the non-gods of the atheists wind up being replaced
by our own intellectual or moral priorities - actually
a form or idolatry, rather than atheism - it is even
more sobering and sad to see how many real idols there
are floating around.
of the ancient world were embodiments of various natural
and societal forces: war, harvest, fertility, love,
etc. It looked like they were going to disappear as
science and culture became more and more able to explain
or media made it easier and easier to communicate.
But something really strange has happened.
As a preacher,
I need only to say God says before, without thought,
someone says something like Practicality says, or
Political expedience says, or Economics says, or Psychology
says, or Sociology says, or Security demands, or Whatever
is as or more important than God. That whatever is
like the old many-headed hydra of Greek mythology,
for every one you cut off it grows nine more. All
of these have become, effectively, competitors with
the God of Israel and the God and Father of our Lord
condemnation of the preacher of Christianity - or
the practice thereof - is naiveté. It's a nice
idea - but
are face to face with C.S. Lewis wry observation:
Christianity was not tried and found wanting; it was
tried and found difficult. And so we looked for other
altars 'round which to gather and other hymns to sing
and high priests with bespoke suits and tower of Babel
comb-overs. The real attraction of such gods is that
they look like we want to look and promise what we
want to have right now. The thought of having to change
or want something future - that is just too hard,
there has arisen a new pantheon of false gods. They
are worshipped in the temple of anti-privilege and
their names are (here insert your most felt victimization).
Their worship takes the form of entitlement and blasphemy
against them, the form of insensitivity. When that
insensitivity can be blamed upon the hardships entailed
in following traditional Christian thought and praxis,
the war between that old God and these new ones appears
in its virulence.
chronologically, educationally, socio-economically,
I am a child of privilege. That lesson was drilled
into my consciousness by parents who were children
of the Depression. I don't know when or where or how
(except for a racism that survived the Civil War)
that privilege stopped being spread around. I do know
it is only
when such privileges have been secured that one can
start worrying about one's own unmet emotional
needs. A lot of our cultural 'religious wars' could
not arise except in a 'first world' milieu.
we'll go back to real theology.
and truly and blessedly yours,