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Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America ePub download

by Michael O. Emerson

  • Author: Michael O. Emerson
  • ISBN: 0195131401
  • ISBN13: 978-0195131406
  • ePub: 1230 kb | FB2: 1390 kb
  • Language: English
  • Category: World
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (July 20, 2000)
  • Pages: 224
  • Rating: 4.9/5
  • Votes: 752
  • Format: rtf mbr doc lrf
Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America ePub download

Michael O. Emerson is the Tsanoff Professor of Public Affairs and Sociology at Rice University, the author of numerous articles on race relations and religion, and the co-author of United by Faith. He lives in Houston, Texas

Michael O. He lives in Houston, Texas. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Divided by Faith book. Citing the individualistic and relational values of white evangelicals and the natural outcome of division when people are grouped according to similarities, in addition to the tendency of people to spend more resources on their own "ingroup," the evangelical church is, to the authors, an unhelpful (and even detrimental) force in American society.

In Divided by Faith, Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith probe the grassroots of white evangelical America, through a nationwide telephone survey of 2,000 people, along with 200 face-to-face interviews. Most white evangelicals, they learned, see no systematic discrimination against blacks; indeed, they deny the existence of any ongoing racial problem in the United States. Many of their subjects blamed the continuing talk of racial conflict on the media, unscrupulous black leaders, and the inability of African Americans to forget the past

Michael O.

Through a nationwide telephone survey of 2,000 people and an additional 200 face-to-face interviews, Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith probed the grassroots of white evangelical America. They found that despite recent efforts by the movement's leaders to address the problem of racial discrimination, evangelicals themselves seem to be preserving America's racial chasm. In fact, most white evangelicals see no systematic discrimination against blacks.

Michael O. Emerson, Christian Smith. In recent years, the leaders of the American evangelical movement have brought their characteristic passion to the problem of race, notably in the Promise Keepers movement and in reconciliation theology. But the authors of this provocative new study reveal that despite their good intentions, evangelicals may actually be preserving America's racial chasm.

Divided by Faith also includes a brilliant, concise history of evangelical thought about race from colonial times to the civil rights movement.

vangelicals desire to end racial division and inequality, and attempt to think and act accordingly. But, in the process, they likely do more to perpetuate the racial divide than they do to tear it down. Divided by Faith also includes a brilliant, concise history of evangelical thought about race from colonial times to the civil rights movement. -Michael Joseph Gross.

He has coauthored numerous books, including United by Faith and Religion Matters: What Sociology Teaches Us. .

He has coauthored numerous books, including United by Faith and Religion Matters: What Sociology Teaches Us About Religion in Our World. By 1955, the problems of race and the racial hierarchy had not disappeared at all. The forms had changed to be sure, but so ever-present were the problems that major social movements and upheavals resulted. These upheavals ushered in a new era of race relations in the United States-the post-Civil Rights era. see all 2 descriptions).

In recent years, the leaders of the American evangelical movement have brought their characteristic passion to the problem of race, notably in the Promise Keepers movement and in reconciliation theology. But the authors of this provocative new study reveal that despite their good intentions, evangelicals may actually be preserving America's racial chasm. In Divided by Faith, Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith probe the grassroots of white evangelical America, through a nationwide telephone survey of 2,000 people, along with 200 face-to-face interviews. The results of their research are surprising. Most white evangelicals, they learned, see no systematic discrimination against blacks; indeed, they deny the existence of any ongoing racial problem in the United States. Many of their subjects blamed the continuing talk of racial conflict on the media, unscrupulous black leaders, and the inability of African Americans to forget the past. What lies behind this perception? Evangelicals, Emerson and Smith write, are not so much actively racist as committed to a theological view of the world that makes it difficult for them to see systematic injustice. The evangelical emphasis on individualism, free will, and personal relationships makes invisible the pervasive injustice that perpetuates inequality between the races. Most racial problems, they told the authors, can be solved by the repentance and conversion of the sinful individuals at fault. Combining a substantial body of evidence with sophisticated analysis and interpretation, Emerson and Smith throw sharp light on the oldest American dilemma. Despite the best intentions of evangelical leaders and some positive trends, the authors conclude that real racial reconciliation remains far over the horizon.
Gold Crown
When I was a kid, I was taught in school that racism was an issue of the past.  I was taught that white people used to own black slaves.  I was taught that America went to war over slavery and that after the war the slaves were freed.  I was taught that roughly 100 years later white people were still not treating black people well, so a woman named Rosa Parks and a man named Martin Luther King Jr. helped end that.  I was taught that skin color didn’t matter, that everyone was equal and everyone had equal opportunity.  I was taught that racism had ended.

