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Publisher Description

With the historical triumph of modernity in the West, who could have possibly foreseen the tsunami-like resurgence of religion as a force in the political life of our times? Radical jihadists are breaching the wall separating church and state with unimaginable barbarism. Even in the United States, the formidable political power of conservative evangelical Christians has liberals scrambling to assure voters that they, too, are born again. Yet this breach is also producing a backlash. All those of good will denounce the despicable actions of the "new totalitarians;" surprisingly, however, even evangelicals are now denounced from a more tolerant Christian perspective as "American fascists." (1) And a growing number of readers are drawn to the works of the "new atheists," including Christopher Hitchens, until recently Orwell's champion and author of God Is Not Great. Although Hitchens recently proclaimed Orwell's irrelevance for our time, that judgment stands premature. Orwell continues to matter today, for he condemned not only totalitarianism but all forms of absolutism, all those "smelly little orthodoxies," both secular and religious, that close men's minds. (2) Orwell came to understand that the totalitarian monster of his time emerged from the abyss created by a profound spiritual crisis of the West. Humankind needed religion as a moral compass capable of guiding ethical behavior in the world. Moreover, only religion could furnish nothing less than a sense of meaning to life as well as death. At its best, Orwell recognized, the sacred sphere of religion therefore offered indispensable guidance to a life worth living. It alone provided a worthy ideal capable of fostering social unity, moral virtue, and sacrifice on behalf of a transcendent good beyond mere self-interest and materialism.

Professional & Technical
June 22
Forum on Public Policy
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.

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