Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Post-Christian Culture

I think I like this guy R. Albert Mohler Jr. He's the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, yeah an unlikely ally I realize, but check this out.
The so-called Judeo-Christian consensus of the last millennium has given way to a post-modern, post-Christian, post-Western...
OH... wait. He thinks this is a bad thing. You can go check out the article over at newsweek. It's pretty good. It of course focuses on the 10% decline in self identified christians along with the doubling of unaffiliated folks. Mentions that atheists have quadrupled, I like that it then points out there are twice as many atheists as episcopalians, hehe. Being a cynical bastard I can't help but get a chuckle out of this part either.
many Christians are rediscovering the virtues of a separation of church and state that protects what Roger Williams, who founded Rhode Island as a haven for religious dissenters, called "the garden of the church" from "the wilderness of the world."
That seems about right, church works best if it's separated from the world. When it's forced to interact with reality if often come across as a bit kooky.

Oh and this is why you have to love editors. Here's what it says in the article.
Let's be clear: while the percentage of Christians may be shrinking, rumors of the death of Christianity are greatly exaggerated.
Just one little problem, the name of the article is "The End of Christian America." Then again I did read the article because of it's title so I guess there's two sides to that.

More good shit.
The orthodox tend to try to live their lives in accordance with the general behavioral principles of the Bible (or at least the principles they find there of which they approve)
So true. I'm not done reading this but one thing I have to say is that the author notes that conservative religion is gaining ground while religion as a whole is losing, but doesn't draw the connection between them. The moderate religious folks aren't confrontational, they don't challenge science or try to push their views on others. They're more open to asking questions instead of unquestioned obedience. It's that expectation of unquestioned obedience that has probably driven many from the flock and into the realm of simply "spiritual" there is some sort of higher power looking down on me and thats all I need to know. Those that approve of the unquestioned obedience also tend to want to clash with science. They think they will win because they have a really old book. They simply can't understand that it's a battle they cannot win. You can be sworn into court on a bible but thats about the extent to which it has any sway. They don't seem to understand that courts are about evidence, and so are scientists. Which make sense considering both are looking for the truth in a complex world. Also explains why they use somewhat similar methodology. Science works by coming up with a hypothesis then trying to prove it wrong. In the court each side lays out its story and the other side tries to prove it wrong. Yeah thats and over simplification of both but you get the idea. The point is that science is really good at defending it's theories, thats how they became theories in the first place. If a hypothesis couldn't withstand the most brutal skepticism it wouldn't be a theory and sure wouldn't be in a text book. Religion on the other hand, especially the religion of unquestioned obedience is by definition not used to being cross examined and therefore does not hold up very well. So if religion wants to stay relevant it should really avoid attacking science. The last third of the article is about how religion should stay out of the political arena too which is probably good advice. Although I hate to admit it but if they want to push through some stupid shit they'd be much better off trying to do it through legislation than the courts. Courts require evidence, Legislation only requires a majority of like minded people. But they blew that chance. I could probably continue but I've lost my train of thought and it's lunch time, priorities man. Just one last thing. I'm so glad the author included this line.
Religious doubt and diversity have, however, always been quintessentially American.

No comments: