the ones who should be defining marriage?)
Christopher Hitchens, like I said above, makes the point that since the godless Communists are gone – the new bullies that are denying freedom around the world are the most godly. That could get a lot of free thinking patriotic Americans thinking like our great founding father Thomas Jefferson:
I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Francis Hopkinson, March 13, 1789
Now if you’re any kind of real “Jack Mormon”, we could talk this over a beer or coffee. I’m sure you’re an alright guy. Like I said, I’m a lover not a fighter.

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