Dinesh D Souza, The Greatness of Christianity: Table of Contents
Cf. Dinesh D’souza, What’s So Great About Christianity, at Amazon
“The era of Western Christianity has passed within our lifetimes, and the day of Southern Christianity is dawning.” —Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom
GOD HAS COME BACK TO LIFE. The world is witnessing a huge explosion of religious conversion and growth, and Christianity is growing faster than any other religion. Nietzsche’s proclamation “God is dead” is now proven false. Nietzsche is dead. The ranks of the unbelievers are shrinking as a proportion of the world’s population. Secularism has lost its identification with progress and modernity, and consequently it has lost the main source of its appeal. God is very much alive, and His future prospects look to be excellent. This is the biggest comeback story of the twenty-first century.
If God is back, why don’t we see it? The reason is that many of us live in the wrong neighborhood. “Visit a church at random next Sunday,” Brent Staples writes in the New York Times, “and you will probably encounter a few dozen people sprinkled thinly over a sanctuary that was built to accommodate hundreds or even thousands:’ Yes, I’ve seen the “empty pews and white-haired congregants” that Staples describes.2 But then, Staples lives in New York and I live in California. We live among people who are practically atheist.
Of course my neighbors do not think of themselves as atheist. Very few of them belong to atheist organizations or subscribe to atheist literature. Some of them who are highly educated like to think of themselves as agnostic: they haven’t made up their minds because the evidence simply isn’t in yet. Others even consider themselves Christian, either because they were born that way or because they attend church occasionally. The distinguishing characteristic of these people is that they live as if God did not exist. God makes no difference in their lives. This is “practical atheism.” We all know people like this. Some of us hardly know anyone not like this. And sometimes we live this way ourselves.
If we live in the wrong neighborhood, we risk missing the most important developmentof our time: the global revival of religion. It’s happening on every continent. In my native country of India, Hinduism is undergoing a resurgence. So is Islam. As I have written about Islamic radicalism and terrorism I am often asked, “When will the Muslims understand the importance of secularism? When will we see an Islamic Reformation?” My answer is that Muslims will never understand the importance of secularism. Nor do they need to, because as we shall see, secularism is increasingly unimportant as a global phenomenon. Moreover, Islam is in the middle of a reformation. We see a resurgence of Muslim piety not just in the Middle East but also in Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Turkey, and East Africa. At one time Turkey provided a model of Islamic secularism, but not any longer. No Muslim country is going the way of Turkey, and in recent years even Turkey has stopped going the way of Turkey.