Damned Fools


A spirited critique of contemporary Christianity that demands it become both more intellectually rigorous and inclusive.
Holland’s first book takes modern Christianity to task for philosophical and moral complacency. In his view, the way Christianity is currently practiced is a pervasive hypocrisy that undermines the true teaching of Christ. “The problem with Christianity is: Christians so scarcely resemble Christ in any way,” he writes. The argument begins with a Socratic call to accept one’s ignorance and eliminate the hubristic sense of certainty he believes permeates Christian thinking: “Christians are prone to supernaturally feel no need to check the validity of the knowledge they strongly revere.” Also, he contends that Christians tend to rely too heavily, and blindly, on scriptural text to settle every debate, missing opportunities for thoughtful reflection. This closed-mindedness has unfortunate moral consequences, leading to the intemperate condemnation, and exclusion, of whole groups of would-be Christians. The author focuses on the LGBT community and divorcés; the section devoted to the latter group includes an intensely personal account of the author’s own experience. There is also a chapter-length treatment of abortion, challenging the Christian prohibition of it. The causes of the decline of Christian practice and belief are many, but Holland singles out the corrupting influences of capitalism and denominationalism, or the fracturing of the Church into doctrinal cliques driven by a spirit of exclusion rather than spiritual unity. The author’s arguments, always provocative, sometimes falter when he paints with overbroad strokes, something he often accuses Christians of doing. For example: “The way Christians treat divorced persons is disgusting.” The title of the book, of course, is less than sympathetic to dissent. Also, while the discussion of biblical text is typically rigorous, some parts would have benefited from a more expansive scholarly consideration. The chapter devoted to capitalism should have discussed Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical in 2009, Caritas in Veritate, which presents a much more complex view of the relation between the church’s teaching and commerce. Still, Holland manages a timely, nuanced examination of the church’s excessive traditionalism and the ways its resistance to progress degrades its members’ spirituality.

A powerful, personal account of how the Christian church’s true message has become disfigured in modern times.

Pub Date: April 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0615945842

Page Count: 268

Publisher: Walking Thru Ministries

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2014

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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