There are a few far-reaching points that would support an argument that the mainstream media is singling out or "attacking" Christianity, but the majority of examples used in this book suggest that the media depicts religion/Christianity and its followers in ways which are advantageous to the "liberal" media's political agenda. In other words "the media uses [religion] to humanize the left and to demonize the right" is a more appropriate claim than "the Liberal media is attacking Christianity." Therefore pulling out the "objective atheist" card is unnecessary and irrelevant, seeing as this book is merely a Conservative's criticism of the "liberal" media's misuse of religion and is not a defense of Christianity at all. Also it looks very poorly on the author's credibility when the very first footnote in the book reveals 1) that the author incorrectly cites a statistic and 2) that the author deliberately manipulates another statistic to support an argument, when in actuality it undermines this argument. The author states that 80% of American citizens are Christian, then states that "the Christian population in the United States has grown from 159,514,000 to 173,402,000 between 2001 and 2008," and finally ends the paragraph by citing the 2008 ARIS. 1) The 2008 ARIS shows that 75.99% of the population is Christian which if rounded, would be rounded up to the 76th percentile, not the 80th. This four percent gap is a significant inaccuracy, considering that the same survey shows that 3.9% of the total population accounts for all other religions. 2) The fact that the Christian population has grown from 159,514,000 to 173,402,000 between 2001 and 2008 is insignificant in the grand scheme of American religious identification: the total population has also grown between 2001 and 2008.Read more ›
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103 of 144 people found the following review helpful
Could be worse, could be a lot betterMay 25 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
Like most books about current events, this one has a mediocre rating because most people give it either one star or five; which indicates that most of the reviewers (especially those negative) didn't even bother to read the book.
Based on the merits of the book (not the author's politics), I'm going to give the book three stars. It could be worse, but it could be a lot better.
First, it's important to realize that oral and written communications are not the same. When you see Ms Cupp on TV, she can really shoot off at the mouth. Don't get me wrong, I agree with most of her views, and I could watch her all day. But this book has the style of Cupp shooting off at the mouth. And it probably was merely dictated, not composed on a keyboard. The result, when transcribed into written form, is something repetitive, monotonous, meandering, and sometimes contradictory on minor points. For example, on page 14 Cupp states that 80% of our country is Christian; and in the same paragraph says that's 173 million Christians. These figures are repeated elsewhere in the book. With a total population of 300 million, 80% of the country would be about 240 million Christians; or 173 million Christians would be about 58% of the country. Cupp should choose one set of consistent figures and stick with it.
Cupp also misses a few chances to knock the ball out of the park, probably because she composed orally. For example, "when a Mathematica report ... suggested that teenagers who had taken a pledge of abstinence were almost or just as likely to acquire a sexually transmitted disease as those who hadn't pledged, the liberal media jumped on it." (p. 137) Cupp should have followed up by simply saying, even by liberal standards, a pledge is just as effective as most other sex education.
Cupp also falls into the common mode of thinking that anything that's not pro something is automatically anti. I don't doubt that there are elements on the Left trying to destroy Chistianity in the public square. But not all the characters behind all the issues in this book are among them. But enough of them are, and Cupp should have devoted more space to those individuals and their impact.
Then there is the chapter on evolution. Cupp doesn't make the point clearly enough that the percentage of people who ascribe to creationism make it something worth respecting, but not necessarily true. Her harping on the percent of people who believe in it, is like hearing the Left insist that global warming is true because of "consensus." Consensus doesn't make creationism any more true or acceptable than evolution or global warming. The arguments about evolution are not an "attack" on Christianity, because most Christians (as Cupp finally concedes) see no incompatibility between evolution and faith. After pages of defending the case for creationism in the schools, the chapter concludes with the wisdom of Sarah Palin explaining exactly why evolution instead of creationism should be taught in the schools. (This was provided as a defense against attacks on Palin's being anti-science, not as a defense of evolution. So Cupp had gone full circle on the issue. She states that she herself accepts evolution, so perhaps her heart wasn't in the battle.) The whole science v. religion debate is a boring non-starter, continually stoked by extremists on both sides, hoping to rile other extremists.
Another chapter that is completely tangential is that dedicated to the attack on Fox News. This is not directly related to religion at all, so probably deserves no more space than a couple pages or some other quick aside. Yes, the administration and other networks attack Fox News, and in part because Fox doesn't denigrate faith; but such attacks against Fox are not direct attacks on faith. At worst, these might be indirect attacks on faith, but we don't place our Faith in Fox.
