Examines the human response to existential threats--once a matter for theology, but now looming before us in multiple forms. Nuclear weapons, pandemics, global warming: each threatens to destroy the planet, or at least to annihilate our species. Freud, Wuthnow notes, famously taught that the standard psychological response to an overwhelming danger is denial. In fact, Wuthnow argues, the opposite is true: we seek ways of positively meeting the threat, of doing something--anything--even if it's wasteful and time-consuming. It would be one thing if our responses were merely pointless, Wuthnow observes, but they can actually be harmful.--From publisher description.