Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Mix

5 Comments:

Blogger Jonathan said...

I agree that that's what fundamentalism looks like to "a lot of people". But most fundamentalists aren't actually like that, and most Americans don't view them like that. I would think that I've been exposed to quite a lot of fundamentalism (and I've had many
Christian home-schooled or Chirstian-schooled friends) yet I'd never heard of a single one of the speakers that he quoted at length, and I've never heard a single Christian talk about Stonewall Jackson the way he did.

By the way, this is the third article I've read by that author, and as far as I can tell he writes nothing but straight hit pieces on Christians. I'm apparently not as familiar with this part of Christian culture as I was with what he profiled in the other two articles, but he uses some of the more biased and misleading "journalism" I've ever seen to attack people of religious faith. Read his piece on young Christians who think pre-marital sex is not for them for starters. I've known several hundred people who fit that description, and somehow I've never met a single one who remotely resembled the people in his story.

12:37 AM  
Blogger Wordcat said...

Sure, it's a very biased piece, but I think it's good to see how many non-religious people view things.

I actually thought he had some good things to say about fundamentalism in the piece--I think one of his primary points is that fundamentalism is much closer to the spirit of post-modernism and the "spirit of the age" than is classical enlightenment liberalism.

Basically, fundamentalists understand 'its the meaning, stupid' (to paraphrase Bill Clinton) and are willing to aggressively create their own myths of history to suit their purposes. That's pure pomo in my mind--when he says the fundies (maxies?) are swimming with the tide of history I think he makes an important point, which I thought was his main concern in the article. He's obviously appalled by the 'meaning' the fundamentalists are generating, but I thought that was secondary to the article. And to be honest, I'm pretty appalled by the fundy 'meaning' project myself--it seems to me to be a straightforwardly idolatrous mixture of elements of Christian faith and American civil religion. Secular liberals have their own versions of American civil religion too, but at least they don't claim divine status for them.

I know quite a few people who fit his description. We live right next door to an otherwise wonderful young couple who have become our friends. They moved in about a year ago from Virginia. Both are architects though Kathy now stays home with the kids. I love 'em--sweet, sweet people. But when we get onto religion and culture, wow, it's scary stuff--fundamentalist conservatism of the most extreme kind with many of the kinds of fantastical mytho-historical takes the article gets into. And these are educated people. They are, of course, home schooling. I worry a lot about what Rachel and Aaron, their kiddos, are learning about the conflation of Americanism and Christianity.

Folks like you and I--west coast guys who spent a lot of our time in university settings--don't normally run across the more intense versions of fundamentalism. But I think in the midwest, and particularly in the south, you tend to get a more full on approach. American fundamentalism is basically a southern cultural reality that's morphed into some regional variations and I think the west coast version is the least potent.

I haven't read anything else by this guy so I'll have to check it out.

11:18 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

I agree with what you said. I've had some experience with Christians in the midwest, but they tend to be Lutherens so there's a big difference there.

I do, however, know a couple Christian home-schooled fundamentalists from Iowa, and they were nothing like what he profiled. They were very well-educated too though, so maybe they were unusual. The other Christian-schooled kids I know were predominantly West coast as well.

Here are the two articles I've read. I'm sure you'll love the second one. :) I've heard he's also written one on young Fundamentalists, an attack on a Christian movement within D.C. government, and an attack on Senator Brownback.

http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/7418688/the_young__the_sexless

http://www.harpers.org/SoldiersOfChrist-20061103288348488.html

1:34 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:35 PM  
Blogger 3wishes said...

I had hope for this country until I read the Rolling Stone article!! I do believe now, that up is down and in is really out. Has generation x y and z lost their everloving minds? Well anyway, thanks for the link. At least now, if I meet someone with a black band on his wrist, I will know to take 10 steps back and never look back.....freaks

4:47 PM  

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