Via Big Think:
Via Big Think:
American Evangelicalism is best know these days for its brash political pandering and social engineering attempts, but deep in the Appalachian mountains the tantric tremor of serpents and strichnine has been a staple of worship in some churches since 1910 when George Went Hensley brought the practice of snake handling to his pastorage of the Cleveland Church of God in Cleveland, Tennessee.
Dismissed by the orthodox on all sides, scientific, skeptical and religious, these folks cook up some of the best rockabilly that you’ll ever hear (check out the Jolo, West Virginia snake handling clips on YouTube if you don’t believe me) and the only trouble they cause is usually one of their own members dying from a snake bite. The extreme nature of their rites reflects the dismal living conditions that attend the areas where these churches find a home.… Read the rest
“There is a war going on for your mind;” a war being fought on battlefields and on billboards, in universities and Sunday schools, in blogs and boardrooms, capitol buildings and city parks. From Wall Street to Main Street, from Kabul to Kansas City, the combined facts of seven thousand years of civilization and seven billion human beings struggling to eat, breathe, live and believe are all coming to a head. It has many names and many forms, running the gamut from Terror to Women to Drugs to Christmas—all inextricably linked by the immense power of ideas and the belief systems that propagate them.
In the United States, as we move unsteadily into the second decade of the new millennium, there are two reigning champions vying for supremacy over the American soul. These sometimes united, sometimes conflicting ideologies are called Christianity and Consumerism—the Pillars of Hercules for the modern age—shakily supporting the fading glory of the last of the global superpowers.… Read the rest