If Catholicism perpetuates itself, why is it dead in Europe? It’s certainly doomed in Mexico, for the same reason it was doomed in Western Europe by 1970: People that are fundamentally hostile to everything the Christian faith are entirely in control of all the civic institutions which form children’s minds.
We like to make fun of fundamentalists for panicking about gay marriage, but there is one simple truth: If you can’t believe that chastity, fidelity, and continence are virtues, then you can’t believe in the Christian faith. Period. If you find yourself choking on the word “marriage” because you think it is fundamentally awful that the word has never included same-sex couples, you’re not long for the Church.
That would be fine, except that 90% of children spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, having their moral and intellectual character shaped by that. You can’t survive that kind of attrition rate.
It doesn’t matter what evangelicalism splits into, because those groups will be like the Amish: cultural oddities that are so tiny as to be relevant to no one and nothing.
I think the only thing that might save Christianity is that secular progressivism is a parasitic faith. It needs a particular kind of host civilization to feed on, a liberal one that already is founded on the idea that “equality” and “openness” and some kind of “tolerance” are moral, because it is based on a kind of reductio ad absurdum of those ideas. Progressives are like Shakers; they reproduce primarily via conversion, not procreation. Once they have finished converting everyone, they simply die out and are repopulated by some other civilization organized in a manner fundamentally hostile to its base ideas (generally one that the progressives enthusiastically imported). Progressivism feeds of liberalism, but it can’t sustain it.
People love to point back to Nero’s persecutions, but of course while Christianity took over pagan Rome, pagan Egypt, pagan Levant, and pagan Gaul, it accomplished no such thing in Muslim Arabia or any other Muslim land. And it never will, because unlike paganism, Islam has natural antibodies to Christianity. Roman paganism had no jihad principle.
Another option is that Western civilization will collapse into some kind of stable core in America that will rebuild. Europe, of course, is lost.
Jason Blair writes:
Christianity in America is/was/will-ever-be changing. We’re in the middle of it, and can’t see the endgame. We’ll still try to look ahead at where things are going, though. I’m sure I’m wrong, but what I see:
Mainlines won’t necessarily die off, but they’ll continue to free-fall. Those left will either end up in progressive social clubs (i.e. act like unitarians and the UCC) or leave for something new.
Evangelicalism is doomed, but their decline is far enough behind the mainlines that they don’t see it yet. They’re moving toward one of the following: Conservatives (Fundamentalists and Neo-Puritans), Charismatics (who will split into conservative and liberal factions), HappyFunBalls (Megas and Osteen-like), and something new.
Catholicism is a world-wide machine that will contine to perpetuate itself.
The Orthodox are a tiny movement that will continue to exist in some form.
Some Anglican derivatives will keep on keepin’ on, but many will drift to the mainline progressives or something new.
The nutjobs are always out there, and will continue. They will remain the media’s go-to examples for all of the above.
So what is the “something new?” I don’t know, but I think that some of the people who end up ther are the kind I’ll end up hanging with. That said, I’m no prophet, so I’ll try to follow Jesus while it all shakes out.
As for the tiresome conflict of ideologies between conservatives/progressives/etc., our culture constantly shifts and changes. As long as people keep chasing after human ideologies, they’ll continue to screw up societies. American conservativism is eating itself. Progressivism, especially the feminist contingent, is having its 15 minutes. Once its flaws start to have their effect, it’ll fail like everything else.
I really don’t feel much like writing much anymore, anywhere. The Social Justice Warriors are going to get everything they want. While we fret about being forced to host gay weddings, they’re already teeing up transexualism as the next civil rights crusade. I can’t wait for the first discrimination lawsuit to hit the courts because a guy in a dress asked out a normal guy, who told him “Sorry, I only date women.”
Europe’s deliberately sacrificing itself to the Islamic horde because they feel so incredibly guilty about existing. Britain can’t even bring itself to prosecute child sex slavers because they don’t want to offend Islam.
Oh, did I say something about Islam? Let’s add to it that no one is ever allowed to say anything about Islam that isn’t positively glowing. That’s why Islamic countries are such awfully nice, tolerant, peaceful places to live.
No one’s having kids because sex is fun and sterilizing ourselves is grand.
The NPV of the United States government’s liabilities is larger than the entire economy of the world.
I’m supposed to act like every man is a rapist and all rapes are every man’s fault, and this crime that is as old as the human race could be eliminated if only white males weren’t so mean, and if I don’t agree with that, I’m a “rape apologist.”
The President does things that make Nixon look like the Blessed Virgin Mary of Catholic myth, and no one cares.
Christianity in America’s going to die off.
I hate everything and everyone.
Bill MacKinnon writes:
So imagine you are sitting in a doctor’s waiting room. When he calls your name, he’s going to tell you whether or not you have cancer. Your mind is racing with questions. If I have it, will I do chemo? Radiation? How will I tell the kids? How curable is this kind of cancer these days? What does WebMD say? What does this mean for my career?
Then you see the doctor. You don’t have cancer. It’s not that all your questions were answered, it’s just that they don’t matter anymore.
All of life is a waiting room. When Jesus comes back, we’ll step out of ourselves and into the light and exclaim, “O my God! Everything I was worrying about for 90 years was bullshit!”
NT Wright also thinks the UN is a great force for good in the world.
All the world’s a conspiracy, if you believe those who are in the business of selling tinfoil hats.
I’d rather be with NT Wright’s cabbie: if God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, all the rest is basically rock’n’roll.
This is a good article:
One-sentence summary of the argument: Once the state no longer has to recognize your marriage and family, the state no longer has to respect the existence of your marriage and family.
Shea, never heard of him, or it. Let us know what you think, though. Sooner or later I’ll get through my book pile and be able to buy some more.
A Twitterer who shall not be named linked a post this morning with an Orthodox perspective on the recent Gospel Coalition brouhaha over sanctification.
Looking at the Gospel Coalition debate from an Orthodox perspective, what’s missing is not whether a life of obedience is required once we are baptized or converted, but rather what that obedience looks like. And for Orthodox Christians, that life of obedience is a life of true repentance. One where even the holiest saints end their lives with sorrow: the apostle Paul as the “chief” of sinners, and St. Sisoes the Great who desired yet another day to repent.
These two men were not lacking in true sanctification, but were in truth exhibiting sanctification in its purest form: an awareness of sin.
Whaddaya think? I’m not so sure that it’s fair to characterize Paul as ending his life with sorrow – he at least balances it out with joy quite a bit – but a focus on repentance combined with a realization of grace seems like a quite practical path for believers.
Reading this book by Steven Paulson. I like it. Anybody in here familiar with him?