Modern Christianity has proven itself ineffective against combatting virtually every point of the leftist agenda. Whether the issue is defending the family against divorce, opposing same-sex marriage, fighting feminism, or protecting religious liberty, the Christian churches are always on the losing side. Why is modern Christianity so weak?
But Isn’t All Religion Irrelevant?
Before I begin, let me anticipate one objection. If you are an atheist or an agnostic, you may be asking, “why should I care about Christianity? Isn’t all religion irrelevant?”
It’s a fair question. The answer is that religion is always part of the human experience. If a society loses its faith in its predominant religion, something else replaces it. In ancient Rome, a loss of faith in the Roman gods led to the spread of various cults.
In modern civilization, a loss of faith in Christianity has not resulted in a society where people have adopted pure logic as the sole rule of their lives. Instead, after they lose their faith most people adopt leftist causes with a religious fervor that makes a snake-handling Christian Pentecostal seem like a paragon of reason.
If you don’t believe me, try gently suggesting to the average SJW that global warming does not have an anthropogenic cause or that Caitlyn Jenner is really a man, and see what their reaction is.
Regardless of whether we like it or not, Christianity is the religion of the West. If it were healthy, our culture would never have reached this degenerate state of affairs. To make any headway against the current decline, we’ll need to understand how Christianity arrived at this point.
The Age Of Aquarius
The 1960s represent a watershed for Christianity. At the time, communism was spreading throughout the world, and it appeared to be impregnable. There were many voices predicting that it would be communism, not the capitalist West, that would own the future. Christian leaders were not unaffected by the idea that communism would be triumphant. Many of them came to see communism, with its focus on equality, economic fairness, and solidarity, as the fulfillment of Christianity.
It is difficult for us to grasp how anyone could have held such a wrongheaded view. We know that Soviet and Chinese-style communism was a brutal, godless, ineffective system that crushed both the body and soul of its people. But these misguided Christian leaders strongly believed that the success of communism was an indictment of traditional Christianity’s emphasis on salvation and holiness.
To correct what they saw as a defect in Christianity, they reoriented the Christian message away from teaching personal morality and instead focused on teaching social justice—things like eradicating racism, oppression of women, economic redistribution, and the equality of all religions. In other words, they shifted the goal of Christianity from being a heavenly kingdom to striving for a utopia in this world. Does any of this sound familiar?
Of course, not all Christian groups were affected by this nonsense. The biggest effect was on the large, mainstream denominations. Some mainline Protestant churches were almost completely taken over. The Catholic Church suffered major incursions of this philosophy resulting in a rift between the old guard traditional Catholics and the new social justice wing that persists to this day.
It is easy to blame Christian leaders for the wimpiness of modern Christianity, but the fact is that rank and file believers also share the blame. Frequently, Christians do not demonstrate any changes in their lives that flow from their belief. They’ve become soft Christians: they are Christian up to the point where they are asked to sacrifice something because of their belief. At that point, they simply capitulate.
This softness manifests in lots of different ways. There is the example of the conservative Christian mommy blogger Jenny Erikson who appears to have divorced her husband for no good reason. But it also shows up in theology. For example, the embrace of doctrine of “the rapture” seems to be nothing more than a way for Christians to lull themselves into thinking that they can never be victims of persecution. I’m afraid these Christians might be in for a rude shock in the next decade or two.
Most Christians are woefully ignorant of the reasons for their beliefs. Most of the blame can be laid at the feet of the clergymen who fail to teach anything during their sermons, but lay people are guilty too. After all, how hard is it to pick up a book to understand what you believe and why you believe it?
This means that most believers are getting their theology from the New York Times and the Daily Show. They are getting caricatures of Christian doctrine instead of the real thing. Is it any wonder that they are suckers for the SJW point of view?
But the ignorance of Christian doctrine also presents a big opportunity. I was recently at a party where a woman was attacking some point of Catholic doctrine, but her understanding was completely wrong. Because I happen to know a bit of Catholic theology I felt obligated to correct her misunderstanding.
I did it rather sharply (shame on me) because I thought she was deliberately distorting things. She surprised me because she actually reversed herself when she learned what the Catholic Church really taught. We chatted for a long time and at the end of the conversation, she thanked me and said that this was the first time anyone had explained things to her.
In our day, Christianity has a reputation for being wimpy and liberal. There are even men who think that it is intrinsically weak, and that it is Christianity that is the actual cause of the decline of Western civilization. They propose that Christianity be replaced by some other religion. The usual suggestion is a religion that involves Odin, Thor, and runes.
But modern Christianity is an aberration. In most epochs, Christians were cut from a stronger cloth. For example, St. Nicholas (we know him as Santa Claus) was so opposed to false teaching that he punched the heretical bishop Arius in the face during the council of Nicea.
Knights, such as the crusader Godfrey of Bouillon, and the great military orders of the Knights Templar and the Knights Hospitaller demonstrate that there is no opposition between being a Christian and being a warrior. And a whole host of martyrs from St. Stephen to Jim Eliot and the Copts beheaded by ISIS prove that weakness is not Christianity’s default condition.
Ultimately, it is up to individual Christians to choose whether they will swim against the current or become increasingly irrelevant. Despite abundant evidence to the contrary, I am optimistic that a significant number of believers will choose the former option.
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