A Lecture on Theology

...as delivered by a self-declared "Southern Lady," against "White Trash."

I was suspicious at first, I have to admit: usually people who take up against "white trash" end up painting themselves into a very bad position. However, having considered the argument, I think the lady has something to say.


Tom said...

And she says it well. I hadn't really thought of today's pseudo-religious folks as a kind of 'religious White Trash,' but I like the way she uses the metaphor. I'm not sure I agree, but it makes sense.

Christopher B said...

A fun read. My upper midwest northern European Lutheran community was a lot like her southern one when I was growing up. I think she's essentially expounding on the quip "if you don't believe in something you'll believe in anything."

Eric Blair said...

What Chris B. said. I've seen that else where, but it really appears to be true.

Elise said...

I hadn't really thought about the meaning of "white trash" other than "poor" but Wikipedia says the term:

emphasizes the person's moral failings.

That certainly fits in with Ms. Hays' observations.

(I highly recommend Bad Religion, the Ross Douthat book she mentions.)

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I found parts enjoyable, but I disagreed with it too much. Belief is the only reason for worship and religious training. Saving Western Civ is what CS Lewis would call a secondary goal - valuable only if the primary goal is being addressed.

I think nonbelievers might care deeply what virtues a culture encouraged, and support religion for instrumental reasons. I have read libertarian atheists who were precisely of that mind, in fact. But it just seems ultimately dishonest to me.

Grim said...

For a long time as a young man I was of the common (that is to say, the elite-endorsed and commonly portrayed on TV, film, and journalism) opinion that Christian 'organized religion' was responsible for all sorts of evils and oppressions of the spirit. I finally came back to Christianity for just the reason you say: I realized I just did believe, and therefore was going to come back to it sooner or later, and why not today?

I wonder if organized religion still does serve the function she attributes to it, though. It's amazing to me what resources it has -- the very best of music, of philosophy, of architecture, of argument, of understanding of the human condition built over centuries. Yet the churches themselves seem to want to touch that heritage but little. I wonder if it isn't too hard for them, even them.