Thursday, October 11, 2012

What Comes After Church?

A new Pew study shows that Americans are disconnecting from their churches.

"For the first time since researchers began tracking the religious identity of Americans, fewer than half said they were Protestants, a steep decline from 40 years ago when Protestant churches claimed the loyalty of more than two-thirds of the population."  
(Number of Protestant Americans Is in Steep Decline, Study Finds, NYT)
This is good, but also troubling news, as it is more a reflection of a growing existential homelessness than a rational move towards secularism.
"When they leave, instead of switching churches, they join the growing ranks who do not identify with any religion. Nearly one in five Americans say they are atheist, agnostic or 'nothing in particular',” the New York Times writes.
Unfortunately, this fits in with the pattern that I have written about before, a pattern that reminds me of the parallels between our time and the one Hannah Arendt analyzed in "The Origins of Totalitarianism."

How Mitt Romney Became the Underdog
In periods of chaos and dislocation, people tend to look backwards, search for a Golden Age or a Savior. That has happened over and over again in human history, often with disastrous consequences (read Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism for a chilling analysis.) Newt Gingrich fits the image of a maniac who could be really dangerous if given enough power, while Mitt Romney at the core is a pragmatic and cold businessman.

After Florida, he is starting to look like a winner. There is even something Reaganesque over him now that the battle has made us see him as an underdog, a dog that can bite.

I hope team Obama pays attention. 

For a discussion about the Tea Party and Hannah Arendt, read this blog of mine:

The Tea Party As a Proto-Fascist Movement

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