And then I grew up.

In recent years, the issue of racism has seemed to get more and more attention.  It seems like a white police officer shoots an innocent, young, black male every other day and the media fires up a conversation about racism.

As a Christian, I believe that the Gospel gives dignity to every human being.  I believe that the Gospel is for every tribe, nation and tongue.  I believe that the Gospel is powerful enough to fix our broken relationships with God and with one another.  And, for those reasons, racism and the divisiveness that it causes is not okay with me. 

We all have different perspectives on racism in America and I picked up this book because I wanted to try to understand perspectives that are different than my own.  And this book did not disappoint.

A couple of take-aways:

HISTORY
It is amazing to me how history impacts society.  I have never been a history lover, but the more that I discover about the past, the more I understand the present.  The history of racism has caused a lot of ripple effects in our society.  This book did a great job of unpacking the history of racial issues in America.  The history alone is worth the price of the book.

THE FORM OF RACIALIZATION
As a white evangelical male, it is difficult for me to see racism in society.  One thing that was helpful was how they showed different forms of racism.  Prior to reading this book, I understood racism to be hatred and intentional discrimination.  That view was formed mostly by my understanding of the Civil Rights movement and the violence that I’ve seen in videos.  I assumed that as long as I didn’t do that, then I was ok.  What I realized after reading this book was that racism exists in a lot of different forms.

INDIVIDUALISM VS. COMMUNITY
What the authors found in their research was that racism for a white evangelical is viewed on an individual basis (“I don’t have a problem with blacks and if other individuals didn’t either then racism wouldn’t exist”).  But, most blacks view racism as a systemic problem.  The issue of individualism is very challenging in white evangelicalism.  There is often an over emphasis on our personal relationship with God and very little emphasis (or none at all) on my “white culture.”  As a white evangelical, I find no affinity or connection to other people who happen to be white.  My perception is that other cultures feel more of an affinity for one other because of their shared history, their shared experiences, their shared language, etc.  These opposite approaches to the race issue often make it difficult to have helpful dialogue.

THE CALL TO ACT
Early in the book, the authors said,
"If anyone should be doing something about the racialized society and if anyone has the answers to the race problem, they said it is Christians.” 
The authors pointed out the emphasis that Christians put on evangelism and discipleship to the detriment of handling social injustices as well.  The book ended by saying:
"Our analysis has not led us to specific solutions for ending racialization, and we will not attempt such a grandiose leap into policy. But this work does suggest some general paths that white evangelicals might want to explore in their quest for racial reconciliation.” 
And then,
 "With a few exceptions, evangelicals lack serious thinking on this issue. Rather than integrate their faith with knowledge of race relations, inequality, and American society, they generally allow their cultural constructions to shape one-dimensional assessments and solutions to multidimensional problems. This will not do. The first new step evangelicals might consider, therefore, is engaging in more serious reflection on race-relations issues, in dialogue with educated others: What are the problems? In what directions are the United States and its people heading? What influences will class, growing racial-ethnic diversity, changing occupational and political structures, and complex systems of stratification play in altering the landscape of American race relations? How is the problem understood from different racial and ethnic group perspectives? How do individual-level versus group-level phenomena operate differently and simultaneously in the problems of race relations? What solutions have already been tried? What else helpful is currently known about these questions and solutions?”   
I thought that this was extremely helpful in getting to the root of the issue of dealing with race in the Church.  We must engage this issue through the Gospel-lens. Period.

