Sunday, March 15, 2009

There’s A New
Power In America
– Atheism

The faithless are a growing force as the churches duck the challenges of the age

by Andrew Sullivan - March 15, 2009 - London Times

Yes, America is far more devout than most of western Europe; but it is not immune to the broader crises facing established religion in the West. The days when America’s leading intellectuals contained a strong cadre of serious Christians are over. There is no Thomas Merton in our day; no Reinhold Niebuhr, Walker Percy or Flannery O’Connor. In the arguments spawned by the new atheist wave, the Christian respondents have been underwhelming. As one evangelical noted in The Christian Science Monitor last week, “being against gay marriage and being rhetorically pro-life will not make up for the fact that massive majorities of evangelicals can’t articulate the Gospel with any coherence”.

Interesting article. Sullivan has not stopped being smart just because he has allowed being gay to run him out of the conservative movement. It is clear that he resents not being accepted in the political arena he prefers if he flaunts his sexuality. Conservatives may be polite to gays but they do not want it to become a public issue. What happens in the bedroom should stay in the bedroom is still the public persona of conservatism and will remain that way for the foreseeable future. In his thoughts about who Sullivan considers leading Christian thinkers, it does strike me as odd that two of the four are writers of fiction.

That said, there is clearly a problem with Christian leaders today. They do not provide, or even tolerate, any intellectual dialog over the issues that are stressing the church. In such an environment, the church will continue to bleed members. Not all will find a new church. Many will become atheists, as Sullivan warns. Many others will simply abandon organized religion but retain their Christian faith. I think this last is one outlet that Sullivan seems to ignore. He is very much a social animal and the solution of isolation does not seem to impress him much.

On the other hand, it is sad that so few church leaders seem to care about the problem.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home