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Exceptional AmericaWhat Divides Americans from the World and from Each Other$
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Mugambi Jouet

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520293298

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520293298.001.0001

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The Exceptional Influence of Christian Fundamentalism

The Exceptional Influence of Christian Fundamentalism

Chapter:
(p.80) Three The Exceptional Influence of Christian Fundamentalism
Source:
Exceptional America
Author(s):

Mugambi Jouet

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520293298.003.0004

Religion remains exceptionally influential in America but frequently inspires indifference, skepticism or suspicion in other developed nations. Moreover, a huge minority of Americans lean towards Christian fundamentalism—a radical faith rooted in Biblical literalism and ultra-traditionalism. Due to the relative separation of church and state since the United States’ founding, Americans have not experienced the long history of religious oppression that Europeans once endured. Americans thus became far less suspicious towards organized religions, which many see as benign means of worship, not as social institutions. This is a paradox, as prominent Founding Fathers were skeptical of organized religions and Christian dogma. Jouet illustrates the weight of religion in the Bible Belt by describing his experiences as a Frenchman in Texas, where he visited evangelical churches and observed a very different kind of faith from the “soft” Catholicism he was accustomed to in France. This culture shock leads him to explore the fascinating historical and social factors behind the evolution of faith in American society.

Keywords:   Religion, Christian Fundamentalism, Religious Fundamentalism, Evangelicalism, Creationism, Atheism, Founding Fathers, Religious Skepticism, Mormonism

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