Monday, February 26, 2007

Religion of despair

Chris Hedges, author of American Fascists: the Christian right and the war on America, in the New Statesman. He attributes the appeal in the United States of what he calls Evangelism to despair over economic circumstances. He cites as a typical example Jeniece Learned.
Learned's life before she was saved was, like for many in this mass movement, chaotic and painful.

and, more generally,
The stories that believers such as Learned told me of their lives before they found Christ were heartbreaking.

Then their religious conversions give them hope in place of chaos, pain and heartbreak. Here's Hedges' description of this change
they willingly walked out on this world for the mythical world offered by radical preachers: a world of magic, a world where God had a divine plan for them and intervened on a daily basis to protect them and perform miracles in their lives.

From Hedges' own description, these people have experienced significant, if not miraculous, change in their lives. Despite this, Hedges contends
The danger of this theology of despair is that it says that nothing in the world is worth saving.

Yet his own account is of people who come to believe that they themselves are saved, and begin to live responsibly. And, not unreasonably, they want to save others from the life of despair they've left behind.

1 comment:

  1. I suppose, we're always engaged in a war of some sort at any given time.

    I am more scared of the word "Diversity" than I am the word "Jesus"

    I have not read his book,but I have first hand experience with the evangelicals he writes about. One could say they are radically extreme on their views, but I don't read stories on them blowing people up. I would have to give them a two thumbs up for that alone.