Thursday, July 07, 2005

In the beginning was America, and America was with God, and America was God...

There has been a thoughtful ongoing discussion in Comments (so deep in this blog that I have a hard time keeping up with it) as to what sort of religious faith, if any, is compatible with scientific skepticism. Can atheists, agnostics, pantheists, panentheists, and, yes, even theists find common ground for wonder, celebration, contemplation, love of neighbor, and ethical action? The discussion so far provides an encouraging affirmative.

Why then are so many of us anxious about what is happening in America today? What disturbs us, I think, is not any particular manifestation of religiosity, but the alliance of religion and politics, the conflation of American values with one self-annointed brand of dogmatic Christianity, the marriage of convenience of neo-con politicians and televangelists and megachurch preachers, a sociology of saved and damned, an apocalyptic world view that believes saving souls "for Christ" is more important than saving lives, and the highjacking of secular public education in the name of a faith-based retreat from empirical science.

In this regard you may be interested in David James Duncan's take on "What Fundamentalists Need for Their Salvation" in the current issue of Orion.