Mythical Proportions

America is not so generous, free, and innocent as it imagines itself.
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Pepperdine University's Richard T. Hughes tells the American story with a twist. In Myths America Lives By, Hughes seriously considers the views of more than two centuries of deprived African Americans and Native Americans. It's a book that can help Christians rethink their role and mission in American life.

Defining myths as commonly believed narratives, Hughes sets up dialogue between the historical mythmakers and their dissenters regarding myths that have shaped American self-understanding. He claims that Americans can recapture the nobler ideals of the "American Creed" (God-given "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness") and its myths by looking at them through the eyes of America's most potent critics.

Hughes, nationally known as an advocate of integration of faith and learning in Christian higher education, is the author and editor of more than a dozen books, including How Christian Faith Can Sustain the Life of the Mind (Eerdmans, 2001). A hugely influential historian of the Stone-Campbell movement—Christian Churches, Churches of Christ, Disciples of Christ—he wrote the first comprehensive and critical (yet hopeful) history of Churches of Christ, including Reviving the Ancient Faith: The Story of Churches of Christ in America (Eerdmans, 1996). The Stone-Campbell movement is one of the most American of the evangelical denominational families in that it has absorbed some of these myths into its self-understanding.

Each myth, Hughes says, developed during a specific period. The myth that the colonists were a chosen people to possess North America fed the myth of Nature's Nation, born in the revolutionary period, that European white colonists, not Africans or Native Americans, were best fit to effect God's ...

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