Moderate Americans are fed up with hate-mongering, intolerant, hard-Right Christian fundamentalism and the radical politics they have created. Scholars in several different fields now agree that "Christian" has come to mean "hard-Right bigot." But that's a staggering cultural loss: a major spiritual tradition has been vandalized for narrow political purposes. Christians want their religion back. They want their God back. Secular humanists and members of other traditions are equally unhappy. They want their religious liberty back. They want their freedom of conscience back. They are tired of being demonized. They demand the respect due them as part of one nation with liberty and justice for all.
It's up to Christians to do some thing about this appalling state of affairs: Christian fundamentalism can only be stopped from within Christianity, just as Islamic fundamentalism can only be stopped from within Islam. And so the time is right for a major work--a nimble, accessible, cleanly focused work--reaching out to American majority of ordinary people who are moderate, reasonable, tolerant, neighborly, and committed to clear thinking and honest evidence. Confronting Fundamentalism: Christian Humanism and the Moral Imagination is that work.
After 9/11, she explains, Wallace knew that she had to speak up about dangerous fundamentalism in her own tradition. She had to speak up because she had the cultural-history expertise to trace this malignancy to its origins. She had the philosophical and theological chops to delineate the common ground shared by reasonable people regardless of our religious allegiance. She set out to map the common ground issues: gay marriage, political violence, science-denial, literal-minded absolutism, bullying judgmentalism and then misrepresentations of Jesus of Nazareth and God as Jesus understood him. Begin where you want, stop where you want: each volume is entirely self-contained. And each can be read in a couple of hours.
Browse the Confronting Fundamentalism series here: snip.ly/xuee5
Catherine Miles Wallace is a cultural historian on the faculty of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.
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