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Dan Brown’s America

Lovely op-ed piece in the Times about Dan Brown and his multitude of anti-Catholic fiction pieces:

In the Brownian worldview, all religions — even Roman Catholicism — have the potential to be wonderful, so long as we can get over the idea that any one of them might be particularly true. It’s a message perfectly tailored for 21st-century America, where the most important religious trend is neither swelling unbelief nor rising fundamentalism, but the emergence of a generalized “religiousness” detached from the claims of any specific faith tradition.

The polls that show more Americans abandoning organized religion don’t suggest a dramatic uptick in atheism: They reveal the growth of do-it-yourself spirituality, with traditional religion’s dogmas and moral requirements shorn away. The same trend is at work within organized faiths as well, where both liberal and conservative believers often encounter a God who’s too busy validating their particular version of the American Dream to raise a peep about, say, how much money they’re making or how many times they’ve been married.

These are Dan Brown’s kind of readers. Piggybacking on the fascination with lost gospels and alternative Christianities, he serves up a Jesus who’s a thoroughly modern sort of messiah — sexy, worldly, and Goddess-worshiping, with a wife and kids, a house in the Galilean suburbs, and no delusions about his own divinity.


  1. Yeah, Dan Brown’s Jesus looks an awful lot like Dan Brown. Well, other than the millions.

    Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 4:08 pm | Permalink
  2. Dan wrote:

    Can we all just ignore Dan Brown for a while? I mean I’m so sick of a detective novelist’s scribblings being treated as so much serious commentary on religion. What’s next? Organizing the military based on Tom Clancy books?

    Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 6:54 am | Permalink
  3. Sue wrote:

    What depth of profundity does Douthat demonstrate in his religious and Spiritual understanding?

    Does he practice and therefore demonstrate in his life altogether, a comprehensive Spiritually informed way of life?

    The answer is of course no.

    But of course “do it yourself spirituality” has its origins in the Protestant Reformation wherein and whereby every single last one of us could read the Bible sitting alone in a room and thereby imagine that we were/are an authority on religion altogether.

    Meanwhile how many thousands of Christian sects are there–especially Protestant ones. All of which are in effect examples of “do it your self spirituality”.

    And besides which we live in a time when every philosophical, religious, and Spiritual point of view ever imagined is now freely available to anyone with an internet connection—and people from all over the world us thus freely choosing whatever ideas or combination of ideas and practices they want to associate with.

    And of course, implicit in your point of view, is that all of this is misguided, and that you and your fellow “true believers” are the ONLY ones that know anything about Truth and Reality.

    Everyone else is thus living in darkness.

    Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

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