Is the rise of global Pentecostalism beneficial to America’s interest? Walter Russel Mead thinks it may be:
Christianity is not only the worlds largest and fastest-growing faith. Christianity is also the worlds most pro-American faith. Not all Christians like American values and American ideas; from Pope Pius IX to Dietrich Bonhoeffer modern European religious history is filled with Christian thinkers and writers who have been almost as horrified and appalled by American-style capitalism and society as Sayyid Qutb. Yet during the Cold War and again today in the struggle against the Force That Must Not Be Named overwhelming numbers of Christians worldwide, and especially in the developing countries, instinctively sided with the United States and saw us as the good guys.
And the fastest growing force within global Christianity is the most pro-American group within it: the global Pentecostal movement has grown from zero to something like half a billion members in the last 100 years. This is the fastest growth in percentage terms for any religious movement in world history, and in Africa, Asia and Latin America the growth continues today.
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Christianity does not make people pro-American, but Christian faith gives people a perspective on life that is often congruent with American beliefs and ideals (if not always concrete American actions). For Pentecostals in many developing countries, America and its friends are seen as good guys upholding freedom of religion (including the freedom to share your religion with your neighbors) and promoting economic development. The radical terrorists and their various nasty allies are seen as murdering thugs who persecute Christian believers and fight the spread of Gods truth.