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Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics
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Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  115 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Abortion. Homosexuality. Environmentalism. Evolution. Conservative positions on these topics are the current boundaries of mainstream Evangelical Christianity. But what if the theological arguments given by popular leaders on these “big four” were not quite as clear cut as they claim?

     Growing up as an evangelical Christian, Jonathan Dudley was taught that faith was de
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by Crown (first published January 1st 2011)
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Terradon The Bible isn't about how people are perfect and doing dumb things is how you become perfect. It's about how people aren't perfect, about how they do …moreThe Bible isn't about how people are perfect and doing dumb things is how you become perfect. It's about how people aren't perfect, about how they do dumb things and how they can remove their obstacles to love in order to become a better person. The Bible isn't perfect, it is written by men, and if anything it's a very good literary piece showing of how our humanity has grown and changed since it was first written. It doesn't serve us to hurt ourselves since the bible is about archetypal humanity. And we all have an Abraham, a Moses, a Jesus, etc inside of us. Not being abusive to our psyche is what will heal us... a child was never beat into creativity, and our psyche will never become better than it is if we flog it just a little harder. (less)
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Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Intentional Ignorance and Its Purpose

Where do these neo-Evangelicals come from? Seriously. Are they spawned from some isolated gene pool? Have they been secretly indoctrinated in an arcane philosophy invented by a lost order of medieval clerics? Do they not have access to modern forms of communication like radios, newspapers, and... well novels, which allow them to see just how silly they are? Didn’t they all disappear after the Scopes Monkey Trial and the demise of William Jennings Bryan?

Bill Kerwin
Mar 14, 2012 rated it really liked it

This critique of Evangelical Christianity's rightward shift succeeds because it is reasonable and balanced, and it is both reasonable and balanced because its author is not only a man of science but also a man of faith. Dudley grew up in an evangelical household, majored in biology at an Evangelical college, earned an MA at the Yale divinity school, and is at present pursuing a degree in Medicine from Johns Hopkins. This resume reflects his attitude: he has sympathy with the Evangelical point of
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
I first wrote about Jonathan Dudley in early November of last year, noting a piece he wrote on CNN's religion blog about the evolution of the Evangelical position on abortion. Dudley contacted me and sent me a copy of his book to review, and here, at long last, is my first, but definitely not last comment on this amazing book.

I am a Humanist and an atheist. I know a lot about religion, but I am no scholar of Evangelical history and theology. Dudley is, and he writes a very clear history of the w
Adam Ross
A solid work exposing the way in which evangelicals routinely employ and fall for pseudo-scientific and historical claims. Discussion of cultural issues is impractical as well as impossible when one side of the conversation refuses to acknowledge and deal with reality. Dudley explores how evangelicals misuse science with regards to abortion, homosexuality, and evolution, among other things, and does so with verve and compassion, though he is not afraid to be firm when he must be.
Rick Edwards
Oct 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Dudley has done an amazing job of showing the errors in religious conservative views on abortion, evolution, global warming, and homosexuality. Among other nuggets in this book are his demonstration of how the evangelical conservatives have reversed not only mainstream Christian tradition in their attitudes towards science, but also the views of their own historical antecedents. Another is his demonstration of the double-think with regard to approaches to scripture and approaches to science. For ...more
Jul 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion, society
I really appreciate this book. The author grew up evangelical, studied biology at an evangelical college, then completed divinity school at Yale. He's now attending med school in the field of bioethics. So he's got an insider's view on the evangelical perspective, a fair exposure to non-evangelical Christianity via Yale, and the scientific and bioethics perspective to really handle these issues (abortion, gay marriage, environmentalism, and evolution)well.

His perspective is clear and well-expres
Melissa Acuna
Apr 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A well-reasoned, well-written look at the four cornerstones of the Religious Right's political and social agenda: Evolution, Climate Change, Homosexuality, and Abortion.

Jonathan Dudley examines and explains (and mostly refutes) the Biblical justification for these positions.
Dave Whitaker
Jul 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very interesting and enlightening book on the Evangelical movement's interpretation of the bible. It should be required reading for everyone.
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Can't recommend this highly enough, especially to anyone who gives a hoot about current affairs.
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As someone who grew up in an evangelical environment and eventually grew out of the fundamentalist part, I highly recommend this book. In fact, I am sharing this to recommend it to all ICS people, alumni, teachers, etc. Also highly recommended for people who want to understand why evangelicals are where they are today on certain positions.

This book is a thorough exploration of 4 topics or litmus tests (1. Abortion 2. Homosexuality 3. Environmentalism and 4. Evolution and Science.) that have come
My husband encountered this book somewhere along the way and purchased it for our Kindle. He will be teaching a class on Christianity and science this summer and thought it might be useful. He found Dudley's book well written, clear and fascinating. So he recommended it to me.

I am so glad that I read this. I have always accepted the evangelical, fundamentalist churches as monoliths. They are the way they are; they have always been the way they are and they will never change. Dudley corrects my e
Paul Froehlich
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When Americans are polled about their religious beliefs, the fastest growing group since the 1990s has been the “nones” who say they do not identify with any particular faith. Young adults are the most likely to reject organized religion, though most say they believe in God. This group tells pollsters they are turned off by conservative Christians whom they find judgmental, particularly when it comes to homosexuality and abortion. Evangelicals also lose credibility by denying evolution and clima ...more
Tracy Dobbs
Jan 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was reviewed on a website I visit. It sounded like an interesting look into the Evangelical culture and how it has changed so remarkably in the last 50 or so years. The author is/was himself an Evangelical and he maintains a rather balanced view as a result.

