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(240) Dibéłchí'í

Enantiodromonic religion: in America, it is normal to ask people what church they belong to—in Britain, if you ask the same question to the person sat next to you on an airplane you are liable to be looked at askance; the general conclusion will be that you are mad, possibly dangerous (there is nowhere to edge away to on the plane, worse luck). America is not as religious as it was—the whole New Atheism craze in the 2000s seems to have nailed a lot of residual “evangelical” sentiment, perhaps with a little help from Tumblr; soon America will be as secular as Europe.

Yet, for now, the principle works on a paradoxical reversal of opposites: Britain is definitely a Christian country—the head of state is the head of the national religion, just like in Iran (Charles is our ayatollah). Yet people are apathetic about religion—since it’s baked into the system you can forget about it. Meanwhile, America is not a Christian country—the Constitution makes that clear. For sure, it was historically populated by Christians (still is, for now), yet liberals are right—America was founded by Deists who just thought “something” kicked everything off and that there were no more miracles. The result is a country on a constant quest for religion and an active interest in it—what they really want is the state Church that has been denied to them.

People don’t notice but the “rabid” religiosity found in the Deep South and the floaty-woaty hippy cults in California are exactly the same phenomenon albeit at different times. The man in Arkansas who is “moved by the Lord” to found his own church or swap church or to set up a drive-thru doughnut franchise is exactly they same as the neo-Buddhist LSD-aided “seeker” in California—it’s just California has a modern register, the sectarian Christian does not. Yet no matter how much they loathe each other both are engaged in the very American “quest” for religion.


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