Rod Dreher

Franklin Evans passes along this post by Gus diZerega, who writes the Pagan blog on Beliefnet, in which Gus talks about how Pagans find themselves pulled in both directions in the culture war, between the forces of mainstream conservative religion and the secular liberal science-minded folks. Excerpt:

On the one hand we have no choice but to push back on the attempts to demonize us, and entrench their demonization into the law, by many Evangelicals and conservative Christians. Whether in the schools or the prisons or the military, even a single victory to the haters will give them a precedent to push further because there are no logical limits to their creed hold over people until it has come to dominate all of society. It is fundamentally totalitarian in this respect. The Enlightenment brought this totalitarian urge under control. But…
But on the other hand, the secular scientistic world view that sees religion as a atavistic holdover from an earlier time is simply wrong. It’s not even close to the truth. I see modern secularism as itself deeply myopic, and when its internal implications have come to fruit, as they are doing today, tending in most of its forms towards nihilism and the worship of power. In this conclusion I find I am often at one with the conservative Christians who denounce us!

Gus recommends reading a new book, “In the Land of Believers,” by an atheist who went undercover at Jerry Falwell’s Baptist church in Lynchburg, Va., to see what it was like from the inside. Gina Welch spent two years inside the congregation posing as one of them … and was amazed by what she learned. Here’s a speech on the author’s website, in which she talked about how as a self-described “secular progressive,” she hated Evangelicals and all that they stood for, and accepted that they were the only people it was safe to mock. But she went to live among them, and came to see them as far different from the caricature she’d previously accepted. Welch writes that she came away believing that there could be common ground between people like her and people like them. Sounds pretty hopeful!

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