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Youth — the key to unseating Darwinian materialism

Check out this forthcoming book, in which I understand that our very own Sal Cordova is featured. Note especially Sam Harris’s blurb — with people like Harris expressing such foreboding, one has to wonder how close we are to seeing the Darwinian house of cards collapse under the weight of its self-delusion. 

Righteous: Dispatches from the Evangelical Youth Movement (Hardcover)
by Lauren Sandler

Book Description
There’s a new youth movement afoot in this country. It’s a counterculture fusion of politics and pop, and it’s taking over a high school near you. Like the waves that came before it, it’s got passion, music, and anti-authority posturing, but more than anything else, this one has God. So what does it mean when today’s youth counterculture has a mindset more akin to Jerry Falwell’s than Abbie Hoffman’s?

In RIGHTEOUS: Dispatches from the Evangelical Youth Movement, Lauren Sandler, a dynamic young journalist, reports from this junction of Evangelicalism and youth culture, traveling across the country to investigate the alternative Christian explosion. Using the grassroots modus operandi of the 1960s, these religious kids – part of the “Disciple Generation” as Sandler calls it – turn an antiauthoritarian sneer toward liberalism, feminism, pacifism, and every other hallmark of that era’s counterculture. And they’re engaging their peers with startling success, fusing pop culture, politics, and religion as they preach from the pulpit of the skate park, bar, and rock concert. Secular, liberal, and practically the embodiment of everything Evangelicalism deems unholy, Sandler travels with skateboard missionaries, hangs out with the tattooed members of a postpunk Seattle megachurch that has evolved into a self-sufficient community, camps out with a rock’n’roll antiabortion group, and gets to know the rap preachers who are merging hip-hop’s love of money with old-fashioned bible-beating fundamentalism. Much more than a mere observer, she connects with these young people on an intimate level, and the candor with which they reveal themselves to her is truly astonishing.

Illuminating, often troubling, and unapologetically frank, RIGHTEOUS introduces a bold new voice into the ongoing debate over religion in American life. And it is the first in-depth front-line exploration of the country’s new moral majority – dressed up in punk-rock garb – and what its influence could mean for the future of America.

BACKCOVER: Advanced Praise:

“Lauren Sandler obliterates the naïve and complacent hope that keeps most secularists and religious moderates sleeping peacefully each night-the hope that, in 21st century America, the young know better than to adopt the lunatic religious certainties of a prior age. The young do not know better. In their schools, skate-parks, rock concerts, and in the ranks of our nation’s military, our children are gleefully preparing a bright future of ignorance and religious fascism for us all. If you have any doubt that there is a culture war that must be waged and won by secularists in America, read this book.”
—Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation

“It is no easy thing to enter into the world of the young evangelicals, to feel deeply their alienation, to breathe their air and share their electric conviction that they are the rising counterculture against an empty world. Lauren Sandler has done it, and done it with an effervescence and honesty that make her travels in Disciple America jump off the page.”
—Todd Gitlin, Professor of Journalism and Sociology, Columbia University, and author of The Intellectuals and the Flag

“At once controversial, critical, blasphemous and compassionate, Righteous offers a compelling journey into a growing youth subculture typically dismissed by urban intellectuals. Sandler has written a provocative and illuminating portrait of young people desperately seeking meaning, community and love in an empty, often terrifying social landscape. Evangelical youth—the Disciple Generation— are a generation rising, and we do need to pay attention.”
—Dr. Donna Gaines, sociologist and author of Teenage Wasteland: Suburbia’s Dead End Kids and A Misfit’s Manifesto: The Spiritual Journey of a Rock & Roll Heart

“Lauren Sandler has traveled among the believers and returned with a story that alarms, informs, and enlightens. She reveals the rise of a fundamentalist-style youth movement that has replaced faith with closed-minded certainty and is frighteningly cult-like. Read this book and you will understand this Disciple Generation and the challenge it poses to a civil society.”
—Michael D’Antonio, former Newsday religion writer and author of Fall From Grace and Heaven on Earth

“Righteous is a lively, probing account of today’s fresh, sometimes bizarre sub- cultures of American evangelism. Both the term ‘alternative’ and ‘evangelical’ will mean something new to you after this book. Sandler’s conclusions are important: These kids have been forgotten by their original social worlds, by secular organizations and even by Left-Liberal causes. In a cold new world, getting saved can now seem like a young American’s only source of community and warmth.”
—Alissa Quart, author of Hothouse Kids: The Dilemma of the Gifted Child

“Righteous is the most adroit and fascinating examination of a great national ill, the muddling of faith and politics, the secular and the divine.”
—Brad Land, author of Goat

 

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6 Responses to Youth — the key to unseating Darwinian materialism

  1. Sounds like book-selling hype intended to raise book sales. I’m having a hard time rectifying these statements (“These kids have been forgotten … by Left-Liberal causes”) with the fact that 18-30 year-olds were the only age group where John Kerry actually won a majority of votes — one pre-election poll had 18-29 year-olds favoring Kerry 60% to Bush’s 35%.

