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Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics


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bad-religion-how-we-became-a-nation-of-heretiJason Clark:

Jason Clark

4/12/12

 

Interesting review by Tim Keller about a book due for release later this month, 'Bad Religion: How we became a Nation of Rebels', by Ross Douthat.

 

Whilst the book focuses on why Christianity has declined in influence in the USA, it seems to hold some correlations for the UK. Tim Keller summarises Douthat's 5 main social catalysts (since the 1960s) for decline as:

 

(Snip)

 

5) The fifth factor is—that all the other four factors had their greatest initial impact on the more educated and affluent classes, the gatekeepers of the main culture-shaping institutions such as the media, the academy, the arts, the main foundations, and much of the government and business world.

 

Q & A: Ross Douthat on Rooting Out Bad Religion

 

 


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logicnreason

Interesting is that word "heretic"!

 

It has been used for more than 2,000 years to identify those whose beliefs were "different" from those who were (or are) considered "mainstream".

 

Or, if the "mainstreamers" were beginning to slip a bit, then it was used to identify "those who are picking on us"!

 

Funny thing is....the "heretics" didn't then, and don't now - well - "feel" heretical!

 

Hell, back in the day, the early "christians" were the heretics! It took more than 300 years (more than the entire life of the United States of America) and an emperor to swing that around! Of course, it didn't hurt that this here emperor was the head of the heavyweight military force in the area! All at once, the "heretics" were mainstream, and those who had been "mainstream" were now heretics....and in a very little time, it seemed that more heretics were popping up everywhere!

 

And it has ever been thus!

 

I take exception to Mr. Douthat....we are NOT a nation of "heretics".

 

We are very much a nation of believers! Strong, staunch, militant believers.

 

Of course, we all don't believe the same thing, now do we?

 

As a sidelite, the use of the term "creator" in the Declaration of Independence is very - well - "creative". Note that the writer didn't use the term "god", "jesus", "christ", "mohammed", "buddah", etc!!

 

CREATOR....as whomever and however all you "heretics" want to define the term!!

 

It is supposed that goes hand-in-hand with "freedom of religion", but that can wait for another time.

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That's an interesting read. Europe is dramatically outpacing the US on the path toward becoming mostly secular. Which is even more striking because every little European village is centered around a beautiful and usually ancient church. Most of those churches now are basically empty, cold places. Which in many respects, is also true of modern European culture. You don't sense a lot of hope there. People are mostly just living. Get up, go to work, go home, repeat, die.

I don't think this path is unexpected though. Things aren't going to get better before they get REALLY good. So I guess we're on the expected path.

We all make choices. The rest of the world can do what it wants. I'm sticking with Joshua 24:15.

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logicnreason

That's an interesting read. Europe is dramatically outpacing the US on the path toward becoming mostly secular. Which is even more striking because every little European village is centered around a beautiful and usually ancient church. Most of those churches now are basically empty, cold places. Which in many respects, is also true of modern European culture. You don't sense a lot of hope there. People are mostly just living. Get up, go to work, go home, repeat, die.

I don't think this path is unexpected though. Things aren't going to get better before they get REALLY good. So I guess we're on the expected path.

We all make choices. The rest of the world can do what it wants. I'm sticking with Joshua 24:15.

 

I don't think anyone at the time thought to ask old Joshua how he defined "Lord"

 

Wish they had....

 

Might have made a "heretic" out of him....depending.

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That's an interesting read. Europe is dramatically outpacing the US on the path toward becoming mostly secular. Which is even more striking because every little European village is centered around a beautiful and usually ancient church. Most of those churches now are basically empty, cold places. Which in many respects, is also true of modern European culture. You don't sense a lot of hope there. People are mostly just living. Get up, go to work, go home, repeat, die.

I don't think this path is unexpected though. Things aren't going to get better before they get REALLY good. So I guess we're on the expected path.

We all make choices. The rest of the world can do what it wants. I'm sticking with Joshua 24:15.

