Yellacat Ranch Under a Western Sky

Post-Christian America

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My sense from talking to our customers is that there is trend toward post-Christian America that is likely to be vaguely pagan, but not exactly pagan in the way my generation (Boomers) might think of it.

I’ve become interested in books and arguments that suggest that there actually is, or might be, a genuinely post-Christian future for America and that the term “paganism” might be reasonably revived to describe the new American religion, currently struggling to be born.

A fascinating version of this argument is put forward by Steven D. Smith, a law professor at the University of San Diego, in his new book, Pagans and Christians in the City: Culture Wars From the Tiber to the Potomac. Smith argues that much of what we understand as the march of secularism is something of an illusion, and that behind the scenes what’s actually happening in the modern culture war is the return of a pagan religious conception, which was half-buried (though never fully so) by the rise of Christianity.

What is that conception? Simply this: that divinity is fundamentally inside the world rather than outside it, that God or the gods or Being are ultimately part of nature rather than an external creator, and that meaning and morality and metaphysical experience are to be sought in a fuller communion with the immanent world rather than a leap toward the transcendent.

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Yellacat Ranch Under a Western Sky
Justin Swanstrom

Justin Swanstrom

Made in America. Retired attorney. Bookseller at Shining Lotus. No Nazis in Valhalla. He/him.

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