A strange, creepy piece appeared recently in the Washington Post. It was disingenuously and lugubriously entitled: “What Will Christendom Look Like When It Is Almost Entirely Scrubbed of Christ?”
You know America’s moral exhaustion is complete when WAPO feels it necessary to attempt to shore up the disintegrating Christian foundation of the West. Even so, dishonest questions are sometimes the best ones to honestly ask.
The author, a Catholic apologist and apparent convert, does not touch on the historical Jesus, or the allegedly risen Christ. Instead, she deviously defends the Christian tradition, using the word five times in some form.
For example, there is the agonistically circular idea that “secular liberal morality owes to Christianity the very values that are now undermining religious traditionalism throughout the West.”
If nothing else, such labyrinthine logic attests to the fact that wards, if not wardens of the Catholic Church, and for that matter the Christian tradition, demands that defenders of the faith become as jesuitical as any Jesuit priest ever was.
Sneakily, the WAPO columnist rhetorically asks: “Does WEIRDness (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic) need a certain amount of old-fashioned morality to keep it from spinning into insanity?”
Responding to a dishonest question with an honest one, it’s fair to ask: Do reasonable people have to now presume that conservative politicians, religious figures and commentators are coming from some degree of projection?
Risibly, we’re told that secular liberals are “merely completing the revolution started by men of God such Augustine of Hippo.” Further, that “WEIRD institutions such as the welfare state will most assuredly break down” without “certain key virtues of Christianity, whatever its faults.” That’s desperately grasping at spiritual straws.
“The secular left sounds suspiciously religious when it talks about social justice.” Is followed by the non sequitur, “Should we do without religion? Can we?”
To a conservative Christian traditionalist the answer is self-evident: “Humans were neither created nor evolved to be truly self-sufficient.” That manages to be both disingenuous on the face of it, and have it both ways.
If the writer was honest, the complete sentence would read, ‘Created in the image of God, and evolved as tribal creatures in need of traditions to hold us together.’
Truthfully taking up both questions, let’s ask the first: What would Christendom look like when it is almost entirely scrubbed of Christ?
‘Christendom’ itself is a loaded word, but if we take it to mean Western civilization, then the answer cuts both ways. On one hand, we have the answer—a culture wrought by Christianity and suffering from its collapse, marked by “an epidemic of loneliness and deaths of despair.”
On the other hand, since the spiritual impulse and search for meaning is universal, and can and must distinguished from the theological constructions and the constrictions of organized religion, we may be on the cusp of a true inward, religious revolution.
Christians fail to make the distinction between Jesus and Christ. Of course if they did, they would cease to be Christians, much less Roman Catholics.
It’s right to ask, was Jesus not fully infused with Christ-consciousness until he expired? After all, he uttered a cri de coeur that echoes through the ages, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
However the writer of the WAPO screed inanely tweets, “If you don’t believe in the real presence, why stay in the Catholic Church? Why not just become a protestant?” (Telltale caps hers.)
To people awakening their capacity for mystical experiencing, “real presence” does not mean, as it does for Catholics, “that Christ is really present in the Eucharist.” Having been raised in that humbug, but seeing it as juvenile and ending it with my teen years, the “real presence” has nothing to do with rituals and traditions, which are obstacles to direct experiencing of he numinous.
That, I’m sure, is what Jesus taught, not the inverted claptrap of Peter and Paul grappling with the failure of his mission on one hand, and his faithfulness as a divinely inspired human being on the other. Therefore what the so-called secular left needs is to become more, not less “suspiciously religious.”
In the end, it is the worst kind of lie to say, “Humans were neither created nor evolved to be self-sufficient.”
Inwardly that is exactly how we can be an expression of creation, and why we evolved as potentially intelligent beings. Truly, God helps those who help themselves.
We don’t need the hypocrisy of religions and the rot of traditions. Let them go. They are dead and gone anyway.