What I’m Reading Right Now: Bad Religion by Ross Douthat

What I’m Reading Right Now: Bad Religion by Ross Douthat

In the past, it had been my conviction that orthodox historic Christian faith was somehow the glue that held the diversity of America together and critiqued the fringe ideas that were damaging or dangerous. I no longer believe this.

Christianity has been either compromised by accommodation or gone haywire in many heretical directions (wealth gospel, power theology, self-help guru religion, etc.). The presence of a biblically grounded theological middle is disappearing faster than the icebergs. No one states this case better (in my opinion) than Ross Douthat in Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics.

Let me give you a sample:

The future of American religion depends on believers who can demonstrate, in word and deed alike, that the possibilities of the Christian life are not exhausted by TV preachers and self-help gurus, utopians, and demagogues. It depends on public examples of holiness, and public demonstrations of what the imitation of Christ can mean for a fallen world. We are waiting, not for another political savior or television personality, but for a St. Dominic or a St. Francis, an Ignatius or a Wesley, a Wilberforce or a Newman, a Bonhoeffer or a Solzhenitsyn. Only sanctity can justify Christianity’s existence; only sanctity can make the case for faith; only sanctity, or the hope thereof, can ultimately redeem the world”(p. 292, Bad Religion by Ross Douthat).

I see this lack in the political debates of presidential contenders. I see it in the way that the Christian narrative of human sexuality is attacked. I see it in the demise of the local congregation. I see it in the arts.

Am I pessimistic? No. In my lifetime, there has never been a more opportune moment for Christ-likeness, sanctity, and holiness to be the way we bear witness in the world. The generation of students I encounter at Trevecca has the chance to be that witness. I am investing deeply in them, hoping that the Christian voice will once again find its way to the table of discussion about things that matter.


  1. Lee Woolery says

    Thank you for this, Dan! It’s so timely. It has been very distressing to see the politicizing of “conservative Christians” or “evangelicals” that is part of the current political discourse. One has to wonder what an increasingly skeptical culture must think about Christianity when it is being used as a political tool…and some in those camps are willing participants in the abuse! Great quote from Douthat…and so true! Greatly appreciate the investment you and Denise are making in Trevecca students and the direction you are leading the university.

  2. Pam McGraner says

    As a mother of a Trevecca student, I’m continually thankful for the education my daughter is receiving – not just academically, but spiritually and in living for The Lord. You, Dr. Boone and all of the wonderful faculty & staff invest daily in the lives of the students at TNU. I’m grateful for your love for them, your commitment to them and for the blessings bestowed on them.

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