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Evangelization and Ideology

Evangelization and Ideology

How to Understand and Respond to the Political Culture

by Matthew Petrusek

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Secular political ideologies attempt to provide a total view of reality without reference to the transcendent. Yet all of them are, at heart, forms of idolatry, commanding their adherents to structure their lives around temporary and finite goods, which leads them to worship the false gods of pleasure, self, tribe, or fortune. In time, these diverse idols produce the same outcome: individual and social turmoil.

In Evangelization and Ideology: How to Understand and Respond to the Political Culture, Matthew R. Petrusek offers an antidote to ideological thinking: the principles of Catholic social thought. Analyzing the philosophical foundations of the four reigning secular ideologies of our day—utilitarianism, classical liberalism/ libertarianism, progressivism/wokeism, and non-theistic conservatism—Petrusek shows how Catholic teaching, while respecting the genuine concerns of these worldviews, responds to their errors and deficiencies by providing a more rational and moral alternative.

For many, the best way forward for the Church is steering clear of the sociopolitical arena altogether. But there is hope: our hyper-politicized society is an opportunity for evangelization rather than an obstacle. Evangelization and Ideology offers readers an understanding of the roots of our broken political culture and a map for redirecting it back to the transcendent God and the authentic human good.

More Info

Publisher: Word on Fire
ISBN: 978-1-68578-010-4
Binding: Hardcover
Page count: 480
Dimensions: 6 x 9
Language: English
Release date: Jul 17, 2023
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About the Author

Matthew R. Petrusek received an MA (Yale University) and PhD (University of Chicago) in religious ethics and is the Professor of Catholic Ethics and Assistant Director at the Word on Fire Institute. He specializes in Christian ethics and moral theology, though lectures broadly, in English and Spanish, on philosophy, theology, social issues, the new evangelization, and the Catholic intellectual tradition. In addition to serving as a Word on Fire Professor, he has written and hosted the bilingual show Reasons to Believe / Razones Para Creer at WordNet TV, co-authored Jordan Peterson, God, and Christianity: The Search for a Meaningful Life (Word on Fire Institute), co-edited Ethics and Advocacy: Bridges and Boundaries (Cascade Books) and Value and Vulnerability: Contemporary Interfaith Dialogue on Human Dignity (University of Notre Dame Press), and published in numerous academic journals. He lives with his wife and children in southern Minnesota.

What People are Saying

Evangelization and Ideology offers us invaluable assistance as we seek to fulfill the mandate entrusted to each of us in Baptism and Confirmation: to witness to the reality of the Gospel in our sadly deluded world, which too often is like a house of mirrors in which illusion seems to have triumphed over reality. The spiritually and intellectually fruitful insights of this book allow us to understand the society in which, by the providence of God, we are called and sent to witness to Christ, and they help us to communicate effectively the reality of the Good News in an environment distorted by deadly illusion.”

—Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, from the foreword

“Where the confused and fainthearted see danger, Matthew Petrusek sees opportunity. Many modern Christians have sought to stay above the increasingly tempestuous political fray, but Petrusek dives deep into our most contentious public battles to expose the ultimate incoherence that unites so many of the belligerents. In so doing, he offers an alternative that is not only edifying but sanctifying. Evangelization and Ideology is an urgent antidote to political chaos.”

—Michael J. Knowles, author and host of The Michael Knowles Show at The Daily Wire and The Book Club at PragerU 

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