Thursday, October 20, 2011

Links: Thinking Through Religious Critique in America

Doctoral life comes as advertised: time does not merely evaporate, it is consumed, stolen before it even seems to appear. Thus the serious lack of substantive content around these parts lately.

And for the immediate future, as I only have a few worthwhile links to pass along at the moment. I've been reflecting on the hubbub surrounding the question of Mitt Romney's being a Mormon and running for national office, prompted recently by a conservative Dallas politicopastor publicly labeling the Church of Latter Day Saints a "cult." (And so, of course, unfit for the Presidency -- because here in these United States, Christians only allowed on top!)

Three bits worth reading in this case. First, William Saletan's article on Slate claiming that anti-Mormonism is today's acceptable prejudice, akin to (in the past) racism and heterosexism. ("Overblown" and "uncomprehending" are two words that come to mind.) Second, Christopher Hitchens' article on Slate a week later on the (supposed) evils of Mormonism, and (so implicitly as well as explicitly) on the normative openness of inter- and extra-religious critique in any public situation, and especially in a political one such as this. Third and finally, Adam Kotsko's impassioned post on the whole question of inter-religious critique in America and the ways in which (the religion of) secularism disallows it in principle.

Good stuff all around, and certainly better (or at least more) reading than you'll find here these days. Enjoy.


  1. The neo-evangelicals insist secularism has resulted in "more damage" than have religious based societies (and he seems to include all Abrahamic faiths) So prove it. While we might agree secularism does result in damage (say the bolsheviks treatment of the orthodox)--any sort of empirical assessment would be rather difficult if not impossible. In America the Founders such as Jeff. may have been secularist, but the vast majority of citizens weren't. Ie the average southerner was a biblethumper, even in Jefferson's day. Jefferson had issues but not personally responsible for slavery. And speaking of evil, check the real history of the LDS in the 19th century, Brigham Young's comments on blacks, jews, natives,etc. Hitchens is not PC of course but ...he's not just a simpleton.

    Many religious writers around blogland seem to the Dawkins and Harris sorts are like Hitlers-in-potential. It's really alarmist rather than reasonable. While one can understand some opposition to the likes of Dawkins, et al it's hardly evident that Kotzko-like xtian leftists or a little calvinist such as Ben Myers has some great moral vision superior to...secular rational views (say Rawls, or the US-Con itself). Just chanting Hegel doesn't really suffice (who supported the French Rev. anyway) What they have is..."keepin' the byatch runnin" (ie Christendom). A lot of shekels depend on that.

  2. cont..... Taylor's a pseudo-philosopher, anyway. He's making quasi-Hegelian-historical generalizations (wasn't it Adorno who started the anti-"Auefklarung" chants). Not really "philosophical," anymore than the brainfarts on Kotzko's site or lil Ben Myers the Kalvinist site is philosophical. So f-ing pathetic. Maybe go back to like Kierkegaard--at least a talented theo-con man.