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God and Country… Again.

I just read an(other) article noting that (at least the Christian) God is not welcome in our post-modern culture (true) and lamenting that we live in a “post-Christian” culture (not really true). In order for our culture to be “post Christian” it would have to have been at one point “Christian.” Yet, historically, what Americans have equated with Christianity has never really been Christian if you define Christian in terms of resembling Christ. Unfortunately, in the United States the church early on adopted a stance that essentially relegated it to the role of cheerleader for a decidedly non- (and even anti-) Christian ideal; essentially the ideology of the so-called “Enlightenment.”

When Christians bemoan the demise of American “Christian” culture what they most often are really grieving is the failure of the Enlightenment narrative that mankind would inevitably create his own paradise through science, technology, and education. The killing fields of the twentieth century finally nailed the coffin shut on that delusion. The problem is that the American church had more aligned itself with the modern narrative than with the teachings of Christ. When the modern narrative failed, it felt like the “traditional” values of the church were failing along with it.

But it is a blessing that the Enlightenment project failed because it was a pernicious idolatry that lifted man to at least the level of God. It denied the fallen state of humanity and thereby obviated any need for redemption or restoration. If people felt secure in that ideology it was a false security in what history has revealed to be an illusion. If people feel lost and rudderless in post-modernism it is because without Christ that is exactly what we are: lost and rudderless.

Let us not try to turn the clock back to a so-called “Christian” era that was anything but. Rather, let us put into practice the one action Jesus tells us will identify us as his followers: that we love each other. (Jn. 13:34)

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