Do you find the story perplexing in any way?

Watch the short intro video just to get your feet wet. Read #1. I suggest you start with reading Lecture 1, then skip to the video God in America Episode 1 “A New Adam” (#2), then go back to PDF #1 and read Lecture 4. Please note that a document with my overview of PDF Lecture 1 is provided at the bottom of the Unit 4 Folder. In your Discussion Board for this Unit, share several takeaways from each of the two PDF lectures and also from the PBS video God in America Episode 1. Above all, what surprised you and what especially caught your interest? How do the PDF lectures and the PBS video overlap or contrast (if you notice anything along those lines)? What has been distinctive, according to these assigned materials, about religious traditions in America? Do you feel, even a little bit, that the roots of American religious experience are present in our contemporary culture (there will be more on this question in the last items below!)? Read #3, the short story “Young Goodman Brown.” Read it through, even if you don’t fully understand what is going on. THEN, read #4, Arnold Weinstein’s PDF lecture about the author of that short story, Nathaniel Hawthorne. What tools does Weinstein give us for understanding America’s religious past? Can literature give us clues to the ongoing operations and presence of religious traditions down into recent times? Does the story “Young Goodman Brown” offer entertainment and insight (with our without Weinstein’s helpful pointers)? Do you find the story perplexing in any way? What does it mean that Brown’s religious faith and his confidence in his wife and neighbors seem to be shaken by his night-time experience recounted in the story? Finally, read #5 & #6. You will need to comment substantively about ONE of these articles in the Discussion Board. These are two opinion articles about the significance of religious traditions and beliefs in our current moment as a nation. The article (#6) is from last week. Molly Worthen’s NYTimes opinion essay (#5) addresses what has been called the “post-truth” moment with which our society is now confronted. Does the abandonment of factuality and “truth” trouble you at all? Is there something in this Unit that gives you insight into why segments of the American people may be especially susceptible to, or attracted to, truth-defying speech and truth-defying behavior? What insights does Worthen give, with this article, to help us come to terms with how and why people can orient in the world in such divergent and even contradictory ways? Both of the articles try to give an account of how we have arrived at this moment in time. Your Discussion Board takeaways should put some focus on those interpretations….. . Arguably, the PBS video God in America, the short story by Hawthorne, and even the recent opinion articles #5 & #6 give insight into the roots of the diversity or even fragmentation of the American religious landscape, as well as how these religious orientations and divisions progressed to a point where there is a lack of basic agreement on what is happening (what is fact, what is real), and vocal minorities are comfortable altering the consensus on things like the separation of church and state and even what it means to be a patriotic and law-abiding American. intro video: #1: attached (American religious history) #2: #3: Attached (young Goodman brown) #4: attached (learn us) #5: attached (evangilical) #6:–thats-over-so-what-do-we-do-now/ extra: attached AMS 111

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