Harvey Cox on "Old-Time Religion"

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Harvey Cox writes about “Old-Time Religion” in the Boston Globe, and discusses “the rise of a younger and more moderate leadership among evangelicals” as a response to the “moral fundamentalism” of right-wing preachers like Falwell, Robertson, and Dobson. Cox writes that “as the religious right begins to lose its former vitality, something else has begun to emerge in the American evangelical world that could have even longer-lasting significance: the reappearance of a politically progressive evangelicalism.”

One reason the future may belong to these new evangelicals is that they take the life and teaching of Jesus more seriously than the religious right, which bases its positions not on the gospels, but on what they call “traditional values" and “family values." But Jesus himself had little to say about family values; rather, he emphasized love of neighbor, and even of the enemy. And he often criticized the “traditional values" of his own time so harshly that the anxious guardians of those traditions viewed him as a menace.

[…] The progressive social impulse of early 20th century evangelicalism appears to be making a comeback in an America sadly in need of a vision that is both spiritually vital and politically forward looking.

Jeff Sharlet has some questions about “Fundamentalism’s Power Principle” at The Revealer, noting that proximity to political power causes distance from theological purity:

Are there real changes in the ideology of the many mini-movements that comprise the Christian Right? Are ordinary believers seriously reconsidering their political commitments? Are they re-visiting scripture and changing their minds about what it means?

Those are questions we can't answer by following the fads of power preacher popularity.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on July 12, 2006 12:31 PM.

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