I'm glad I read it, I gained a bit of insight. I was raised as a more mainstream Protestant, so I didn't get all this growing up. However, as a teenager in the 80's, I remember the rise of the "Religious" right. Even as teen, their
Nov 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Who would have a better idea about the views of certain religious sectors than someone who has experienced them? This author has a good balance of what applies as a religious aspect and what is more cultural or should be addressed with science in mind. This author heavily promotes science and logical thought, the reader will likely find his arguments engaging and interesting. The reader will likely admit his arguments contain merit.

Can political forces manipulate religion in their favor? Of cou
Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
What I really enjoyed about this book was how the author was able to discuss how Christians on both sides of the political aisle are guilty of picking and choosing verses that confirm their worldview without coming across like a smarmy jerk. He plainly and matter-of-factly details how the conservative side justifies their bigotry by cherry-picking Bible verses but also how liberal Christians cry "we're not all like that" and make claims such as God being pro-green. It probably doesn't hurt that ...more
Steve Palm-houser
Apr 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A growing number of Christian evangelicals are working alongside religious liberals on progressive initiatives, such as immigration reform, antipoverty work, and environmental justice. Some are even beginning to “think outside the box” about the four most highly-charged political issues for evangelicals: abortion, gay marriage, environmentalism, and evolutionary science. Jonathan Dudley's new book Broken Words gives some much-needed biblical and historical context to these questions. Read more ...more
A very interesting look at the decline of the Evangelical mind, and an explanation of the Fundamentalist world view. He breaks down the flaws of "creation science" and also pushes back, lightly, against those who insist that modern science and faith are irreconcilable. Mostly, it stands as an attempt to correct many of the misconceptions in the larger culture about Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism. My one quibble is that Dudley doesn't do more to draw a distinction between Evangelicalism and Fu ...more
Jul 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: from-the-library
Still in the process of reviewing and digesting the information in this book. When I get it all sluiced into a coherent thought I'll write a more complex review.

I do however wish a bit more examination on the topic of homosexuality would have happened. Brief touch on the points and counterpoints without much depth.
Jan 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Jonathan Dudley's book is a defense of his rejection of the majority evangelical position on four heated social issues: abortion, homosexuality, environmentalism, and evolution. The arguments are placed in an autobiographical framework which takes him through the evangelical Calvin College to the mainline Yale Divinity School and into Johns Hopkins Medical School.

I came to this book quite skeptical, given Dudley's relative youth and lack of scholarly credentials. I was also dubious that he woul
Allizabeth Collins
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Science. Faith. Politics. Three universal concepts with a compendium of diverse denominational meanings - but that does not mean that viewpoints within these topics do not overlap. Why do some Christians believe abortion, homosexuality and evolution are against God's commandments and teachings, while others are taught to accept these practices and ideas? Why does there have to be a right or wrong? Author Jonathan Dudley exposes and explains the misinterpretations and misuses of thes
Aug 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Johnathan Dudley grew up heavily immersed in the neo-Evangelical movement. This book is about his subsequent disenchantment with it and a prescription for revival. With the changes in the social landscape, most recently shown by the just completed election, Dudley outlines his case that the the four pillars of the neo-Evangelical movement, anti-abortion, anti-homosexual, anti-environmental, and anti-evolution are built on shaky foundations (and are new to the evangelical movement in the latter h ...more
Jan 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
An uneven read...

First 1/3 of the book was spectacular.

Middle section on the history of evangelical evolution/creation beliefs was too involved. I got the point and did not care much about the details.

Final section of book was again strong.

Also, -1/2 star because I hate young people who are way smarter than me.
Jun 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the first part about the church's history of its abortion stance. The rest of the book just got too heavy for me. I'm not a huge fan of apologetics. I think the author maybe tried to cover too much material in one book.
Roger Clement
Apr 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Amazingly well-researched and well-argued indictment of evangelical Christian political activism. The best book I've ever read at the intersection of science, faith, and politics.
Roger Clement
Apr 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Trenchant, well-researched indictment of evangelical Christian political activism.
Rick Edwards
I would like to know why my copy of this book has a different title, and its copyright page makes no mention of the title as listed in Goodreads.
Tiffany Gathers
Jun 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It went into details I did not know about. My only wish was that it touched on more issues, but these are the biggest issues affecting American Christian churches.
Lori Keen
Aug 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Just bought (downloaded) today. looking forward to reading.
Andy Zell
Oct 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics by Jonathan Dudley is a careful critique of evangelicalism by someone who grew up in that world. It reads as a succinct summary of my own changes in thinking on these topics. Dudley’s book can be summarized well with two quotes. First, his thesis: “Evangelicalism has defined itself by weakly supported boundary markers, which are justified by a flawed understanding of biblical interpretation and maintained by suppressing those who ...more
Maggie Boyd
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Abortion, homosexuality, creationism, environmentalism are the four cornerstones of right wing Christian politics. Tackling the history of these issues, Dudley shows that the wedding of the Evangelical movement to the Republican party has had a more profound effect on our religion than it has on our politics.

For someone interested in the subject, this is a good starting point primarily because it shows that Evangelical Christians have undergone a sizable change since determining that Christians
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