Skip to main content

Narcissistic Christianity

 Somewhere, in my head, I am kicking around a thesis about American Christianity - and notably, the way Christianity takes a narcissistic turn in America. Jesus, except as a figurehead, no longer counts - and this devaluation of Jesus, not only as a teacher, but as a person in general, is a very narcissistic gesture. Narcissism as the foundation of the relationship with God - a relationship put explicitly in terms of being a white American in relation to God - creates a certain bizarre cultural formation. How the narcissistic turn came about in Cold War and post-Cold War America, particularly in evangelical circles (accompanied by a certain rightwing Catholic group) is a problem for the historian of religion. Of course, it is a problem for us all, in as much as one of the great war crimes, that of spending trillions on the military, has resulted in a narcissicist Christian nation having thousands of nuclear warheads, billions of gallons of napalm, and so on.


Gassalasca Jape said…
At least in the Catholic Church, of which I am a no longer believing but still working priest, this is certainly true. Fear pervades everything. It's disheartening to see even young people (I work at a Newman Center) uninterested in, and even embarrassed by, Jesus' life and what he says in the gospels. They only admire what they consider to be "tough" and Jesus must be cut to that mold - whatever might be lost in the operation.