18 July 2006


Via The Wild Hunt, I learn of a delightful interview with J.C. Hallman on Bookslut, flogging his new book about peculiar religions, The Devil is a Gentleman. As you might guess, he talks about Satanists ... as well as Scientologists, atheists, and more. Hallman refers a lot to William James' book The Varieties of Religious Experience.
James believes that in the individual mystical experience you get a sense of the divine. Ironically, and almost invariably, the atheists reported a moment of clarity that told them “there was nothing out there.”

Bookslut: They saw the light!

Right. But they probably wouldn't like it put that way.

Hallman also reports that a survery revealed that the American population of Christians fell 9% from 1990 to 2001. Can that really be true?

Well, yeah. USA Today reports on this—revealing also that spiritual-but-not-religious and not-religious are coming on strong. (While we're on the subject, Digby has some sharp-edged commentary on the political implications of these figures.)

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