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The Fourth Great Western Religion


David Gelernter (View Bio)
Hardcover: Doubleday, 2007.


If you take only two things away from this book, take these:

America's cultural elite, strongly secular and scientific in outlook, understands American history as the working-out of enlightenment philosophy. This cultural elite hopes to turn America into a secular state with a secular public culture, where religion is a strictly private matter like sex (but unlike sex is an inappropriate topic for the public schools—you have to draw the line somewhere! Society used to shelter young people from sex; today it shelters them from religion). America's cultural elite hopes to build an America where morality is replaced by legality, where clergymen and theologians are replaced by lawyers and judges. Where issues like abortion, cloning, stem-cell research and the meaning of human life, or "voluntary" suicide and the meaning of death, are no longer moral questions at all—but merely legal and scientific questions. Where skin-deep surfaces count most (and predictably race, gender and ethnicity count most of all); where inner truth has been abolished. Where psychological, emotional, or spiritual truth is an embarrassing anachronism.

Only remember that the Bible and Judeo-Christian religion are the sunlight that made America germinate, take root, grow strong—and become the most powerful, most fruitful, most mesmerizing plant in the whole garden of nations.

"American Enterprise Institute fellow Gelernter argues that America is a biblical republic and Americanism a biblical religion encompassing an American Creed with three political ideals (liberty, equality, and democracy) and a doctrine, American Zionism, incorporating the biblically derived ideas of a chosen people in a promised land. Americanism is global. There's no need to be American, or to believe in God, to subscribe to it. Still, to understand Americanism, you need to understand America. Gelernter discusses the emergence of Americanism through several crucial events in American history: the Puritan exodus from England, the American Revolution, the Civil War, World War I, the cold war, and Islamic terrorism. He insists that his book is neither history nor group portrait but instead "an essay in folk philosophy." ... He offers fascinating food for thought." — Booklist