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Scary Reading for Free Thinkers

American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America by Chris Hedges

Reviewed by Doug Brown

"This has been quite the year for books challenging the Christian hegemony in American culture. From Sam Harris's Letter to a Christian Nation to Richard Dawkins's full-on assault on belief in The God Delusion, the times they are a-changing. Chris Hedges has an edge over Dawkins and Harris, though; he is a Harvard Divinity School seminary graduate. The problem with attacks on religion written by lifelong atheists is they usually fail to grasp what faith is all about. Militant atheists make straw man arguments based purely on rationality and reasoned examination of evidence, and wonder why these deluded religious chowderheads can't see how silly their beliefs are. Faith has much more to do with emotion than logic, however, so atheists are usually arguing in the wrong language...." Read the entire review.

7 Responses to "Scary Reading for Free Thinkers"

    s h a r o n March 17th, 2007 at 4:19 am

    Nice review by Doug Brown. (Makes me want to know him.) I had not heard Dawkins characterized in this manner, and have not read the God Machine. I didn't care for Sam Harris' The End of Faith. I am an atheist--a quiet atheist, you might say; I don't like to lambast and don't like to be lambasted. Brown's humanitarianism comes through (and I wonder if Hedges' does, as well, in his book).

    I don't think I want to be scared even more by reading this book, though.

    Clyde List March 17th, 2007 at 9:37 am

    "I can imagine Christians reading American Fascists and re-examining their churches...."

    By all means re-examine the churches. But don't imagine that that has anything to do with the bible.

    The Bible and the Church are two different things. The Bible is like a German camera: If you read the instructions that came with it you'll never get it to work right (I got that advice from an unsmiling Radio Shack salesman. "I told you: DON'T READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!" he shouted when I brought it back.). Likewise, if you go to church and listen to their instructions, you'll never learn anything from the Bible. And that is a tragedy, considering the fact that Bible a document that contains passages as old as the pyramids of Egypt. Every educated person ought to have the Bible on his/her shelf. But for heaven's sake, DON'T GO TO CHURCH! DON'T LISTEN TO THE INSTRUCTIONS!

    Helen Mulder March 17th, 2007 at 9:59 am

    As a non-demonstrating atheist myself, I am always looking for sensible answers as to how believers CAN beleive. it all seems so very silly. This review talks common sense. I appreciate a cool, if scary discussion of the ongoing political agenda of those religious groups.

    Dan Thomas March 17th, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    “One interesting parallel I noticed between” Doug Brown's review of Chris Hodeges' book and “the intolerance of the Christian Right” is best expressed as the Atheisto-Secularist Left's intolerance OF the Christian Right. I would ask Doug Brown to think about his review after replacing all references to the “right/Christian” with the “left/secularist” and vice versa—he would not need to change the title of his review, “Scary Reading for Free Thinkers,” and I am sure he could come up with the appropriate books and references to make the counter-review viable. The point being does the militant leftist/atheistic/secularist meet all of the “defining characteristics;” does the leftist creed find TV the perfect medium; who called whom Nazi; etc. Yes, BOTH are scary as each side is a “sworn and potent enemy of the open society” and are driving us into disparate camps to the detriment of these United States. I, being neither a militant atheist or on the Christian Right, seek a path where we can all live together without attacking each other and calling each other names like fascist, communist, etc.

    s h a r o n March 18th, 2007 at 7:33 am

    Fascist behavior is fascist behavior.

    Dan Thomas March 18th, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    What is fascist behaviour? “Fascist” has been used so much as a derogatory epithet by so many diverse groups (you call my group “fascists” or I call your group “fascists”) and has such a long history of furious debate over its definition that the term is almost meaningless. Did you know that the “New Deal” was called “fascist” by many scholars and politicians in its day? In our “modern” world such vaguely-defined but inflammatory words are used to sell books and it seems to work no matter what group the author belongs to. So, I guess I like somewhat less biased reviews that strip away such words and the force-fit definitions that go with them and gives me more specifics (e.g., who are we really talking about: all "conservative Christian groups," the whole "Christian Right," only the "radical Christian Right", or maybe even a smaller group?) to determine whether the book is "informationally" worth reading. I prefer to be "scared" in other ways.

    Ralph Brauer March 24th, 2007 at 6:55 am

    Those interested in this theme and the bigger picture might want to explore the Christian Right's alliance with the Republican Counterrevolution and its impact on current policy in the recent book The Strange Death of Liberal America.

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