My Aeon Piece on Evangelicals and Secularism

flagSome of you may have seen the piece I wrote recently for Aeon, a relative new online magazine.  I wrote the article in an attempt to get intellectuals and other thoughtful observers to understand the mindset of some American evangelicals.

I understand, and in some cases sympathize, with the largely negative comments that are appearing in the comments section of the piece.  On the other hand, I am afraid that many of the comments confirm a lot of what I was trying to say in the article.

I hope readers of The Way of Improvement Leads Home will interpret the piece in the larger context of my work here at the blog and elsewhere.

Here is a taste:

Whether it be academia, popular entertainment, or some other sector of culture, secular progressivism is a real threat to evangelical Christian values. Christian culture warriors are often sloppy and usually inconsistent in the way that they apply Christian faith to public life, but not all of them are crazy. They are astute observers of modern culture who represent the values and fears of a significant portion of Americans. And, as long as secular progressives continue to remain intolerant about the deeply held religious convictions of these Christians, and refuse to understand them as part of a larger conversation about national identity and the common good, it will be difficult for US democracy to move forward.

Read the entire piece here.

One thought on “My Aeon Piece on Evangelicals and Secularism

  1. Brave engagement with the mob in the comments there.

    The real battle is not between the Bible and the anti-religious [although they are on the front lines], it’s about modernity vs. the classical understanding of man and of human nature, not so much Christianity but “Christian thought,” which in the western context subsumed not only the Greeks and Romans but the Jews.

    “Egalitarian universalism, from which sprang the ideas of freedom and social solidarity, of an autonomous conduct of life and emancipation, of the individual morality of conscience, human rights and democracy, is the direct heir of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. This legacy, substantially unchanged, has been the object of continual critical appropriation and reinterpretation. To this day, there is no alternative to it. And in light of the current challenges of a postnational constellation, we continue to draw on the substance of this heritage. Everything else is just idle postmodern talk.”—philosopher Jurgen Habermas

    Unfortunately, not only were the Falwells and Robertsons unable to defend the Christian legacy against modernity and “the dictatorship of relativism,” so are many or most of our best “Christian” academics—who can at best defend it only in the abstract and at arm’s length, as though that disengagement will get them a fairer hearing from the “secular progressives,” who are hostile not to just Christianity but the entire pre-modern legacy of Western civilization that developed the philosophy of liberty in the first place.

    Or as you aptly distilled it in the comments, and as one renowned secularist put it,

    “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?”

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