While criticizing those who attacked Palin's church or Pentecostal denomination as an irrelevancy, Cupp then devotes several pages to attacking Obama's church or denomination. If we should accept Palin's own statements on her faith, then we have no choice but to judge Obama's faith on his own statements. By lobbing salvos against Obama's religion, Cupp reduced herself and her arguments to the level of those on the Left whom she accuses of causing us to "lose our religion." Her panning of Obama for changing denominations or churches (p. 187) loses much of its bite when she earlier describes Palin's doing much the same (p. 184). If her point is that Palin takes her faith more seriously and changes churches for internal reasons, as opposed to Obama's appearance of changing for political expedience, fair enough. But again, that doesn't require a whole chapter.
Time after time, Cupp pounds the "liberal media" for its influential role in destroying American religion, yet she also (rightly) claims such media are "driven...into financial ruin and ratings obscurity." (p. 169) If the liberal media is so reduced, what do we really have to worry about? If a few dozen Christians can survive and then thrive against the forces of the whole Roman Empire, I don't think they have much to worry about in America yet. In the final analysis, if the country "loses its religion," it will be only because of bad faith formation in the members of our houses of worship. If the next generation is taught to hold and honor its faith and to respect the faith of others, no power on earth will shake it. In other words, Cupp fails to prove the thesis suggested by the book's title; in fact, on the contrary, she says the number of Christians has increased in the 8 year period of 2001 to 2008 by 14 million people. (p. 14)
Cupp's book is not a bad read. It moves along and in places is even fun.This book is mostly one pundit railing against other pundits, and it can disappoint the reader who expects more. However, if you want a more serious work on the title subject, I would recommend David Limbaugh's Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity. Attorney Limbaugh does a thorough job of detailing legal efforts against Christianity by law enforcement agencies, the courts, and other policy implementers. You might also check out The Criminalization of Christianity by Janet Folger, but it's not as comprehensive or balanced as Limbaugh's work.
27 of 37 people found the following review helpful
"I don't believe in God ... But the God I don't believe in is a good God"Oct. 22 2011
Kendal B. Hunter
- Published on Amazon.com
Sarah Elizabeth Cupp is one of the new voices of the younger conservatism. And the even-younger voices of the new conservatism would do well to watch her. He writing style is energetic, quick, occasionally sly, and always pithy. Bloggers should emulate her style. She has it down, and gets the message out, and gets it right--pun sort of intended.
And I appreciate how she does not ape Ann Coulter; she is her own woman.
This book is more than conservative cheer-leading. Of course she says nothing new. But that is the point: "ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls" (Jeremiah 6:16). When conservatives (or the left for that matter--we all do this) read these books, we do it for several purposes. Of course we do need cheer-leading. And the affirmation.
But we also look for new insights. Truth is both old and new. And "old and familiar subjects may be dressed in new clothes; they need not always be presented in the self-same way." We look for new ways of expressing old ideas, and look for new connections between old ideas. So each book is part of continuing education. We get new data--ammunition for intellect.
So now a comment from the Logic Gallery.
Ms. Cupp admits "in the interest of full disclosure" that she is an atheist (10). She is up-front about it. But I'm not sure she see the problem.
In short, this book is a non sequitur, a classic example of "stolen concept" (Philosophy: Who Needs It (The Ayn Rand Library Vol. 1), 22). She is defending something--and defending exuberantly--something she does not believe in.
("If this be hypocrisy, make the most of it")
This is not something unique to Ms. Cupp. Rabbi Daniel Lapin did the same thin earlier in AMERICA'S REAL WAR. He, as an orthodox rabbi, defends the need for traditional Christianity. Also Catholic Bill Bennett called for a Protestant Reformation in Islam (Why We Fight: Moral Clarity and the War on Terrorism).
But there is a danger here. On a fundamental level, Ms. Cupp disagrees with with what she is proclaiming. Read page 16. She criticizes Obama for putting believers and nonbelievers on the same societal footing. "This isn't just an insult to believers. It should also be an insult to nonbelievers, who so militantly insist they are are separate from those kooky God lovers, and intellectually superior to them. Lumping atheists into a group of so-called religious fanatics should be the last thing they want. But it's also an inaccurate comparison. Equating belief with nonbelief is equating apples and oranges."
This paragraph reminds me of the discussion Yossarian and Mrs Scheisskopf have: "I don't believe in God ... But the God I don't believe in is a good God, a just God, a merciful God. He's not the mean and stupid God you make him out to be." (Catch-22: 50th Anniversary Edition, 224).
"Loosing Our Region"? But Ms. Cupp has already lost hers!
Part of the problem is that Ms. Cupp wants to have it both ways. She wants the mileage that a person gets from being an atheist (Bertrand Russell comes to mind). But she also want the mileage that comes from religion, and Christianity. And this indecision gets her into trouble. She tries to defend Michelle Bacchman's husband's clinic (Martin Bashir interview July 13, 2011). She says it is based on junk science, but still defends her. She defends junk science.
