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Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

The Piety Divide

Baylor University’s Institute on Studies of Religion is pitching their new report, “American Piety in the 21st Century,” as a testament to how diverse and complex religious feelings in our country really are. The report does show that many religiously unaffiliated people pray, and that “The Passion,” produced by a conservative Catholic and championed by white evangelicals, was most popular among African-American Protestants. The subtext of the data, however, is to show how culturally divided we are.

It’s right there in the charts relating church attendance to consumption of the controversial thriller “The Da Vinci Code.” Quite simply, Baylor found, the less you attend church, the more likely you are to have read the book. Only 16 percent of evangelical Protestants read Dan Brown’s novel; those who gave their affiliation as “None” were twice as likely to have read it, and “Other” were more than three times as likely.

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On the other hand, “VeggieTales,” Rick Warren, and the “Left Behind” series all appeal to 20-25 percent of the population—a number close enough to the percentage of evangelicals in the national body to suggest that as popular as those products have become, they are still confined mostly to their home communities.

Since St. Paul, Christians have asked the question, What influences you most: Christ or culture? Judging from Baylor’s report, the answer might be that what influences us most is neither Christ nor culture, but which Christian culture we come from.

  • mslily

    I did not read Da Vinci Code, but my mother (a non believer) did. Her take on it (from a non-believer’s jewish background) was that Jesus was a rabbi (teacher) and rabbi’s marry all the time, so what was all the fuss? I am not Catholic, so I didn’t even delve into why its a sacriligious idea, that “God” would have a family. It doesnt bother me whether Jesus had kids, but the allusions to conspiracy and cover-up do. I gave her Anne Rice’s book about Jesus’ childhood, and she said it was a nice story. Raise in an athiestic background, I had to learn about Jesus myself, and I am a stronger Christian for it.>

  • A.J.

    As a Christian that read the DaVinci Code I found it, mainly, entertaining,as I believe the book was meant to be. It’s a well known fact that is was a mix of fact, legend and imagination, as most novels are. We have spent too much time overanalyzing. Time to move on I think.>

  • Lantern Bearer

    I find it strange that books like the Celestine Prophecy and the Da Vinci Code fly off the shelves in record numbers. The numbers seem to outpace the ones you tag as believers and non-believers. I am a seeker. I sprang out of a complex mixture of Protestant and Catholic parents. I was exposed to Eastern Rite services early in my childhood and was around kids who left our small town by Friday noon to observe Shabbat and go to Temple on Saturday. I believe that the Teacher instructed us to be mindful of the Infinite connection that can be found in the region between our inner ears and our heart. I further believe that Christ is beingness not a being. Christ, God’s manifestation in human mind and conduct of the heart is a gift to all. The Teacher, Jesus, who has been made an object of worship for the many, is a starting point from which the many never leave. Faith, grace, salvation . . . have been presented as a punched ticket, good for a ride to many mansions and streets of gold. Christian is not a game with a scoreboard. Christian is a path for the seeking heart. Is your sanctuary a place of repose for the current popular representation of the Baal Calf. Are you a consumer of packaged religiosity or a seeker of the Christ? It is not my intention to criticize but rather to present the challenge that was presented to me. You are blessed on your way. Lantern Bearer ζετεο>

  • http://www.icecream.com Poster of Poo

    Some time back in DC there was a prostitute named Teresa Howell who worked under the name Summer Breeze. She died in 2003 and the coroner said it was because she was drunk and fell down her stairs. John Berlau, a hack journalist with Reason and Insight got fascinated with this and for all anyone knows maybe he had already been fascinated with her, hard to say at this point in time. No matter why, he did his own investigation of a sort. He went after people who knew her and posted on various prostitution related web sites. I don’t know where this got him but it may have been the beginning of his association with the so called sex trade. John Berlau has worked with the police at least once and maybe more. He did this in the DC area. He helped set up both prostitutes and their customers. When you got busted the way it worked was that if you would work with John on some book or project he is doing, the police would let you go, but, if you would not work with Berlau, you would be arrested on a prostitution or soliciting charge. So this is just some friendly advice and stay away from anything that seems to be tied up to this guy Berlau or any of a number of conservative projects. Some of them are REASON magazine and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. At least once he s worked with a woman posing as a prostitute. Two likely ones are Solveig Singleton and Julie DeFalco, both at CEI right now. But both are brunettes and the rumor is that the woman was a blond but that s what wigs are for I suppose!>

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