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Friday Five: The Generation of ‘Meh’

On Fridays we bring you the week’s best from around the web. This week’s collection includes commentary on the state of American intellectual life, a report on the geographical divide of family structure in the U.S., and more.

From ‘Meh’ to ‘Amen’” by Molly Oshatz, First Things

Higher purpose? Eternal joy? Meh. It appears that for increasing numbers of young adults, religion, and Christianity in particular, might no longer be a live option. […] [William James], in his 1897 essay “The Will To Believe,” explained why, even in an age of doubt, Christianity remained a real, active option, that is, as he defined it, the subject of a live, forced, and momentous decision. Live, because deciding for or against it was obviously relevant and important; forced, because one either accepted Christianity or refused it—there was no getting out of the decision; and momentous, because, on the chance that God does exist, the decision would have eternal ramifications.

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The Thrill of Political Hatingby Arthur Brooks, The New York Times

The 2016 presidential race is already upon us. Do you find that prospect exciting or exhausting? If you chose the latter, I’m willing to wager it’s in part because of the destructive rhetoric that threatens to accompany the election. At least half of American adults felt that the last presidential campaign was too negative.

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The North-South Divide on Two-Parent Families by David Leonhardt, The New York Times

When it comes to family arrangements, the United States has a North-South divide. Children growing up across much of the northern part of the country are much more likely to grow up with two parents than children across the South.

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Africa’s Neither ‘Rising’ Nor ‘Falling’ But It Is Growing—Fastby GE, Quartz (infographic)

Africa is vast. It is varied. When it comes to the region’s development, a host of differing narratives shape the story around its economic progress.

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The State of the American Mind: Anti-Intellectualism in America More Than 25 Years After Allan Bloom: In a discussion at AEI on Thursday, panelists commented on the deteriorating intellectual habits of Americans almost 30 years after the release of Allan Bloom’s book “The Closing of the American Mind.”