Getting It Wrong

Ophelia Benson

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The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures, by Nicholas Wade (New York: Penguin, 2009, ISBN 978-1-59420-228-5) 310 pp. Cloth $29.95.


Recently, Pope Benedict XVI told his followers and other Christians, “While we are on the path towards full communion, we are called to offer a shared witness against the ever more complex challenges of our time, including secularization and indifference.” The struggle against “secularization,” and the perception and characterization of it as a bad thing on a par with indifference or worse, have been at the forefront of the concerns of the current papacy. There is a similar note of hostility to secularism in Nicholas Wade’s book, The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures, as in this rather tendentious question: “If religion still has many valuable roles to play, how might religious leaders protect its foundations from erosion by the rising tides of secularism?” (p. 278).

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