Wednesday, May 20, 2009

NY Times Op-Ed on American Religon and Dan Brown

I read this article this morning by Russ Douthat in the NY times (thanks to a recommendation from Justin Taylor), and found it incredibly insightful about the cultural dynamics at work in the popularity of Dan Brown and his novels. Here's a good quote:

"The polls that show more Americans abandoning organized religion don’t suggest a dramatic uptick in atheism: They reveal the growth of do-it-yourself spirituality, with traditional religion’s dogmas and moral requirements shorn away. The same trend is at work within organized faiths as well, where both liberal and conservative believers often encounter a God who’s too busy validating their particular version of the American Dream to raise a peep about, say, how much money they’re making or how many times they’ve been married."

And another:

"In the Brownian worldview, all religions — even Roman Catholicism — have the potential to be wonderful, so long as we can get over the idea that any one of them might be particularly true. It’s a message perfectly tailored for 21st-century America, where the most important religious trend is neither swelling unbelief nor rising fundamentalism, but the emergence of a generalized “religiousness” detached from the claims of any specific faith tradition."


beckers said...

interesting. how do you come across these things?

Jonathan said...

Colby... I can't believe that they are playing your song at work right now... Total Eclipse of the Heart... I think of you everytime i hear it... turn around bright eyes!