 

I don't think anyone at the time thought to ask old Joshua how he defined "Lord"

 

Wish they had....

 

Might have made a "heretic" out of him....depending.

I don't think anyone had to ask Joshua for his definition. He always made that very clear. Hence his name.

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Interesting is that word "heretic"!

 

 

I take exception to Mr. Douthat....we are NOT a nation of "heretics".

 

We are very much a nation of believers! Strong, staunch, militant believers.

 

Of course, we all don't believe the same thing, now do we?

 

 

Q & A: Ross Douthat on Rooting Out Bad Religion

What do you mean when you say we're facing the threat of heresy?

 

I try to use an ecumenical definition, starting with what I see as the theological common ground shared by my own Catholic Church and many Protestant denominations. Then I look at forms of American religion that are influenced by Christianity, but depart in some significant way from this consensus. It's a C. S. Lewisian, Mere Christianity definition of orthodoxy or heresy. I'm trying to look at the ways the American religion today departs from theological and moral premises that traditional Protestants and Catholics have in common.

 

How did America become a nation of heretics?

 

We've always been a nation of heretics. Heresy used to be constrained and balanced by institutional Christianity to a far greater extent than it is today. What's unique about our religious moment is not the movements and currents such as the "lost gospel" industry, the world of prosperity preaching, the kind of therapeutic religion that you get from someone like Oprah Winfrey, or various highly politicized forms of faith. What's new is the weakness of the orthodox Christian response. There were prosperity preachers and therapeutic religion in the 1940s and '50s—think of bestsellers like Norman Vincent Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking—but there was also a much more robust Christian center.

 

He is not saying we are all a bunch of heretics, he is not saying there is not a strong viberent Christian community here, the above is a short definition of what he means by heresy.... in the Protestant world it's Joel Osteen vs Billy Graham.

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righteousmomma

He is not saying we are all a bunch of heretics, he is not saying there is not a strong viberent Christian community here, the above is a short definition of what he means by heresy.... in the Protestant world it's Joel Osteen vs Billy Graham.

 

I don't think so. It has nothing to do with a Protestant world nor a Catholic world.

 

The points laid out by Tim Keller are all valid, timely and historical.

 

ILesslie Newbigin blames the marginalization of Christianity in the West on the outworking of the 18th century Enlightenment—which promoted the sufficiency of individual human reason without faith in God—for a great deal of the shift. In this he understands historical patterns as being caused by ideas and intellectual trends working their way out through a society’s institutions. I see no reason why Newbigin’s history-of-thought approach and Douthat’s sociology-of-knowledge approach cannot both be right.

 

 

Neither do I - because they are - both right that is.

 

As far as whether someone or something is "heretic" or a 'heresy" depends upon one's definition.

"Heresy assumes the existence of an orthodoxy".

Of course "orthodoxy" has several definitions that would depend upon the user's religious perspective or focus.

 

Traditionally Christian orthodoxy has been adhering to, following and obeying the great creeds or credos of the Faith-

the Gospel or Good News as said by Protestant and Catholic and Orthodox alike. The .Apostles and the Nicene are the two major, universal ones

ALL creeds take for granted that God IS, that He is Creator. That He is the One True AND ONLY God of both the Old (Hebrew)Testament/Covenant and the New (Christian) covenant.

There is One Message from Genesis to Revelations.

 

The Founders and writers of our great documents from the Declaration of Independence to the U.S. Constitution to the Sate Constitutions believed "God" - whether Christians (in the sense of being born again by the Spirit of God) or nominal Christians or Jewish They all accepted and still accept God as "the Great I Am, the Creator of All.

 

Rokke is right about secularism all over Europe

I saw it there and I have ranted and tried to warn about this for 12 years now on Forums so I will shut up.

 

The answer though lies within the heart of mankind and human nature.

No relationship with the God who loves us and created us.No acknowledgment of Him or faith in Him.

Thus no moral absolutes .

Just situational ethics thoroughly based on humanism.

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