I’m reading a book written by Harold Bloom called The American Religion. It’s a very interesting book, about what Bloom (a religious and literary critic) terms “American Gnosticism”: religion totally separated from tradition and history.
Bloom gives two examples of this sort of sentiment: the Mormon Church, and the Southern Baptists. Although both sects are rather dissimilar, their similarities are certainly striking. The Jesus they worship is not the Jesus of the icons, the Jesus of tradition, but rather a Jesus before His Ascension, teaching them (His true Apostles) gnosis.
Although Dr. Bloom’s views (he describes himself as a “Jewish Gnostic”) are a bit off-kilter, and his leftist bias is apparent (writing during the Bush I administration, he laments that a Democrat will never be elected president) I think this is a very valuable book.
The blogger of note Pontificator (an Episcopalian priest) wrote a good review of the book.