Straight White American Jesus

A podcast on religion and politics hosted by Daniel Miller and Bradley Onishi, ex-ministers who are now scholars of religion.

Magical Thinking Is Going to Kill Us All

What is power? How can power be yielded in helpful and harmful ways?

Brad is joined by Dr. Stephen Backhouse, an international scholar, speaker, and podcaster. They discuss the idea of magical thinking – not in the sense of sleight of hand tricks – but in the sense of trying to bend other peoples’ wills towards yours. This form of power yielding is a zero-sum game – one in which either I win and you lose, or vice versa. There is no room for dialogue, compromise, or cooperation. The goal is vanquishing the other in order to dominate.

As Dr. Backhouse explains, this form of power often overtakes institutions, governments, and churches. We see it today in the rising authoritarianisms of Brazil, Hungary, and the USA. It is also rampant in Christian nationalist churches that have accepted the mission of having dominion over the earth in God’s name.

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