© 2010

Dreaming of Eden

American Religion and Politics in a Wired World

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Introduction Taking a Big Byte out of a Wired World

    1. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite
      Pages 1-15
  3. Dreaming of Eden

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 17-17
    2. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite
      Pages 19-34
    3. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite
      Pages 35-53
  4. The Danger of Innocence

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 55-55
    2. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite
      Pages 57-77
    3. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite
      Pages 79-94
    4. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite
      Pages 95-114
  5. A Better Story

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 115-115
    2. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite
      Pages 117-137
    3. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite
      Pages 139-157
    4. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite
      Pages 159-176
    5. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite
      Pages 177-197
  6. A Better Story

    1. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite
      Pages 199-220
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 221-228

About this book


In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were tempted to take a bite out of an apple that promised them the "knowledge of good and evil." Today, a shiny apple with a bite out of it is the symbol of Apple Computers. The age of the Internet has speeded up human knowledge, and it also provides even more temptation to know more than may be good for us. Americans have been right at the forefront of the digital revolution, and we have felt its unsettling effects in both our religions and our politics. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite argues that we long to return to the innocence of the Garden of Eden and not be faced with countless digital choices. But returning to the innocence of Eden is dangerous in this modern age and, instead, we can become wiser about the wired world.


America climate climate change culture god idea Iraq media media culture politics religion torture

About the authors

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite is a Professor of Theology and former President of Chicago Theological Seminary. An ordained minister of the United Church of Christ for over 30 years, she has authored and edited numerous works including Dreaming of Eden: American Religion and Politics in a Wired World , Sex, Race and God: Christian Feminism in Black and White , Lift Every Voice: Constructing Christian Theologies from the Underside (co-editor) and Interfaith Just Peacemaking: Alternatives to War (co-editor). Dr. Thistlethwaite is a frequent media commentator on religion and public events. She is a Fellow of the Center for American Progress Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative, and serves as a trustee of Faith in Public Life, and the Interfaith Youth Core.

Bibliographic information


"Dreaming of Eden is a fascinating story about stories - how elemental religious narratives about human nature and lost innocence shape our politics and culture in a digital age.Rather than relying on ancient texts or church doctrine, Thistlethwaite explains how Americans today are creating a new public theology to help find meaning in their lives and make decisions about complex political issues in a world of rapid-fire information and popular culture.Anyone interested in the intersection of religion, politics, and media will find much wired wisdom in her new book." - John D. Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress

"This book is a powerful and prophetic work of public theology for our idolatrous times. The myth of American innocence is not only childish - it also is dangerous!" - Cornel West, Princeton University; author of Race Matters and Keeping Faith: Philosophy and Race in America

"The topic of Dreaming of Eden is important, and the author is a well-known theologian who has helped readers think through religio-political issues for some time. . . .The book's solid cultural contribution is the reread of the mythology of Eden through a contemporary media lens and the juxtaposition of political and social events with theological insights and media. . . .Summing up: Recommended." - CHOICE