Religion Matters, Says David Brooks
David Brooks outlines recovery from secularism for Atlantic readers
"It's now clear that the secularization theory is untrue," David Brooks writes in a must-read piece for The Atlantic Monthly.
The human race does not necessarily get less religious as it grows richer and better educated. We are living through one of the great periods of scientific progress and the creation of wealth. At the same time, we are in the midst of a religious boom. … Moreover, it is the denominations that refuse to adapt to secularism that are growing the fastest, while those that try to be "modern" and "relevant" are withering. … Secularism is not the future; it is yesterday's incorrect vision of the future. This realization sends us recovering secularists to the bookstore or the library in a desperate attempt to figure out what is going on in the world.
With this in mind, Brooks outlines a six-step recovery process for secularists (apparently it's easier to recover from secularism than from alcoholism. Secularists don't do well with the whole "coming to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity" part anyway.)
First, Brooks writes, "You have to accept the fact that you are not the norm." Rather than researchers and academics trying to figure out why folks are so religious, "religious groups should be sending out researchers to try to understand why there are pockets of people in the world who do not feel the constant presence of God in their lives, who do not fill their days with rituals and prayers and garments that bring them into contact with the divine, and who do not believe that God's will should shape their public lives."
Step two is confronting fear—the fear of rampant religious conflict. It's a truly possible ...