Friday, July 24, 2009

God Is Back

Three New Books About God

A few years ago books by atheists were popular but tonight God is Back at least that is the title of tonight's program on To the Best of Our Knowledge from Wisconsin Public Radio, broadcast locally on Seattle's NPR station KUOW and also available as a podcast. Through interviews with the creators of three new books and a documentary film, God, morality and the religious instinct are the evidence of God's return to the contemporary bookshelf.

NPR religion reporter Barbara Bradley Hagerty wrote the book, Fingerprints of God: The Search for the Science of Spirituality about her own spiritual exploration of religious experience through the eyes of science. Could spiritual experience be explained by brain chemistry? While her discoveries remain inconclusive, through her interviews with mystics, scientists and people who have experienced mystical and near death experiences she finds that science may conflict with divine intervention but could reasonably support the presence of an infinite intelligence.

In God is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith is Changing the World by Adrian Wooldridge and John Micklethwait, Wooldridge tells about finding burgeoning religious movements in a variety of contexts. For example how in China, Christianity is growing among young professional scientists who after years of religious suppression equate fundamental Christianity with success and modernism.

A Documentary Film

Film-maker Gini Reticker’s documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell records how a group of Christian and Muslim women overcame their distrust of each other to use prayer, singing and non-violent direct action to bring an end to the brutal civil war in Liberia, end the reign of the vicious dictator Charles Taylor and elect Africa’s first female president.

Finally, Robert Wright talks about his new book The Evolution of God describing the political context of the rise of monotheism. According to Wright monotheism was born of the politics of desperation, humiliation and a desire for retribution. Monotheism redeems itself through its movement toward moral truth but can still be seen to retain intolerance in the insecure.

Interview with Robert Wright
CD copies of the program are available at 1-800-747-7444.
Ask for program number 09-07-19-A. Show Title: God is Back