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Analyzing America’s Post-Protestant Secular Religion

Joseph Bottum’s An Anxious Age is a must-read.

by
David P. Goldman

Bio

March 19, 2014 - 7:49 am

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My review of Jody Bottum’s important new book (An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America, Image Books, 2014) appeared today in The American Interest. An extract:

Joseph Bottum…examines post-Protestant secular religion with empathy, and contends that it gained force and staying power by recasting the old Mainline Protestantism in the form of catechistic worldly categories: anti-racism, anti-gender discrimination, anti-inequality, and so forth. What sustains the heirs of the now-defunct Protestant consensus, he concludes, is a sense of the sacred, but one that seeks the security of personal salvation through assuming the right stance on social and political issues. Precisely because the new secular religion permeates into the pores of everyday life, it sustains the certitude of salvation and a self-perpetuating spiritual aura. Secularism has succeeded on religious terms. That is an uncommon way of understanding the issue, and a powerful one.

*****

cross-posted from Spengler

David P. Goldman is the columnist “Spengler” for Asia Times Online; his latest book is How Civilizations Die: (And Why Islam Is Dying Too). He is the Wax Family Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

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Top Rated Comments   
define ethic(s). post religious secularism has been tried before in the russia and europe and was/is a huge failure. it is a failure in america. the golden rule and basic morality are in short supply. look around you. please listen to the any interview with david mamet (glen gary glenn ross) on youtube or the one in the wall street journal for enlightenment. once americans get their nose out of the tv and movie screens, which they are, there will be a resurgence in classic religion. or else one day we will all be muslims.
23 weeks ago
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So he is saying that Political Correctness is a sort of catechism (or in Jewish terms, Principles of Faith) that one must believe in to attain salvation. Literally.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
define ethic(s). post religious secularism has been tried before in the russia and europe and was/is a huge failure. it is a failure in america. the golden rule and basic morality are in short supply. look around you. please listen to the any interview with david mamet (glen gary glenn ross) on youtube or the one in the wall street journal for enlightenment. once americans get their nose out of the tv and movie screens, which they are, there will be a resurgence in classic religion. or else one day we will all be muslims.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
"... or else one day we will all be muslims"

Or atheists ... with our own national stake in death camps."
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
The mainline Protestant denominations are all dying. Coincidence? Doubt it.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
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