Jody Bottum’s new essay at The Weekly Standard explores the way religious themes are emerging in some of the most radically secularized movements of our time. He observes that “white privilege” has become the modern equivalent of original sin. Political correctness includes the “shunning” of sinners, akin to that practice by sects such as the Amish and Jehovah’s Witnesses. He notices that book burning has returned. The apocalyptic nature of radical environmentalism allows its advocates to abandon the practices that are part of normal life, in favor of taking radical measures to deal with the impeding end of the world as we know it.
This is all very interesting, and no doubt, mostly correct. I feel called to add to Bottum’s point, however. I take as my starting point, the unapologetic position that Christianity is true, and that the Church is not just another political or social institution. Accordingly, I believe that each and every person has a desire for God, implanted into their hearts by God. The desire for Truth, Goodness and Beauty are all manifestations of that desire.
This is why the attempt to create Christianity without Christ has failed. It is why the further attempt to eliminate all vestiges of Christianity has not worked either. Even its enemies cannot resist using Christian tools. Almost in spite of itself, the modern world smuggles Christian concepts back into society.
Even more pointedly, Bottum asserts that the modern world uses these Christian concepts but without the coherence and systematizing of Christianity. So for example, the secular version of the public shunning of sinners does not include any Read more…