Apocalypse: on the psychology of fundamentalism in America

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Beacon Press, 1994 - History - 316 pages
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By some estimates, as many as fifty million Americans believe that the Apocalypse - when God will remake the world, Jesus will return to rule, and only the faithful will survive - is near. In Apocalypse, historian and psychoanalyst Charles B. Strozier offers us a rare and intimate look at some of these millions of Americans living in New York City today. For five years, Strozier conducted in-depth interviews from East Harlem to the Upper East Side. Attending prayer breakfasts, Bible studies, and Sunday services, he encountered people like Monroe, the former business entrepreneur who became a missionary to CEOs; Arlene, the former prostitute; Reverend Charles, the dynamic African American preacher; Wilma, the quiet piano player; and Mary, the trained opera singer, among many others. Whatever their race, gender, or class, all of these New York believers share the expectation that human history as we know it is nearing its end. As Strozier discovered, they also share experiences of great pain in their lives. Personal traumas, whether singular events such as the death of a loved one or ongoing struggles with random violence, poverty, disease, or the threat of ultimate destruction, lead many in America to hope for the transformation of our world through the triumphant return of Jesus. The detailed case studies in the central chapters of this book show us exactly what life circumstances bring people not only to believe in the world's end but actively to anticipate it. Finally, Charles Strozier traces the history of apocalyptic thinking throughout American culture, from the spiritual beliefs of the Hopi to the Civil War days following Lincoln's assassination to the modern-day New Age movement.Far from being a phenomenon that can be dismissed or avoided, Strozier points out, fundamentalist hope for the end may be one kind of response, shared by millions in today's America, to our modern, violent society. This startling book will help believer and skeptic alike to understand better the psychology of fundamentalist thinking in America.

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Apocalypse: on the psychology of fundamentalism in America

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Strozier (history, CUNY) uses psychohistory to examine the apocalyptic outlook of fundamentalists in New York City. He admits to possible bias as a lapsed nominal Christian and to studying a narrow ... Read full review


The Broken Narrative
Ultimate Threats 56
The New Self
Divine Communion
The End at Hand 108
The World and Its Evils 130
The Problem of Endism 153
Jews Israel and the Paradox
The Hopi Way
The Age of Aquarius

A History of American Endism 167

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