Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics
The major heresies Douthat describes as having taken over American Christianity are these: first, the Dan Brown school of Gnostic Christianity, an outgrowth of the new historical approaches and new apochryphal ...more
This book is sort of a history and critique of Christianity as practiced by Americans especially in the last seventy or so years. His critique is that we are a nation of heret ...more
For example, he talks more about Glenn Beck than Mormonism itself, wh ...more
Then it all falls apart with the last chapter. After such a good roll out of Christian ideals/ideas and a pretty good deconstruct of several of the "gimme min ...more
The four chapters of Part II were the most helpful. Although I thought the first two chapters of Part I were also good, I had trouble with much of what he said in the fourth chapter and especially in the third chapter. For example, I think he was not fair or accurate in his depiction of Harvey Cox.
In particular, I thought his emph ...more
In Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics , Ross Douthat proposes that the religious predicament America is facing today is not one of too much religion or too little religion; but rather, he provocatively argues, we are facing the problem of bad religion, of being a nation of heretics:
"America's problem isn't too much religion, or too little of it. It's bad religion: the slow-motion collapse of traditional Christianity and the rise of a variety of destructive pseudo-Christianities i...more
Douthat's analysis of the decline and fall of Christian orthodoxy in the United States is detailed, accessible and even funny sometimes. He concentrates on several of the more common heresies within Christendom: the prosperity gospel, the God-within Gospel, and the nationalist Gospel.
In many ways, his treatment of the last heresy - nationalism - is the best. Douthat splits this heresy into two parts: a me ...more
Douthat begins with the last moment of full strength of Christianity in America immediately after WWII. He then chronicles the two types of responses to the events of the past 60 years: accommodation and resistance. He does well at showing ...more
In the first half of this book, Douthat sets the stage in which to evaluate our present heresies.
After a rise in religious influence in the first half of the 20th century through representatives like Reinhold Nie ...more
Douthat's premise is that we've fallen off th ...more
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. If you care about religious life in America — or if you hate religion, siding with the New Atheists — you must read this broad, deep study of Christianity in the United States since World War II. Throughout, Douthat, a practicing Catholic, maintains a striking balance while discuss four main strains of Christian practice in America: Catholicism, Mainline Protestantism, Evangelicalism, and the African-American churches.
The story begins with a Christian ...more
Ross Douthat is very perceptive in identifying these different “spirits of the age” throughout American history, and the heresies that sprang up to meet them. From liberal accomodationism and fundamentalist separatism, God as cosmic ATM and divine therapist, to Nationalism (the confusion of Christianity with Americanism, ei ...more
One of the great accomplishments of the book is his articulation about how American Christianity has lost a great deal of its authority and attract ...more
God is within you - speaking to you through your every impulse. Do what feels good, and it is good.
God smiles favorably on the American nation. He wants democracy - a new gospel - spread over the globe by any means necessary. Oh, and he's okay with torture.
Those are a few of the ridiculous - yet immensely popular - modern American Christian "heresies" Ross Dou ...more
He argues that a spiritual recovery might be made if Christianity is (1) political without being partisan, which ignores the fact that Jesu ...more
I don't give out five stars easily, but this book deserves it. I feel like I have a good understanding of my own faith, and I have for a long time had an inklin ...more