  2. Sam Harris:

    If you have any doubt that there is a culture war that must be waged and won by secularists in America, read this book.”
    —Sam Harris

    Their early indoctrination was incomplete. Here’s a story about a study on how to improve that.
    http://www.qgazette.com/news/2.....s/026.html

    The primary goal of the project is to help children explore biological concepts of evolution such as variation, inheritance, selection and adaptation. Current research in cognitive psychology indicates that if children are introduced to these concepts at an early age, they are more likely to see the natural world through a scientific perspective.

  3. Lauren Sandler informed me that I will be major focus in her chapter on ID and creationism. She interviewed me last year, July 2005, shortly after my appearance in the cover story of Nature, April 28, 2005 (see Related Links).

    Her motivation for writing this book is she is appalled at the way the media and her fellow athiests are treating Christians! At first I was afraid I was dealing with another Barb Forrest, but I could tell this was not the case.

    Lauren’s writing on Evangelicals has been very temperate and mostly non-judgemental, much like an Anthropologist studying culture. And I think that’s why she was able to infiltrate the Evangelical sub-culture so successfully. Heck, I hardly even knew about some of the groups she infiltrated, and I’m a veritable insider!

    There were a some things she said that really impressed her about my work:

    1. My Public Correspondence with Eugenie Scott

    2. The Poll of James Madison Students where I got an atheist/agnostic group known as the JMU Freethinkers to support moves to get ID taught at universities!

    Her book highlights the fact that the new Disciple Generation is resorting to secular arguments and techniques to argue their case. They are not resorting to Thought Police tactics to spread the message, but other modes of persuasion. The young evangelicals are exploiting the fact the secularists are having major Weapon Retention Failure.

    A core value held by Lauren is the freedom of speech and fair reporting and compassionate treatment of others. She is like Discovery Institute Fellow John Angus Campbell (a Darwinist). She was disturbed at the conduct of people on her own side violating the spirit of liberal and free inquiry. She seemed visibly upset when I related the fact that Caroline Crocker was dismissed from George Mason a few weeks after she appeared with me in Nature.

    My interview took place on a Friday over a steak dinner (her treat). :-) I related to her the demographic issue that 75% of the college students are curious about or sympathetic to ID, and that universities should realize they are sitting on a profitable marketing gold mine if they can tap into that interest, and that I was working to inform admisistrators of that financial potential.

    I also pointed out demographically that a larger and larger portion of biology and science majors and professors are warming to ID and that the stereotype of IDers being ignorant or stupid is quite misplaced. IDEA members in our chapters are frequently double and triple majors in science, children of doctors, professors, engineers, and practicing scientists. Some (being home-schooled) start college at age 14!

    She then attended an IDEA meeting at GMU where there were 25 (mostly science) students from 7 universities and Caroline Crocker present. I opened the first 90 seconds of the meeting by mentioning that I was a Christian and was interested to see if nature testified of Design. In view of the fact that many in the audience were Christians, to show that I did not disrespect the faith because I was an IDer (IDers are not completely welcome in some Evangelical circles), I quoted Romans 1:20 as justification for the “science alone” approach of ID. I encouraged the students (mostly Christians) to basically follow Phil Johnson’s admonition that “the first thing we need to do is get the Bible out of the origin’s discussion”. With that, the rest of the meeting followed a purely science-based discussion. They seemed to be quite approving of the approach.

    I then spoke of the man I regarded as a grand father of ID, Nobel Laureate Eugene Wigner. I then mentioned Barrow and Tipler’s Thesis thesis that ID and an Ultimate Intelligence could be seen as a straight forward deduction of physics, Quantum Mechanics, and Schrodinger’s Equations with no reference to theology.

    We then showed clips from Privileged Planet and Unlocking The Mystery of Life. Professor Caroline Crocker then gave a brief talk about her rejection of Darwinism after being a biologist for 20 years.

    Even though 90% students present were Evangelical Christians, we did not open or close the meeting with a prayer or pound the Bible as to why Darwin was wrong. They seemed to be very approving of the approach of making purely secular and scientific arguments (versus religious arguments) to break secularist culture, and seemed eager to learn the art of exploiting secularism’s Weapon Retention Problems.

    And that was Lauren’s glimpse into the world of the new modus operandi of the “young evangelicals” (the original title of her book). I’m quite eager to hear her account in her book.

  4. Salvador! I had no idea. It’s war alright and now I see that there are some tremendous folks on the right side on all fronts in this war. Bravo!

  5. The war is between natural theists, or idists vs. religious theist, scientific creationists, compatibleists.

  6. I should point out, as of today, IDEA is not a Christian or religious organization. Even if IDEA had been a somewhat religious institution (given chapter founders at one time were required to be Christian), science is not negated if it is practiced within a religious context so long as conclusions of the scientific method (which do not puport to be infallible) are aloud to be offered without cenceorship by theological fiat.

    IDEA being listed in Sandler’s book does not mean the organization as it stands now is part of an evangelical movement. IDEA is a secular organization as of today. However, some of its most active members are Evangelicals like me, and IDEA was a secular and scientific expression of personal interest on my part. However, officially speaking, as of today, IDEA is not a Christian ministry but a secular activity.

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