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Cathedral Forum: “The Death of Satan and The Real American Dream”

Parishioner and journalist Joe Coyle discusses two books written in the late 1990s by Columbia University Professor Andrew Delbanco. The first posits that “the repertoire of evil has never been richer; yet never have our responses been so weak.” Delbanco traces this to the decline of our moral imagination and argues that correcting that failure will involve “some reinvigorated sense of sin.” The second book follows the change of the meaning of hope contained in the phrase “American dream”. Over time, it has morphed from a sense of God to one of nation to one of self. A consciousness of sin, he believes, has been lost in the process and with it a true sense of hope. The opposite of hope, he believes, is melancholy, which he sees as the state of our times. Delbanco, though himself a secular intellectual, argues that a merely secular project cannot raise us back from melancholy to hope. Two decades on, his concerns seem more timely than ever.

Sunday, November 4, 9:45am in the Library of the American Cathedral. 


The Cathedral Forum is a weekly lecture series with topics that range from theology, politics and spirituality to economics and literature. The forum regularly features prominent speakers from academia, the media, and journalism.

Earlier Event: November 2
All Saints Concert, November 2
Later Event: November 4
All Saints Sunday, November 4