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25

The Evangelical Mind

Being good is just a fable

by Adam Kotsko

3
terms
3
notes

Kotsko, A. (2019). The Evangelical Mind. n+1, 35, pp. 25-38

26

I should be clear that I do not mean to present myself as a scholar of the evangelical movement, but as a primary source. I am not just an observer of the evangelical mind, but an example of it. While some may question my ability to speak from the evangelical perspective as an apostate, I would contend that I am an ideal representative of my generation of evangelicals. I lived through the inner contradictions of evangelicalism in a particularly intense way, and I believe that I ultimately found an evangelical way out of evangelicalism, through the habit of relentless self-examination that we were encouraged to cultivate—albeit not quite in the way they intended. I am not alone. Growing numbers of young evangelicals raised in the church are also finding their own paths out of the movement by following its core convictions. Even committed evangelicals who might resent my claim to speak on their behalf would therefore do well to let down their guard and listen to what I have to say.

similar to my book on SV lol

—p.26 by Adam Kotsko 3 months ago

I should be clear that I do not mean to present myself as a scholar of the evangelical movement, but as a primary source. I am not just an observer of the evangelical mind, but an example of it. While some may question my ability to speak from the evangelical perspective as an apostate, I would contend that I am an ideal representative of my generation of evangelicals. I lived through the inner contradictions of evangelicalism in a particularly intense way, and I believe that I ultimately found an evangelical way out of evangelicalism, through the habit of relentless self-examination that we were encouraged to cultivate—albeit not quite in the way they intended. I am not alone. Growing numbers of young evangelicals raised in the church are also finding their own paths out of the movement by following its core convictions. Even committed evangelicals who might resent my claim to speak on their behalf would therefore do well to let down their guard and listen to what I have to say.

similar to my book on SV lol

—p.26 by Adam Kotsko 3 months ago

a person who renounces a religious or political belief or principle; the general form is "apostasy"

26

While some may question my ability to speak from the evangelical perspective as an apostate, I would contend that I am an ideal representative of my generation of evangelicals

—p.26 by Adam Kotsko
notable
3 months ago

While some may question my ability to speak from the evangelical perspective as an apostate, I would contend that I am an ideal representative of my generation of evangelicals

—p.26 by Adam Kotsko
notable
3 months ago

(adjective) incapable of being surmounted, overcome, passed over, or solved

30

the belief that human sinfulness is an insuperable obstacle to knowing and fulfilling that plan, and that only Jesus Christ can remove that obstacle for us

—p.30 by Adam Kotsko
notable
3 months ago

the belief that human sinfulness is an insuperable obstacle to knowing and fulfilling that plan, and that only Jesus Christ can remove that obstacle for us

—p.30 by Adam Kotsko
notable
3 months ago
31

[...] the attitude I associate most with evangelicals is a sneering contempt for moral striving. A stock phrase among evangelicals is that “there will be a lot of good people in hell,” which I heard continually in sermons, in radio broadcasts, and in casual conversations about those poor, naive liberals. This sentiment was presumably intended as a sobering reminder of the magnitude of human sin and the profundity of our need for Christ’s forgiveness, but some people treated this dark theological truth as a positive good. From the way they spat out the phrase good people, I imagined that these believers were looking forward to seeing the “good people” burn. While some secular liberals hope to find common ground with evangelicals of goodwill on certain issues, the ones who have descended to this point of malice and disdain are probably unreachable. After all, they reject in advance any standard of moral judgment other than a nihilistic scorn for “good people.” The end result of their Christian faith is the unshakable conviction that nothing could be stupider than expecting people to live by the teachings of Christ.

—p.31 by Adam Kotsko 3 months ago

[...] the attitude I associate most with evangelicals is a sneering contempt for moral striving. A stock phrase among evangelicals is that “there will be a lot of good people in hell,” which I heard continually in sermons, in radio broadcasts, and in casual conversations about those poor, naive liberals. This sentiment was presumably intended as a sobering reminder of the magnitude of human sin and the profundity of our need for Christ’s forgiveness, but some people treated this dark theological truth as a positive good. From the way they spat out the phrase good people, I imagined that these believers were looking forward to seeing the “good people” burn. While some secular liberals hope to find common ground with evangelicals of goodwill on certain issues, the ones who have descended to this point of malice and disdain are probably unreachable. After all, they reject in advance any standard of moral judgment other than a nihilistic scorn for “good people.” The end result of their Christian faith is the unshakable conviction that nothing could be stupider than expecting people to live by the teachings of Christ.

—p.31 by Adam Kotsko 3 months ago

promote or make widely known

31

whether some of the volunteer Sunday school teachers were promulgating Calvinist doctrines

—p.31 by Adam Kotsko
notable
3 months ago

whether some of the volunteer Sunday school teachers were promulgating Calvinist doctrines

—p.31 by Adam Kotsko
notable
3 months ago
35

Everything evangelicals do is geared toward achieving this paradoxical goal of clone-like reproduction of an individual encounter with God. It is the rationale behind all their political interventions, which center overwhelmingly on issues of physical and social reproduction, from abortion to family structure to education. The sole political task of the evangelical community is to reproduce itself. They have no quarrel with economic inequality, with racial and gender hierarchy, with nationalism and torture and war, with environmental destruction. To the extent that those realities are harmful, evangelicals blame the sinful motives of individuals. Trying to change large, divinely ordained systems of power would represent an illegitimate attempt to usurp the place of God—and in any case, more and more evangelicals and their allies are occupying those systems all the time.

—p.35 by Adam Kotsko 3 months ago

Everything evangelicals do is geared toward achieving this paradoxical goal of clone-like reproduction of an individual encounter with God. It is the rationale behind all their political interventions, which center overwhelmingly on issues of physical and social reproduction, from abortion to family structure to education. The sole political task of the evangelical community is to reproduce itself. They have no quarrel with economic inequality, with racial and gender hierarchy, with nationalism and torture and war, with environmental destruction. To the extent that those realities are harmful, evangelicals blame the sinful motives of individuals. Trying to change large, divinely ordained systems of power would represent an illegitimate attempt to usurp the place of God—and in any case, more and more evangelicals and their allies are occupying those systems all the time.

—p.35 by Adam Kotsko 3 months ago