I did not receive a free copy from a publisher, I joyfully paid for my copy. Therefore, my review is 100% honest and unbiased. Check out more of my reviews at aaronnichols.net
Eng.Men
The author does an exceptional job navigating an extremely convoluted subject. Much has been written on the issues of God, Faith and Race in America, but this is a pivotal work. The book reads like a long academic paper, which is refreshing, the authors assertions are driven by historical facts and reliable research all presented through a Biblical World View. Highly recommended.
Dynen
When people ask me what book they should read about race and religion, "Divided by Faith" is always the first one I recommend. Their concept of a "racialized" society makes it much easier to grasp the ways racism functions institutionally rather than just inter-personally. They also explain why the white evangelical religio-cultural toolkit (accountable individualism, relationalism, and anti-structuralism) actually reinforces the very racial divides they say they want to eliminate. The book is short, readable, and paradigm-shifting. The time is now and long past to read this book!
Beahelm
I am completely convinced that I am not a racist; however, after reading this book, I have a belief system that contributes to the role of a racialized society. This book has opened my eyes to the ways that I continue to reinforce segregation within my church. My only complaint with the book is that it does not outline practical steps to overcome racialization. This is an excellent book to read!
Quemal
I was told to read this book I find reading this book open my eyes to racial division and discrimination
Hatе&love
I really enjoyed understanding where the split happened between the "white" church and the "African-American" church on social issues. This makes so much sense. We need each other to get a better rounded gospel. If you curious... buy it.
Kajikus
Michael Emerson and Christian Smith argue in their book Divided By Faith that the values and beliefs that are central to evangelical religion - freewill individualism, relationalism, and antistructuralism - actually help to increase the racial divide in America, even though they are the biggest supporters of racial reconciliation. The book is based a deep probing of evangelical Americans' feelings of race issues through an extensive nationwide survey of over 2000 people. The authors give rock-solid proof for their argument which is presented in a very concise and logical manner. The effective use of statistics and quotes from interviews help solidify the argument. In addition, they describe how the structure of American religious organizations is continually pushed towards internal similarity, leading to racially separate congregations. After reading the book, one will find it difficult to respect the views of evangelicals and their attitudes on race issues.
The book begins with a close look at just how racialized our society really is, citing mostly examples of economic disparity between whites and blacks. The problem also exists in the lack of interracial marriages, segregated communities, and in religious affiliation choices. Next the authors give a historical overview of how Christians, particularly evangelicals, have thought of race in the past, and what sorts of actions they have taken to address racial issues.
Racial reconciliation was started by blacks in the 1960s as a theology for reconciling the division between races. Its primary tenet is that individuals of different races must develop primary relationships with each other and recognizing social structures of inequality. Evangelicals have since popularized the idea and made it one of their top priorities for bringing and end to racial division. The original message was lost in the translation however, for evangelicals stress individual reconciliation as opposed to challenging social systems of injustice and inequality.
Evangelicals see the race problem of one of three types: prejudiced individuals, other groups trying to make race problems a group issue when it is only individual problems, and a fabrication of the self-interested. Emerson and Smith use the idea of a cultural tool kit - ideas and practices that shape one's perception of reality - to explain these views. They explain how accountable freewill individualism, relationalism, and antistructuralism are the racially important cultural tools for white evangelicals and how most do not think America is racialized because of their tools; in addition, most are racially isolated. White evangelicals see no race problem other than bad interpersonal relationships. These tools lead them to "minimize the race problem and racial inequality, and thus propose limited solutions." This strong evidence supports the claim that evangelicals perpetuate a racialized society without any intention to do so.
The authors asked people in the survey for their explanations on the reasons for blacks having worse jobs, income, and housing than whites. White evangelicals were significantly more likely to cite individual reasons than structural reasons; most felt that it was due to lack of motivation or will-power on the part of blacks. However, when black evangelicals were asked for their explanations, they overwhelmingly cited less individualistic and more structural reasons; most felt that it was due to discrimination. This shows that evangelical religion "intensifies the different values and experiences of each racial group, sharpening and increasing the divide between black and white Americans." Emerson and Smith also give anecdotal evidence that by not seeing how societal structures impact individual initiative, the racialization problem will continue.
The survey also asked people about how to solve the race problem. The results again show that evangelicals overwhelmingly felt that people should "try to get to know people of another race" and that almost none felt that racially integrated residential neighborhoods could solve the problem. What's more, white evangelicals were much more likely to respond this way than non-evangelical whites, further evidence of the cultural tool kit explanation.
The authors also give an in-depth examination of the structure of American religious organizations and the view that America has become a "religious marketplace." They explain why congregations are internally similar with the idea that "internally homogeneous congregations more often provide what draws people to religious groups for a lower cost than do internally diverse congregations" in addition to social psychological reasons. The book concludes with a look at how these internally similar congregations produce and maintain racialization.
This book is rock-solid evidence for the idea that evangelical religious teachings - although candidly supportive of racial reconciliation - actually do more to perpetuate a racialized society than they do to terminate it. Although the authors provide almost no suggestions for exactly how to end this racialized society, they definitely present a shocking argument along with rigorous proof of the contradiction that exists in American evangelical religion.
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