Two Books Recommended
I read a couple books recently I thought might be of interest to your readers. Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer and Our Endangered Values by Jimmy Carter.
Both books deal with religious fundamentalism in America. I know you have been drawing parallels to Kirk life and cults. I don’t know much about cults, so I will not dispute your opinion. I would like to see, however, more discussion on fundamentalism as I think this is more to the point.
My background is one of fundamentalist grass roots Christianity in Southern California. I was always told that Jimmy Carter was a secular humanist and his brand of Christianity was a smooth file. Having worked through my faith as an adult and moved away from the clannish fundamentalist groups, I often felt I was unique and alone. Jimmy’s Carter’s book was a blessing to me because it confirmed that there are other mature Christian men in this world. Fundamentalist groups like the Kirk grab so much attention that steady mature Christian minds are often unheard.
Jon Krakauer, on the other hand, is not a Christian, but has done an excellent job revealing the nature of religious fundamentalism in Under the Banner of Heaven. He does so through the lens of the history of the Mormon church and the heinous crimes perpetrated by it’s fundamentalist followers. While I don’t think Christ Church is a criminal element in our society, its similarities to the voraciousness of Mormon dogma are startling.
While very different both these books are dealing with the same topic and I recommend them to your readers. As a taste, I have included below some points by Jimmy Carter in which he defines religious fundamentalism:
“Almost invariably, fundamentalist movements are led by authoritarian males who consider themselves to be superior to others and, within religious groups, have an overwhelming commitment to subjugate women and to dominate their fellow believers”
“Fundamentalists are militant in fighting against any challenge to their beliefs. They are often angry and sometimes resort to verbal or even physical abuse against those who interfere with the implementation of their agenda”
“Fundamentalists tend to make their self-definition increasingly narrow and restricted, to isolate themselves, to demagogue emotional issues, and to view change, cooperation, negotiation, and other efforts to resolve differences as signs of weakness”
Is it possible Mr. Carter knows Mr. Wilson?
I know you’re busy, Michael, but keep up the good work.