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Authors

Anthony E. Cook

Abstract

Stephen L. Carter, The Culture of Disbelief. How American Law and Politics Trivializes Religious Devotion. New York: Basic Books, 1993. Pp. vii, 328. $25.00.

For many cultures, religion is imperceptibly woven into the fabric of life. To talk of a transcendent spiritual realm separate from temporal human strivings for justice and freedom is to embrace an intellectual dualism with disastrous consequences for both the individual and the community. In such cultures, religion gives life meaning, gathering experiences into a frame of understanding without which God's purpose would be unknown. To ask individuals in such cultures to privatize their faith or to act on it only when it has been properly sanitized by secular discourse is to misunderstand the role and importance of religious devotion.

Thus, a secular culture that decries or disparages the holistic relationship between religion and the rest of life is particularly troubling for those who attempt to take religious devotion seriously, that is, for those who think it essential to work out the implications of religious faith for one's life and relationship to others. Steven Carter's most recent book, The Culture of Disbelief. How American Law and Politics Trivializes Religious Devotion, is extremely enlightening because it reflects the anxiety and frustration experienced by many religious believers in a secular world.

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