The Religious Imagination:

Fear and Fundamentalism in Contemporary American Culture


  • Sally Porterfield



"The Religious Imagination" is an examination of the forces that have come into play in creating the Fundamentalist Christianity that has become a major factor in American public life, politics, and culture. Two archetypes, the Puritan and the Cowboy, have dominated the American imagination since our earliest days, and this paper inquires into the origin of the two models and the ways in which they have become ruling archetypes in our society.  Although the two are very different, each has had a part in making us vulnerable not only to fundamentalism, but to its shadow, hedonism, evidenced in the puer culture that has possessed the country.  The paper suggests that the only way out of the puer aeternus trap is consciousness and growth toward the individuation that is the crux of Jung’s theories.