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New York Times: We never said evangelicals were dumb!

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Winding up our religion news coverage for the week, we note that the New York Times religion page editors are defending themselves from the charge of “dumbing down” religion. One of their number, Lisa Webster, has responded to Leon Wieseltier’s attack on T. M. Luhrmann (here):

Luhrmann’s anthropological work focuses on the spiritual lives of evangelicals, and her columns in the Times, with headlines like “Why We Talk in Tongues,” and “Addicted to Prayer,” sound a consistent theme: pious evangelicals are not idiots, and what they’re doing works. And by “works” she means it’s good for people, makes them happy.

If all one must do to escape being classified as an idiot is things that make one happy, the classification would mostly be emptied overnight.

As Webster goes on to acknowledge, wise people don’t seek merely to be happy, though they naturally hope for a certain contentment with the fruits of wisdom.

The Times staff, as so often, want it both ways: To be able to portray such evangelicals as happy clappy idiots (at the very best) and then make nice later, asking “Why can’t we all just get along?” Never under any circumstances to ask whether they could be right about something, on the evidence.

The thing is, thanks to the entirely unrelated way that the Internet has changed newsgathering, it all just isn’t working for the Times any more.

Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose

Eric Metaxas' Keynote Address at the 2013 "Standing in the Gap" Banquet - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlvsoQ97B-Y bornagain77
I am Evangelical. Theres nothing wrong with saying/thinking Evangelicals are dumb or deficient intellectually or morally. I think it about ancient and modern identities myself. Yet they would cry 'ISM at me. So they figured out portrays of a group, however undefended and weak relative to the present establishment, would be teaching everyone is fair game. They have been saying nO to that with great wrath. Evangelical Christians are the true faith and origin of the difference and so superiority of the moral and intellectual means within the English people and neighbours like the Scottish people. The Dutch and GErmans were originally more evangelical but it died out too quick. Thats why the English world is defined by innumerable protestant sects. It indicates health and numbers in health. Evangelicals are probably only between 5-15 % of the USA pop. Yet 70 -80 % of those industries, books, music, that have Christian intentions. We are solidly in the middle class and indeed created the middle class out of a old Catholic peasantry Europe. In fact America is all just a mimic of Puritan(evangelical) Protestant Englishmen. No one ever contributed anything but only absorbed. its a funny but true point. Everyone born American, and Canadian(even the French) are Evangelical people . They can't help but be a copy of the original mold. Saying Evangelicals are dumb etc etc is saying America is dumb. An absurdity and hilarious coming from foreigners desperate to leave their homelands. I hop nobody cry 'ISM at me but there is uncomfortable truths. Identity is the origin for all mankind in its abilities . Just score it right and don't cheat. Robert Byers

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