Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Ideology v. Geography

By inclination, latte-sipping, left-leaning, intellectual Christian types are the people I tend to hang out with.....the kind of folks, who upon reading Jesus's great commandment, hear 'love...with all your MIND' in stereophonic and see it in bright neon lights. They love verbal banter, assiduously participate in the great continuing conversation about ideas, and will travel far and wide to hear, study with, or sit under the latest sage on the stage. For them, ideology drives their geography. The things swirling around in their heads are the engine of reality and they will move wherever their thinking leads them.

Mark Noll insightfully challenged my notions about the relationship between ideology and geography by suggesting ways in which geography shapes ideology/belief. In this 12 minute interview, he explains how the expansive landscape of America (as opposed to Europe) contributed to the formation of a tolerant, pluralistic, religous consciousness and an attendant proliferation of denominations/religions unparalleled in the world to this day. Physical space encouraged and fostered a tolerant mood in which ecclesiastical diversity could flourish. Geography influenced (drove?) religious ideology. Fascinating.

Hear the interview here.

Read the complete post.


elbogz said...

There is one concept I don't quite agree with. That is the use of the word "tolerant".

There seems to be a growing battle in the Christian World, based on the premise that our church is good, and it is the way to salvation and that other church over there is bad and it’s path leads to destruction and Hell.

It’s a never ending chorus of Methodist are good, Catholics are bad, Calvary is good, Mormon’s are bad, Southern Baptists South Lake convention are good, Southern Baptist North lake convention are going to hell by Golly! (If your church was in the bad category, feel free to edit this paragraph to suit your particular battle).

I guess my point is, after all that babbling; geography has a tendency to have churches believe they are true and right, and all other churches are false and worng.

Mark Robinson said...

Chruches/denominations definitely believe that they are right very often. I'm not sure how much geography plays into that though. It may.