Friday, February 29, 2008

Bloom on Machen

Harold Bloom argued that much of American religion is gnosticism. Listen to the White Horse Inn for more details.
I found this interesting, from Bloom's book, The American Religion:
"There are only two people who stand out as antithesis to what I'm describing here as American Gnosticism...(Barth and Machen)...Barth knows the difference between the Reformed faith and gnosis. Where Barth was confident in a transcendent God and deeply suspicious of human experience, morality, or religion as a way of scaling the wall separating creator and creature, pietism and liberalism were locked in victory mode. The other anti-gnostic figure is J. Gresham Machen. What we call fundamentalists are really gnostics of an anti-intellectual variety. If there were a possibility of an anti-gnostic version of fundamentalism, such proponents would find their archetype in the formidable J. Gresham Machen, a remarkable Presbyterian New Testament scholar at Princeton who published a vehement defense of traditional Christianity in 1923 with the aggressive title of Christianity and Liberalism. I have just read my way through this with distaste and discomfort, but with reluctant and growing admiration for Machen's mind. I have never seen a stronger case made for the argument that institutional Christianity must regard cultural liberalism as an enemy to the faith. In contrast to this defense of Christianity, those who came to be called fundamentalists are more like the Spanish fascism of Franco, heirs of Franco's crusade against the mind. They are not the legatees of Machen."

1 comment:

Doug McHone said...

Would you say that Scientology is a derivitave of Gnosticism? Both claim that their "secret knowledge" will make your life better and free you from your bondage to the flesh...