I heard for the first time in the early 80’s that American foreign policy was being influenced by the joint ideologies of religious fundamentalism and Evangelicalism. It seemed far-fetched at the time, but the idea stayed around in my mind in the ensuing decades.
Whatever doubts might have been present were dispatched by Matthew Avery Sutton’s fine history of these movements in America in his newest book, American Apocalypse.
Sutton traces the rise of these movements in America beginning in the mid-1800’s and continuing to the present. In articulate, dispassionate prose, Sutton lays the case for the powerful and concerted influence of the Religious Right as embodied by Fundamentalism and its partner Evangelicalism. Continue reading →
With all the talk about fake news these days, I’m most disturbed by the rise of fake religion.
What does it look like? It preens and struts. “Look at how religious I am,” it seems to say. It postures and poses, setting up pictures for the front page of the newspaper. It wants to make sure that you notice that it’s praying or serving or worshiping. Continue reading →
Facebook is an accurate model of what it looks like when conversation occurs without respect, curiosity, and kindness. Comments following the posting of a political or religious opinion are too often judgmental, even vulgar.
A rule of discussion often heard today is, “never discuss religion or politics.” However, there is a problem with that rule. It ends all possibility of progress. Without discussion, people cannot reach solutions to challenges and problems. Nor can they learn to understand one another. Continue reading →
“It was meant to be.”
“The Universe wanted me to….”
“I was supposed to learn something from that.”
“There are no coincidences.”
“There’s a reason for everything.”
These statements are nearly universal, and there is no pattern to them. Atheists, believers, liberals and conservatives, and people characterized as either spiritual or not use some version of these statements. Many (I would say most) believe in some form of fate, destiny, providence, or another form of external manipulative power. Continue reading →
Coming down the hill from Yosemite required downshifting in order to spare the brakes. Third gear worked the best, but it was not meant for the flat straight-aways.
But getting the shifter back into Drive required determined strength, inspiring a moment of concern about the remainder of the trip home. This was not pleasant to be discovering this at 60 miles an hour. Continue reading →
“Did you see the picture of the President praying with his council of religious leaders,” he asked. “What did you think about it?’
We were in the produce department of the grocery store. The question came immediately after ‘hello.” Not a good sign.
It was soon apparent to me that this was a loaded question, based on the presumption that I would agree with his opinion about the praying President picture. “You’re a pastor; surely you would find the picture gratifying and refreshing.” Continue reading →
Ancient Israel was politically and religiously pragmatic. The earliest description of this can be seen in the nation’s clamor for a Golden Calf to quell their fears at Mount Sinai.
Fearing that God had abandoned them, they called for Aaron to cast an idol they could see and worship. They did this In spite of the fact that the Calf was of their own making and had no existence prior to the time when they turned their jewelry into a statue. Continue reading →