Tuesday, September 28, 2004

American Religion

Northrup Frye in Words with Power (1990) wrote (on page 97) that most religions accept a specific mythological background and translate it into a doctrine that is to be believed.

Mythology of American Religion, stemming from the Bible:
We are the chosen people, called to impart democracy to the world, as Constantine did Christianity. Our saviour and protector is Bush.

Our highest virtue: 'patriotism', which means uncritical obedience to higher military and civil authority.

Our understanding of Christianity: minimal, although many Americans are sincere Christians.

We are, in the words of Frye (100), "sectarians who confine ourselves to two or thee proof-texts".

Our future: likely comparable to that of other chosen people through the ages.

4 comments:

Marjorie said...

You sound so depressed, Larry. I agree that things look kind of bleak and I've often thought what you expressed in your last sentence about the future (which is an especially hard thought for a mother with young children). The only thing I can come up with is that there is always a remnant of the faithful and God will not forsake us. All we can do is remain faithful and try to help or encourage others along the way. And pray, pray, pray.

Larry said...

You proved my point, Sparky. There will always be a remnant, and at some point the remnant will be everybody.

Re depressed: Well to tell you the truth I wasn't thinking of us when I wrote the last line, I was thinking of them. I still hold out the hope that we may survive and live to see better days. Actually the last days of Nixon looked pretty dark to me, but I was more your age at that time. Things got better-- before they got worse.

I'm looking for a return of the sixties: it's main character for me was-- question authority. The kids were no longer cowed by the people in charge.

Finally there is a significant difference in outlook for our two age groups. At a certain age you become detached. For example I adore my granddaughter, but she doesn't mean to me what my children did. With the detachment there is a greater focus on the generality rather than the particular.

That's all for now.

Larry said...

Once again: Depressed? Yes, basically depressed at the stupidity of the American people such as the young women looking to an army for protection from terroists (There's no personal inference here, Sparky.) and the men who love guns; these are the two presented to us by the media as typical voters. That in fact was what led to my composing that tome.

Marjorie said...

None taken -- I know the army can't protect me. I know our government can't protect us (I worked for a quasi-enforcement agency for 3 years). You're right, though, I know of at least one person who feels swayed politically based on who she thinks will make her safer. Its an illusion. There is no safety except that which God gives, but I'm pretty sure I cannot tell her that.
Anyway, lets hope that the media portrayal of the typical voter is distorted.