Jeff Sharlet on Faith in America

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jeff Sharlet explores the borderlands of belief and skepticism, and in Sweet Heaven When I Die: Faith, Faithless, and the Country in Between, he profiles religious radicals, realists, and escapists—from Dr. Cornel West to legendary banjo player Dock Boggs, from the youth evangelist Ron Luce to America's largest "Mind, Body, Spirit Expo." He offers a spiritual landscape.


Jeff Sharlet

Comments [8]

clive betters

you not your. don't shoot me,i can't type..

Nov. 14 2011 10:01 PM
clive betters

clearchannel: not a subject fo this topic...............are your serious, Leonard ??

Nov. 14 2011 09:59 PM
Howard Weinberg from New York

Jeff Sharlet's facts seem faith-based rather than well-researched. First, Dock Boggs: Dock Boggs did not stop recording out of disgust or rejection of the record business. He recorded his famous 8 sides, got paid, and then went home. He concentrated on music and eventually formed a successful band and left the mines. He tried to record in two more sessions, one in 1930, but by that time the depression had shrunk the market for his music. Also, his wife and many relations opposed secular music. Finally, he sold his banjo and gave it up until Mike Seeger discovered his whereabouts in the 1960s. (The Wikipedia article on Dock Boggs is accurate with good references.) What he said about Dock being a tough, not especially nice guy was, however, true accordingly to everyone who knew him in the 1960s.
Second, "prophecy": a definition of prophecy that says that prophets do "not predict the future" is very much a minority view. Cornel West's had to invent the term "prophetic pragmatism" and explain what he meant, since most of us correctly use the word prophecy to include a view of the future. (Decrying present evil was not enough for the Hebrew prophets, either.)

Nov. 14 2011 01:48 PM
Richard from New York City

wonderfully interesting. thanks Jeff Sharlett and Lenny Lopate.

Nov. 14 2011 01:32 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Interesting that you mention Marxism, Leonard. I had just looked up an old (pre-fall of the USSR) copy of "The State of the World Atlas," & on the map for "Religions of Rule," it lists Marxism-Leninism as the "religion" of the Communist countries.

Nov. 14 2011 01:27 PM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Ed - the biggest treat to religious freedom comes from the self-righteous religious types. Many "religious" groups love religious freedom - for themselves only.

The whole "ground zero" Islamic center controversy reminds us: a catholic running for Governor, supported by the Anti-Defamation League, wanted to pass a law - banning Muslims' right to pray.

Nov. 14 2011 01:21 PM
Ed from Larchmont

Of course the religion one hears on NYC is secularism, which is atheistc but a world view, a 'religion', which the ACLU and others want to establish in America, going against the prohibition of establishment of religion.

Nov. 14 2011 06:17 AM
Ed from Larchmont

In his landscape of religious faith in America (90+% believe in God), does he mention Catholics, the largest religious group? (The second largest is, sadly, former Catholics.)

On EWTN there is a ten part series this week called 'Catholicism' by Fr. Barron, a real travelogue and history, from Wednesday night to Friday night, then on PBS on the next two Saturdays from 1-3.

Nov. 14 2011 06:09 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.