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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 26, 2005 / 17 Nisan, 5765

Faith in Our Future?

By Michael Barone


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If you read the headlines, you run the risk of thinking we are headed toward a theocracy. Alarmists note that George W. Bush invokes his religious faith in many speeches and that his positions on abortion, embryonic-stem-cell research, and faith-based charities are informed by it. They decry the law Congress passed to provide federal judicial review in the Terri Schiavo case. Vocal American Catholics bewail the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI. Blogger Andrew Sullivan called it "a full-scale assault" on liberal Catholics; one of his correspondents called the new pope "this headstrong, self-assured, anti-democratic and egotistical little man." We all look abroad at the violence done by Islamist fanatics and wonder, without any clear way of being sure, how far such doctrines have taken hold among the world's 1.2 billion Muslims. We note, more reassuringly but perhaps with some wariness, that most Iraqi voters seem to have followed the lead of the country's most powerful cleric, Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

But whether the United States is on its way to becoming a theocracy is actually a silly question. No religion is going to impose laws on an unwilling Congress or the people of this country. And we have long lived comfortably with a few trappings of religion in the public space, such as "In G-d We Trust" or "G-d save this honorable court." The real question is whether strong religious belief is on the rise in America and the world. Fifty years ago secular liberals were confident that education, urbanization, and science would lead people to renounce religion. That seems to have happened, if you confine your gaze to Europe, Canada, and American university faculty clubs. But this movement has not been as benign as expected: The secular faiths of fascism and communism destroyed millions of lives before they were extinguished.

American values. America has not moved in the expected direction. In fact, just the opposite. Economist Robert Fogel's The Fourth Great Awakening argues that we've been in the midst of a religious revival since the 1950s, in which, as in previous revivals, "the evangelical churches represented the leading edge of an ideological and political response to accumulated technological and social changes that undermined the received culture." In the 2004 presidential exit poll, 74 percent of voters described themselves as churchgoers, 23 percent as evangelical or born-again Protestants, and 10 percent said they had no religion.

This is in line with longer trends. Roger Finke and Rodney Stark in The Churching of America 1776-1990 used careful quantitative analysis to show that in America's free marketplace of ideas the religions and sects that have grown are those that make serious demands on members; those that accommodate to secular critics and make few demands decline in numbers. The Roman Catholic Church continues to grow in America; the Assemblies of G-d and the Mormon Church grow even faster. But mainline Protestant denominations, which spend much effort ordaining gay bishops or urging disinvestment in Israel, lose members.

Around the world we see continuing secularism in Europe but healthy competition among faiths elsewhere. In Latin America, the competitors are Catholicism (even though shorn of liberation theology by John Paul II) and evangelical Protestantism. In Africa, competitors are Catholicism, Protestantism, and Islam. In East Asia, Christianity has grown in Korea and, underground, in China. In South Asia, the competition for 500 years has been between Hinduism and Islam.

Who inherits the future? In free societies each generation makes its own religious choices, but people tend to follow the faith of their parents. Secular Europe, with below-replacement birthrates among non-Muslims, could be headed for a Muslim future, as historian Niall Ferguson suggests. In the United States, as pointed out by Phillip Longman in The Empty Cradle and Ben Wattenberg in Fewer, birthrates are above replacement level largely because of immigrants. But, as Longman notes, religious people have more children than seculars. Those who believe in "family values" are more likely to have families.

This doesn't mean we're headed toward a theocracy: America is too diverse and freedom loving for that. But it does mean that we're probably not headed to the predominantly secular society that liberals predicted half a century ago and that Europe has now embraced.

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BARONE'S LATEST
Hard America, Soft America: Competition vs. Coddling and the Battle for the Nation's Future  

America is divided into two camps, according to U.S. News and World Reports writer and Fox commentator Michael Barone. No, not Red and Blue, though one suspects Barone may taint the two groups in the hues of the 2000 presidential election. Barone's divided America is one part Hard, one part Soft. Hard America is steeled by the competition and accountability of the free market, while Soft America is the product of public school and government largesse. Inspired by the notion that America produces incompetent 18 year olds and remarkably competent 30 year olds, Barone embarks on a breezy 162-page commentary that will spark mostly huzzahs from the right and jeers from the left. Sales help fund JWR.

JWR contributor Michael Barone is a columnist at U.S. News & World Report. Comment by clicking here.




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