cover 25 061 233x300 Touchstone Nov/Dec 2012 Article by Leon J. PodlesCatechism’s Ostracism

Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics by Ross Douthat reviewed by Leon J. Podles

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Ross Douthat has observed the decline of Christian orthodoxy in America, and his thesis in Bad Religion is simple: although the United States remains a religious nation, the religions that are flourishing are Christian heresies. Douthat uses Alister McGrath’s definition of heresy, which is “best seen as a form of Christian belief that, more by accident than design, ultimately ends up subverting, destabilizing or even destroying the core of Christian faith” (Bad Religion, 9). Douthat also largely concurs with Chesterton’s view of heretics as simplifiers who want to resolve the paradoxes and tensions of Christianity by discarding or distorting a key element in the Christian synthesis.

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