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  • mistermuse 12:00 am on June 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Darwin, evangelism, , fundamentalism, human rights, , rationalism,   


    Among the books I’ve owned for some time and not found time (until now) to read is one which convincingly illuminates how America has evolved (some might say retrogressed, in the case of our politicians) over the years.

    When I say “evolved,” most people (at least, those who don’t regard it as a dirty word) think of it in the Darwinian sense as gradual development from primitive to more adaptive or advanced stages….as, to take a human example, from very brutish to veddy British — or, from restive barbarians to festive Bavarians. But one would have to be blind not to see that human evolution isn’t a straight forward, rising-tide-lifts-all-boats proposition. In other words, what you sea is what you get (even my puns have their ups and downs).

    Then there’s the history of rights withheld, an early example being what American colonists determined to address. The British, loathe to let go, weren’t there yet…and neither are many of us there yet when it comes to the rights of others — speaking of which (for illustrative purposes), here’s a clip with reference to California’s 2008 ballot Proposition 8 denying same-sex couples the right to marry (an issue of no concern to me whatsoever except as it pertains to ‘affairs’ which some people — especially religious conservatives — can’t bear the thought of, even though it’s no skin off their nose):


    Coincidentally, 2008 is the same year the book I referred to at the start (THE AGE OF AMERICAN UNREASON by Susan Jacoby) was published. Here is a review of that book:


    Though I’m in tune with that review for the most part, I take issue with the reviewer’s belief that “Jacoby is overestimating the role of religion in America in the decline of Enlightenment rationalism.” Furthermore, the reviewer states that “the number of true fundamentalists is probably not that significant: she [Jacoby] conflates fundamentalism with evangelism” — a contention which leads me to question whether the reviewer did more than skim through Chapter 8 (THE NEW OLD-TIME RELIGION), which takes pains to differentiate between the two — including such distinctions as The main difference between fundamentalists and evangelicals….is that not all evangelicals regard the Bible as literally true but all fundamentalists do. That chapter, detailing the role of evangelism and fundamentalism in America past and present, is alone worth the price of erudition….eminently readable erudition, I might add.

    If you want to add to your understanding of the forces and factors that have created THE AGE OF AMERICAN UNREASON, do it….buy the book.



    • painkills2 2:28 am on June 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Gay marriage cannot save the economy. But, it might save the institution of marriage. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 4:20 am on June 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      That reminds me of the old joke “Marriage is a wonderful institution….but who wants to live in an institution?”

      Liked by 2 people

    • linnetmoss 6:38 am on June 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I agree about the fundamentalist/evangelical distinction. Too many in the media have no idea what they’re talking about and use “evangelical” as a euphemism for “fundamentalist.” That said, there seem to be far fewer socially liberal evangelicals than in the past. Either that or they are far less vocal.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:57 am on June 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Good point about the media, which comes in for its fair share of criticism in Jacoby’s book; e.g. “the simplistic slogans of junk thought are perfectly suited to modern mass media, which must fixate on novelty in order to catch the eyes and ears of a public with an increasingly short attention span.” And that was written 8 years before Trump’s campaign for the GOP nomination!

        Liked by 1 person

        • linnetmoss 4:09 pm on June 10, 2016 Permalink

          I think this problem dates to the advent of television (or was made worse by it). Even today, I notice that radio news is much more nuanced and detailed. But ‘click bait’ has also been around for the long time, in the form of sensationalist tabloids.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 5:49 pm on June 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You know how much I love polls. I wouldn’t say they make these things up as they go because that would sound like a conspiracy theory but they make these things up as they go. Besides people have been writing about the decline of America since well the place started. You can look it up.

      But accepting the fact that it’s all over, well what can I do but once again quote Riddick from the Chronicles of Riddick. “It’s gotta end sometime.”


    • mistermuse 8:01 pm on June 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Not to worry, Don. If America meets its end when and if The Donald becomes President, “IT’LL BE GREAT” (he has promised everything else he does will be great, so why should that be an exception).


    • Don Frankel 5:18 pm on June 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Muse maybe it won’t be so great but it will be YUUUUGGGEEEE and spectacular.

      Liked by 1 person

    • D. Wallace Peach 12:36 pm on June 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting post. I agree that fundamentalist and evangelist have become almost synonymous in the media, though politically they don’t seem to be that far apart when it comes to social reforms and politics is where the “news” focuses today. Prop 8 – The Musical was great. Now they need to make one for the Great Bathroom Debate.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 2:24 pm on June 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Now that (the Great Bathroom Debate) is a royal flush of a great idea, Diana. I hope it comes to pass, because I would buy a front row stool to see that one….not to mention #2 (the sequel).
        I could go on, but I’ve got to get back to work on the post I’m working on for tomorrow. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 5:14 pm on December 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: fundamentalism, live and let live, meaning of life, ,   


    Fundamentalism means uncritical, literal acceptance of the founding doctrines or documents of a tradition. It demands a closed mind and the suspension of rational faculties. The huge allegiances it commands are proof of the strength of the reaction against relativism, evidence of the revulsion people feel from the prospect of a truthless universe. Its power to reassure is irrestible to its adherents….
    –Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, British historian and author

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    If true believers never tire
    Pray/preying to abet their choir
    Should I believe I could forgive
    If they believed in live/let live?

    • arekhill1 6:31 pm on December 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      People just don’t want to think. I don’t either, but it keeps happening anyway.

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 7:30 pm on December 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I think if you stop thinking, you’re just breathing. Even heavy breathing doesn’t require much thinking, so I guess sex is the answer (hopefully not entirely mindlessly).


    • Michaeline Montezinos 10:53 pm on December 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Good posting and poem, mistermuse. “Live and let live” is my motto and I choose to let others believe what ever they feel is right for them. Some may call me a “bleeding heart liberal” but I am truly fed up with fundamentalism istself. Plus all the insidious and mind blogging calls for donations from those who are trapped in this so called religion. Reminds me of the parable of the goats and the sheep somewhere in the holy texts of the Christian Bible. I do not want to be a naughty goat nor a stupid sheep following the crowd of idiots like lemmings headed for the precipice.
      What do you think about my opinion re fundamentalism, anyone?

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 11:22 pm on December 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Humorously seriously,I think your opinion is “fundamentally” sound, Michaeline.


    • Don Frankel 8:17 am on December 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Dr. Don thinks adults who think only in a concrete fashion, in the same manner as an adolescent, have fundamental issues.


    • mistermuse 8:41 am on December 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Don, Jimmy Hoffa is an example of an adult who thought only in a concrete fashion, and that’s exactly where he ended up (some say).


    • Michaeline Montezinos 10:12 am on December 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Fellow writers and poets, Jimmy Hoffa ended up at the Troy Funeral Center complex where his remains were cremated. So he was the dust in the air. That is the story I heard from one of the Mafia’s long time chaffeuar and ambulance driver. The Kingpins of crime thought that being poured into a concrete pillar was not a viable revenge for Hoffa’s betrayal. And they did not want his body found when reconstruction of buildings and bridges began in the future. Believe or not! Everyone has a theory regarding Hoffa’s final interment.


    • Don Frankel 12:04 pm on December 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Muse, Jimmy Hoffa is said to be part of the old Giant’s Stadium or the nearby Jersey Turnpike but it sounds like Michaeline’s story makes the most sense.


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