The current national discourse has brought faith and its relationship to public policy to the forefront of our daily news. Since 1999, the Ethics and Public Policy Center, through the generosity of the Pew Charitable Trusts, has hosted six conferences for national journalists to help raise the level of their reporting by increasing their understanding of religion, religious communities, and the religious convictions that inform the political activity of devout believers. This book contains the presentations and conversations that grew out of those conferences.
This timely and important book presents a series of conversations steeped in a diversity of viewpoints about the nature, role, and impact of religiously grounded moral arguments. Among the many scholars and journalists who contributed to this book are: Samuel Huntington, noting the four major changes in global politics over the last decade; Bruce Hoffman, suggesting that terrorism is increasingly associated with religion but that this is not a new phenomenon; Jeffrey Goldberg, warning against underestimating the power of belief in explaining the actions of someone like Osama bin Laden; Roy Mottahedeh and Jay Tolson, presenting an overview of Islamic theology and history; Christopher Hitchens, William Galston, and George Weigel, debating the run-up to the war in Iraq; James Turner Johnson’s overview of the history and content of classical just war theory in contrast to the concept of jihad in Islam; Gilles Kepel, contemplating whether radical Islamists are gaining strength or are on the wane; Philip Jenkins, considering the worldwide demographics of two billion Christians; and David Brooks, countering that Pentecostalism is the most successful ideational movement of the present.