Feb 3, 2021Liked by The American Mind

Good article. Bravo !!!

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I think Gnosticism goes back much farther than even the Middle Ages. It is the Ur heresy and comes from the disembodied angels who rebelled against God, and hate bodies.

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Great article, James! Not sure, however, that American Protestantism will die out so much as it will be transformed into something more substantial, like Catholicism, with intellectual rigor, like the perspective established by the Puritan who got it all started Jonathan Edwards. Your observations about gnosticism are interesting and, I think, are a good way to describe contemporary social phenomena that appears to be a byproduct of television and digital. Whatever label you want to slap on belief systems, there can be no question that in their absence humans seek and/or make one up. I would add that you have to take into consideration the geographic history of how Christianity shot out of Europe and out onto the globe. I suggest looking in places where no one else is looking to see what's coming next, the least developed territories that are still wild, some of which (in the southern parts of East Asia, for example) marble the outskirts of highly "civilized" centers (such as Singapore). Moreover, it seems that the fate of Catholicism in Europe anteceded the fate of Protestantism in the US, with the exception of Poland (though it's on the wane there as well). Are the French retrieving medieval Catholicism? What's church attendance like in Italy these days? Are the Greeks retrieving the Orthodox Church? What's going on in Russia? Putin goes to Church but how about the mass population? China is definitely retrieving Daoism, which is pre-literate, but it's not really a "religion" and most Chinese are secular. And then there are the ones who control the digital medium in the West (billionaires) vs those who control it in China (the CCP). Western digital billionaires have their own own ideas and agendas, which do not overlap with religion in any unified way (at best the advocate for woke multiculturalism, which is to say, anti-Western Civ). The CCP's goals are to dominate the East, confront and defeat the West, and use digital wokeness as a weapon against the West. These factors have to be taken into consideration when pondering what spaces will open up with the "collapse" (or second reformation) of US Protestantism.

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Thought provoking as always. I'm not a Mormon, but I'm amazed at the LDS church's alchemical feat of distilling Americanism into metaphysics. The religion unifies the two foundational American institutions--the family and the corporation--into a seamless whole, and it projects the all-American creed of continuous self-improvement onto a vision of the afterlife.

Me, I'm one of those American Catholic refugees from Protestantism. I dare to hope that this is not mere nostalgia for the "Old World". Individualism and pragmatism are bred into me, but perhaps they can inform a particularly American charism.

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Since when has Protestantism been a denomination? It's a million smaller denominations who all think the previous million-minus-one were wrong.

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"It must be incontrovertible that today's most serious political debate has to do with whether Protestantism is obsolete."

This can't be a serious comment from a serious political commentator.

"Save Religion, Save America"

Only someone who understands neither religion nor America could say such a thing.

In short, religion is mysticism and collectivism, but America is founded on the rational, secular and individualistic values of the enlightenment. Religion and America are polar opposites.

In fact, religion is the enemy of America as it is the enemy of all Western Civilization.

These are fundamentals.

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