God is back (again)

The millennium issue of the Economist published God's obituary. Now the Economist editor John Micklethwait and Washington bureau chief Adrian Wooldridge have written a new book, God Is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith Is Changing the World. It seems that America, not Western Europe, is the norm. Outside of Europe, the very things that were supposed to destroy religion — democracy and markets, technology and reason — are combining to make it stronger.

What makes Europe different? The centuries-long legacy of state-supported, monopoly churches. Pluralism and diversity is what it takes to keep faith on the boil. That's the lesson of American religious history pre and post 1776.

Around the world in Asia, Latin America and Africa religion is asserting its influence. Those states that have sought to push religion out of national life are now finding that it is pushing its way back in.

Despite decades of religious oppression, by 2050 China will be the nation with the largest population of Christians. Already there are more active Christians in China than members of the Communist Party.

God is back? Actually He never left, we just didn't notice.