[The book review below from tomorrow’s NY Times touches on some of the details of our complex American religious history. One of the most informative courses that I had the good fortune to take along the line was that on American Church History taught by Robert Handy at Union Theological Seminary. Without such information, one will not know that the bulk of our founding fathers were “deists” (from the Latin word for g-d, deus, and meaning that there is an orderly universe fit for doing science — Ben Franklin and his kite experiment — but most likely no personal deity) versus “theists” (from the Greek word for G-d, theos, and meaning a personal deity, e.g. that of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Jesus, Mohammed, and Joseph Smith who based his Book of Mormon on an early penny dreadful American novel).

The other criss-cross of American religion was the on-going competition between theology-based Christianity of the traditional Protestant denominations and Roman Catholicism versus the anti-intellectual bible-thumping revivalists who have produced the evangelical fundamentalists of today. Ed Kent]

……………………..

‘Head And Heart: American Christianities’
By GARRY WILLS
Reviewed by PATRICK ALLITT
Garry Wills on the two great threads of America’s religious
history.

Review:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/09/books/review/Allitt-t.html?8bu&emc=bu

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
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