There are also the nagging weaknesses of atheism (Real Face of Atheism, The, The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus). One is the problem of proving a negative-0-violating the law of identity. The other is that when she gets pressed, she starts talking "soft agnosticism" (See her interview on MoxNewsDotCom where she confesses she is envious of religion people, has a degree in religious studies, and she aspires to be a person of faith one day, and would never vote for an atheist.).
Here the danger. Religion--Christianity--can merely become a tactic. We embrace the faith, not because it is true, but because it is both historical and useful. So there is no truth, just rock-star pundits with silver tongues and acid sound bites.
C. S. Lewis warned that there is a danger of seeing Christianity as merely "good" (or we might add useful) as opposed to being true (God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics, "Christian Apologetic"). He also added that "I think we must attack wherever we meet it the nonsensical idea that mutually exclusive propositions about God can both be true." This includes Ms. Cupp's idea that although she doesn't believe in God, she finds belief in Him useful.
It's Mrs Scheisskopf again: "I don't believe in God ... But the God I don't believe in is a good God."
And there is the existential aspect to Ms. Cupp.
Krister Stendahl spoke of "holy envy," or recognizing "elements in the other religious tradition or faith that you admire and wish could, in some way, be reflected in your own religious tradition or faith." If Ms. Cupp is doing this, then we congratulate her for seeing good, admiring it, and trumpeting it.
The second comes from logic. If she squares herself with the laws of identity, excluded middle, and non-contradiction, she should be fine. She sees something in the so-called "God Hypothesis." The question will be if she makes the leap.
There is hope. But will she practice what she preached?
19 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Crocodile Tears of a Credulous MoronNov. 26 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
For a conservative pundit, S E Cupp is on the saner and more circumspect end of the scale. Reading this book will enlighten you as to how little that's actually saying - she's still crazy. And when I say crazy, I don't mean crazy in the screamy, invective-spewing, marginally entertaining manner in which fellows-in-indeological-arms like Glenn Beck or Ann Coulter are crazy. I'm talking the definition of crazy you use when just coming out and saying "stupid" doesn't seem to quite cover it. For starters, she begins her book (well, after the sickeningly fatuous foreword by Mike Huckabee, which you should feel free to skip if you want for some reason to read this book)by citing something Fidel Castro said about faith that actually has nothing to do with anything she goes on to write about in the book. Apparently she's trying to make the argument that the "liberal media" has declared war on the Christian faith in American life and that "faith" in...well, something...is their primary motivator for doing this. She likes the analogy so much that she reiterates it in the concluding chapter without having bothered to explain its significance in her argument.
What Cupp does not do, at any juncture in this book, is fulfill the promise of its second-line title and actually explain WHY she thinks "the media" - a spurious phrase apparently meant to encompass not just news outlets but reality TV, popular culture, and most of the internet - is conspiring against Christianity in America. Her writing is heavily reminiscent of that of an idiot from the other end of the spectrum, anti-porn klaxon and middle-aged hysteric Gail Dines, in that it is almost exclusively anecdotal, needlessly verbose, and hilariously alarmist. Or to put it in the words of a better scribe, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. It is nothing more than moral panic half-heartedly disguised as social analysis, replacing hard data with a fanatically-held belief of the author.
Cupp describes herself as "An atheist who would someday like to be a person of faith". What the hell does this even mean? Is she hoping she can hone her already considerable credulity to a fine point and abandon critical thinking? Or does she mean to say she hopes ultimate proof of a God someday emerges, in which case faith would no longer even be required? On balance, this nonsensical self-assessment gives its own lie away, and makes the book ring even further insincere. It's also another reason for me to deem S E Cupp crazy.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
AmateurishJuly 28 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
Amateurish, uninformed and lacks the level of knowledge that a reasoned rebuttal to the liberal media would require. Details best explained in previous reviews so I won't rehash. This author should go back to school and acquire some writing and reasoning skills.
14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?Nov. 12 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
I don't think that S.E Cupp is an atheist, as anyone should be able tell from reading this book. She makes no sense most of the time and constantly attacks the left as if she was paid to do so. It's like she has a grudge on atheists, even though she claims to be an atheist herself. Does this sound odd?
It really ticks me off that someone should have the nerve to write such a book bashing atheists so badly and at the same time defending religion so ardently. Why in the world would an atheist be so militant in defending not only religion, but also the concept of God?
My ten bucks would have been better used for buying myself a small pierogi roll, and hitting myself in the head every time I think of reading a book from S.E Cupp...