I believe in Judaism, but I don’t want to see a religious court developed in place of a secular one.
As an American, I appreciate the symbolism of the Jordan River as depicted or used in the Torah, but my river is the Potomac and my soul altogether American.
_God is Red_ by (Native American) Vine Deloria, Jr. makes an interesting case in regard to the relationship between a land and its people.
Those “internal variables and functions” operate with and through language over a base of emotional turmoil and valence.
In “Attitude-Behavior Correspondence” studies (at least back in the 1980s), for some, “Attitude = Belief x (Affect x Intensity) / Primacy”. What needs looking at are the arrangements of multiple beliefs. In survey form with the Likert scale, “Do you believe in God?” (1 = Not At All, 5 = As Strongly as Possible” becomes one question and “Do you believe that Muslims can never be friends with Christians and Jews” (1 = Completely Disagree, 5 = Completely Agree).
Add 38 more questions, distribute to 150 students on one campus somewhere, apply regression analysis to the response set, and see how “beliefs” — or statements about beliefs — correlate with one another.
Recapitulate on another campus.
Recapitulate with another age group.
Such studies can go on a while, but I would suggest that through social science and other methods, one will find certain beliefs, like the belief in God, primary, and other beliefs, like that having to do with not being friends, either dismissible (“completely disagree”) or minimized in the mind of the surveyed subject, and, when aggregated (through survey method), also minimized.
“Attitude = Belief x (Affect x Intensity) / Primacy” may be the BackChannel’s author’s own addition to the more customary configuration, “Attitude = Belief x Affect”. It simply adds in the intensity of good or bad feeling (“affect”) about a belief and it recognizes that some of what we believe about our existence — start with one’s own name, which is fairly “low level” or basic in the programming of our own personalities — may be more dear to us than other aspects of an object, including ourselves as our own possession.
As regards an “American religion” — might there be such a thing? — BackChannels may turn some attention to revisiting early American literature and the classic visitor commentaries.
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