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It’s Bad Religion

That’s because America’s problem isn’t too much religion, or too little of it. It’s bad relgion: the slow-motion collapse of traditional Christianity and the rise of a variety of destructive pseudo-Christianities in its place.

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In this America, too, the Christian teaching that every human soul is unique and precious has been stressed, by the prophets of self-fulfillment and gurus of self-love, at the expense of the equally important teaching that every human soul is fatally corrupted by original sin. Absent the latter emphasis, religion becomes a license for egotism and selfishness, easily employed to justify what used to be considered deadly sins. The result is a society where pride becomes “healthy self-esteem,” vanity becomes “self-improvement,” adultery becomes “following your heart,” greed and gluttony become “living the American Dream.”

—from Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics by Ross Douthat, Prologue: A Nation of Heretics

bad religion

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