Kresta in the Afternoon – November 11, 2020 – Hour 1

+  Kresta Comments: The Blind Spots of Secularism

  • Description: People who profess religious faith are often accused of having "blind spots" that alter their view of reality. But secular people can suffer from the same problem - and we see it in how they often overlook the major religious aspects of stories. Al explains.

+  Understanding World War I as a Religious Crusade (2 segments)

  • Description: Today the world is recognizing Armistice Day, marking the ending of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I. With a total death toll of more than 40 million and incalculable damage and devastation, many have said the so-called “Great War” is really the “Futile War.” Philip Jenkins sees it a different way – as a religious crusade that was an extension of World War II. He joins us.
  • Segment Guests:
    • Philip Jenkins
      Philip Jenkins is Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor University, where he Co-Directs the Program on Historical Studies of Religion. He’s the author of many books including The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade and more recently Fertility and Faith: The Demographic Revolution and the Transformation of World Religions
  • + Articles Mentioned:

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    • The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade

      The Great and Holy War offers the first look at how religion created and prolonged the First World War. At the one-hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of the war, historian Philip Jenkins reveals the powerful religious dimensions of this modern-day crusade, a period that marked a traumatic crisis for Western civilization, with effects that echoed throughout the rest of the twentieth century. The war was fought by the world's leading Christian nations, who presented the conflict as a holy war. Thanks to the emergence of modern media, a steady stream of patriotic and militaristic rhetoric was given to an unprecedented audience, using language that spoke of holy war and crusade, of apocalypse and Armageddon. But this rhetoric was not mere state propaganda. Jenkins reveals how the widespread belief in angels and apparitions, visions and the supernatural was a driving force throughout the war and shaped all three of the major religions—Christianity, Judaism and Islam—paving the way for modern views of religion and violence. The disappointed hopes and moral compromises that followed the war also shaped the political climate of the rest of the century, giving rise to such phenomena as Nazism, totalitarianism, and communism. Connecting numerous remarkable incidents and characters—from Karl Barth to Carl Jung, the Christmas Truce to the Armenian Genocide—Jenkins creates a powerful and persuasive narrative that brings together global politics, history, and spiritual crisis as never before and shows how religion informed and motivated circumstances on all sides of the war. (learn more)

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