Going Postal…

Posted: May 28, 2008 in change, church, Obama

For quite a time now I’ve had a series of presentations about the “post-modern/post-Christian” turn in epistemology (the nature and scope of knowing/knowledge). I’ve talked about in at least four states and read more about it than I care to acknowledge.

Now before I go on, I do believe the we have a changing epistemology, we are moving from “modernity” into something that is “post” modernity, though I’m always hesitant to say what that “post” is. However, I am beginning to wonder whether or not we are as “post” as I have been saying we are, at least in the post-Christian sense. This is mainly due to recent happenings in this year’s election cycle.

As you know, Democratic candidate Barack Obama had some trouble with his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, which caused a near national firestorm. And even more recently, Republican candidate, John McCain had to “un-accept” the endorsements of both Pastors John Hagee and Rod Parsley. Here we have 2/3 of the potential leaders of the free world having to answer embarrassing questions surrounding pastors.

Apparently, Christianity still matters (or at least some elements/versions of it). For instance, 33% of all Americans still, regardless of ALL evidence to the contrary, think that Barack Obama is a Muslim. One many in Kentucky recently said, “Obama’s a Muslim. I’m not voting for him.” Now if you’re like me you’re scared that this man can vote because he is clearly uninformed — or perhaps merely internet rumor informed — nevertheless, his version or interpretation of Christianity still matters to him. (It’s also apparent that is you’ve spent 2 minutes outside the U.S. you’re suspect to some people.)

It all makes me wonder: What is the present place of Christianity in America? Clearly, less people are participating in churches. And certainly, the church and the Bible are no longer epistemic norms for life in America. Plus being a minister myself, I know that few people in churches actually want to practice Christianity. Yet, there remains some relevance and reverence for Christianity.

What’s the deal with that?

  1. Fr. J. says:

    The rumors of Christianity’s death are greatly exaggerated. The time with the greatest fall in the practice of Christianity was in the 60’s, not since 2000. But, it is the spin doctors of secularism who have created this narrative that Christianity is collapsing in our time. The actual numbers of atheists are less than 10% in the US. Not much change. Yes, people are attending less, but there is nothing new about that. Attendance rates have been down since the cultural revolution of the late 60’s.

    Of course Christianity is relevant. Without it, we have no moral foundation in the West.

    It is true that there is less public reverence for religion. That is just a function of the snotty boomers being the eldest “adults” running things in the US. Irreverence toward the faith is just part of that generation’s schtick. They are irreverent toward everything.

    What bothers the boomers most is that Christianity still matters and that they are powerless to change that. And, I might add, they are powerless because Christianity is True!

  2. Clayman says:

    The present place of Christianity in America is, unfortunately, far removed from where Christ would have wanted it. Most Americans see Christianity through the raging lens of Fred Phelps or the aforementioned political pastors. Others see Christianity through the lackluster view of new-agers like Oprah.

    It all boils down to the fact that we left true evangelism for ritualism. When we discovered that life was more fun without the rituals, we abandoned them – and in turn, true faith – in favor of hedonism. America has become the Stoics and Epicureans of the 21st Century.

    How can we fix it? Sadly, it won’t be fixed as fast as it broke. The answer is a return to a simpler embrace of faith. One that abandons the rituals in favor of a loving relationship with God and our neighbors – regardless of their place in life.

    Jesus did not come for the “righteous” any more than we can.

  3. Fr. J. says:

    Actually, I belong to the largest church in America, about 70 million strong and Fred Phelps means nothing to us and neither do your political pastors.

    Most Christians in America go to church quietly without trumpeting it, find consolation in the person of Christ and want to do the right thing. Christianity is nothing near dead, but Evangelicalism as a political force may be declining slightly (only slightly, I think) because of the Emergents and other defectors among the young. Mainline Protestantism is what is really in major decline. Otherwise, not much is changing, despite the need of the MSM to portray a much diminished Christianity. They need to marginalize religion in order to propagate their social agenda.

  4. Fr. J. says:

    Besides, who else on the planet has two audiences a week with 40-50 k in attendance from around the world and can get millions to come out to see him whenever he travels abroad? There is simply no person on earth that can compete with a pope in his moral influence. Nobody.

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