It's Dangerous to Believe

It's Dangerous to Believe

Religious Freedom and Its Enemies

Book - 2016
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"Looks at a trend in a secularizing American society in which traditional religious believers are being pushed out of public life, and challenges secular liberals to apply their own standards of tolerance and diversity to traditional Christians, "--NoveList.
Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2016
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062454010
Branch Call Number: 261.72 Eb
Description: xxix, 158 pages ; 22 cm


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Dec 07, 2016

“The Persecution Complex: The Religious Right’s Deceptive Rallying Cry”
by Right Wing Watch staff,
“Why right-wing Christians think they’re America’s most persecuted group – A new Pew poll reveals the extent of their complex. Its origins can be traced all the way back to the Bible”
by Valerie Tarico, Alternet, posted September 27, 2014, at Salon

Nov 07, 2016

"The work is unlikely to gain converts from secularism, but the final chapter's call to attend to rhetoric and avoid generalization powerfully makes the case for more civility in the midst of intense disagreement."

As Jesus warned, His coming to Earth did not mean there would be peace here,
Be prepared for intense disagreements, even within your household!
Not Peace, But Division
(Matthew 10:34-36)

I think this book explains a good deal of this thinking. Author Mary Eberstadt states "What believers and everyone else need to grasp is that contrary to what is sometimes argued among Christians themselves, secularist progressivism is not a nihilistic worldview. To the contrary: it embraces an alternative orthodoxy and a well-developed (and still developing) body of beliefs. The fundamental impulse leading to the penalizing of Christian believers today is not libertarian. It is instead neo-puritanical--that is, it is aimed at safeguarding its own body of revealed and developed truths, and at marginalizing, silencing and punishing its traditional competitors."

Oct 31, 2016

According to Mary Eberstadt, there is a rising tide of anti-Christian sentiment and action in the United States particularly and the West generally. Increasingly, as she chronicles, Christian churches and charitable institutions are facing potentially ruinous litigation intended to force them to conform their beliefs and practices to the prevailing orthodoxy, while individual Christians face a growing pattern of discrimination in hiring and college admissions. This new orthodoxy, though it considers itself entirely secular and even "scientific", holds its dogmas as articles of faith, primary among them the unsullied goodness of the "liberation" brought about by the sexual revolution.

Eberstadt identifies similarities between the anti-Christian atmosphere of today and that which surrounded past witch hunts from Salem to the McMartins. particularly in the preternatural powers the marginalized group is imagined to possess. Christians are held up for ridicule without fear of censure, much less violence, yet simultaneously imagined as participating in a massive conspiracy to install a theocratic government. They are thus both open to attack and bereft of sympathy. Beyond the increasingly narrow promises of "freedom of worship" which have replaced the traditional understanding of "freedom of religion", a grudging peace can only be purchased with the pinch of incense to Caesar or the sign in the greengrocer's window.

Eberstadt's ostensible goal - stated at the outset and repeated throughout the book - is to convince progressive advocates of tolerance and diversity that those values ought to include Christians as well. It is difficult to believe that this book will succeed. Partially this is because it is doubtful that it will be read by that audience, partially because the ingrained prejudice is too deep.


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