Who are we?
Question: What forces have shaped humanity most?
Calvin Trillin: Well obviously at this very moment in history, the forces are religion. I mean among the forces is religion. It gives you some idea of how loony it is to predict the future. If you had asked me in, say, 1960 what’s the future of religion in the United States or in the world, I mean . . . and its influence, not just I, but practically anybody you asked would have said it’s dissipating. It’s . . . In all religions, not just Islam which we knew nothing about really; but in say Christianity. I mean who would think that the Republican presidential contenders would have to pay court to somebody like Pat Robertson who, with Jerry Falwell, agreed that 9/11 took place because God lowered His defensive shield in the United States when He saw what was happening with people from the American way and lesbianism and stuff like that. I mean there aren’t any __________ wackier than that. And who would think that Orthodox Judaism would be the force it is now? I mean it seemed to be disappearing really. So obviously you can’t tell what’s going to happen, and religion is certainly one of the things that has shaped the situation we’re in now.
Recorded on: 9/5/07
Fifty years ago, Trillin would have never thought that religion would become so prominent in American public life.
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