Jonathan Rée at The Guardian:
Throughout the 20th century it went from strength to strength, as churches lost their congregations and theology was put to flight by natural science. But then there was 9/11 and everything changed. Traditional churchgoing may have continued its long decline, while the strident scepticism of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens still struck a chord with the book-buying classes, but, in the rest of the world, religion was rousing itself from a long slumber. Wild forms of worship – Christian, Islamic or other – have now taken hold of the poor and the oppressed. Religious faith has gone viral.
Or so it seems to Eagleton, and he thinks we should have seen it coming. He is a celebrated practitioner of wide-ranging intellectual commentary, with bestselling books to his credit and acres of polemical journalism. He always seems to have read all the philosophers and theorists that the rest of us find too fearsome, and he has a knack for fitting them neatly into place by means of a well-turned epigram or an alliterative turn of phrase. His prose is alive with dichotomies, insults and laugh-aloud jokes, and at the end we are invariably invited to savour the “irony” as the masterminds are shown losing their mojo as the truth slips out of their grasp. In Culture and the Death of God he deploys all his formidable skills to explain how the high hopes of many generations of secular materialists collapsed along with the twin towers.