Thursday, December 23, 2010

What can Christians expect of a secular society?

There is a good op-ed piece A Tough Season for Believers in the New York Times by Ross Douthat. Here are a couple of extracts:
University of Virginia sociologist James Davison Hunter’s “To Change the World,” [is] an often withering account of recent Christian attempts to influence American politics and society....
Thanks in part to this bunker mentality, American Christianity has become what Hunter calls a “weak culture” — one that mobilizes but doesn’t convert, alienates rather than seduces, and looks backward toward a lost past instead of forward to a vibrant future. In spite of their numerical strength and reserves of social capital, he argues, the Christian churches are mainly influential only in the “peripheral areas” of our common life. In the commanding heights of culture, Christianity punches way below its weight....
Christians need to find a way to thrive in a society that looks less and less like any sort of Christendom — and more and more like the diverse and complicated Roman Empire where their religion had its beginning, 2,000 years ago this week.
It is great to see such issues being discussed in the "public square".
Indeed, if Western Christians read the book of Revelation we should not find the secular nature of  Christmas or of public policy hard, but to be expected.


  1. I wonder if Douthat would argue for Bonhoeffer's "religionlessness?"

    I think, however, the best that the Church can do is to live more faithfully to the culture of the Eucharist. Living in such a way will have more impact on neighbors and families...bottom up change is the nature of the gospel, i think, rather than "top down." Of course, I could very easily be wrong.

  2. I wonder if Douthat ever looks in the mirror?

    Would he see the Face of God or just his own image?

    That image and its associated carefully cultivated media "personality" reflects and is the entire content of his religiosity.

    What is now called the official Christian church did not exist 2000 years ago, nor was it founded by Jesus.

    Jesus appeared and taught within the tradition of Judaism, although he was essentially a radical outsider. His direct disciples were also Jews. Neither Jesus nor his disciples would have called themselves Christians.

    The entire Christian tradition ABOUT him was created by others, none of whom every met Jesus up close and personal in a living-breathing human form.

    Jesus could not have created the Christian tradition, and certainly not the entire death-and-resurrection doctrine that became the central focus of Christian belief.

    Dead human beings are intrinsically INCAPABLE of creating religions of any kind.

    Meanwhile the word "Jesus" is really just another word which mis-informs the collective TV created junk-mind that now rules American "culture".

    We have now had 1700 years of institutionalized Christian-ISM changing and forcing the entire world into its benighted image. Most often at the point of a sword or via MAXIM guns. The church altogether was always (and still is) a direct participant in the Western imperialist project.

    Yes Christian-ISM. It is an ideology which has always sought to power and control over every one and every thing.

    As a result of all of that the entire world is now effectively in a state of collective psychosis. This is particularly so in the USA, with right-wing Christians being the leading vectors of this psychosis.