Michael Luo, in the New Yorker, quotes from Mark Noll’s The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, thereby entering the timely … no, urgent question of why so many American evangelicals believe so much socially destructive bullshit. As Luo notes, “Recently, some pastors and other evangelical leaders have begun to express alarm at how unmoored some members of their congregations have become.”
This lack of mooring is no innocuous weirdness: “During the Trump era, it became clear that the wasting of the evangelical mind could even have dire consequences [for] American democracy.” As in, the terrorist assault on the Capitol was way evangelical Christian.
Once again UD will point out that a cult is a cult is a cult: Luo’s description of the evangelicals is point by point a description of ultraorthodox Jewish cults – you need only switch a few words:
Fundamentalists also believed that they needed to separate themselves from an increasingly secular society. All of this had a dampening effect on Christian thinking about the world: there was little need to pay attention to history, global affairs, and science, because the present epoch would soon pass, ushering in Jesus’s return; saving souls was all that mattered. “Evangelicals pushed analysis away from the visible present to the invisible future,” Noll writes. “Under these influences, evangelicals almost totally replaced respect for creation with a contemplation of redemption.”
It’s utterly haredim (a contingent of ultraorthodox Jews was also, by the way, Cap-trashing): The vulnerability to any conspiratorial swill; the separation from any world outside themselves; the ignorance of history, global affairs, science; the hopped-up slopping about in end times. And of course the propensity toward violence.
Solution? Hey, “the cost of education for haredi boys is covered by the [Israeli] state, in spite of the fact that they study no core state curriculum after age 13. No math. No science. No English.” The system of ultraorthodox yeshivas here in the States is an exact replica, folks. The closed world of Jewish and Christian fundamentalism threatens democratic culture very directly, yes? But as long as the state takes no interest in the education of these lost souls (fear: they’re violent; cynicism: they’re powerful voting blocs) we remain at their mercy.