Wednesday 1 April 2020

Why should I care if the Christian Churches have committed mass suicide (and hardly anyone noticed)? But I do

The Christian churches around the world have committed mass suicide by suspending sacramental activities (such as the Mass and weddings), by ceasing all meetings and visits, by shutting their doors.

(And not merely for a fixed period, but churches are 'suspended' until further notice - and will resume only when permission comes from the secular authorities - perhaps when/if 'the crisis' is declared to be over. So far this looks like six months, others say a year - but maybe longer? Just think about that, for a moment.)

To me this event - which has already happened - is By Far the single greatest catastrophe in the entire history of Christianity.

The greatest both in scale and scope; but also because it was self-inflicted, and indeed done with virtue-signalling and moralizing zeal from the church leaderships.

Yet there seems to be near zero recognition that this has-happened (past tense: it is the situation here and now); 1800+ years of institutional history has ended; the suicide is done and dusted and we are watching the early stages of rigor mortis - soon to be followed by putrefaction.

But why, it may be asked, should I personally care about this - when I am someone who practises a largely unaffiliated Christianity - when (apparently) the devout church members themselves don't care much?

The reason I care, and that this business has greatly distressed me; is that most of the serious Christians I know-of are members of churches, and active in their churches. By my judgment, serious Christians are distributed across many different Christian denominations - but they all seems to have been affected by this mass unilaterally-imposed withdrawal of their churches.

Such people are no placed in a serious (and very sudden) dilemma: Christianity or The Church; yet such people are not accustomed to separate the two; so this is a Huge deal.

I can see that the immediate (stunned) reaction of such church Christians is to deny the significance of what has just happened; to 'pretend' that the cessation of churches is merely a sensible and temporary expedient in response to an unique and time-limited crisis.

But the situation is not necessarily any of these things - and even if it is; the churches have placed themselves firmly under the spiritual authority of the secular arm - and done so voluntarily and in advance of even the slightest degree of coercion. Church leaders have declared that when churches are most needed, other things are more important: material expediency trumps spiritual neccessity.

As this horrible reality sinks-in; it will cause the crisis of opposition between Church and Christianity - between loyalty and obedience to an authority that does nothing and has (without objection, with enthusiasm) divorced its flock; or striking out into uncharted waters to find God and develop a relations with Jesus alone. (With barely time to grieve.)

I care, therefore, that the faith of serious Christians has been - without any significant warning - attacked by their own churches at exactly the moment when such faith is most threatened and most needed.

That is why I care. Because I care about the spiritual well-being all serious Christians of all denominations (and none), and I regard their salvation as seriously imperilled at this time. And their own churches are, substantially, to blame.


Karl said...

Are you sure that churches had not been closed during epidemies before? I had heard that churches had been closed in Germany during the Spanish flu.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Karl - As I have often said: there is nothing so big and so obvious that Modern Man cannot explain-it-away.

Francis Berger said...

This is an important post. I hope it reaches many Christians.

For me, church-going had become a supplementary activity many years ago. It added to rather than defined my Christianity ; as a result, the church closures have not made much of a dent in my Christian faith. Part of the reason I attended church was it provided a tangible means through which to introduce my son to Christianity.

Having said that, the closures have put a massive dent in the already tenuous view I had of organized Christianity beforehand. I believe the closures will mark the end of church-going for me and my family, which is sad because the village church is a big part of my small community of 650.

Strangely enough, I was asked to join the village church committee just before the closures. Even though I feel a strong sense of attachment to my community, I can't imagine accepting the post now.

James Higham said...

Quite agree - sacrament or Eucharist, communion - they are the whole point.

Lucinda said...

If it helps, my family felt prepared. We were given the experiences we needed beforehand so it would not be so shocking. And it’s easy for me to believe that other sincere Christians have had similar challenging times that would ready them.

Well, and I admit that a good amount of our preparation was a matter of realizing that materially speaking, we are sitting ducks, our only hope is spiritual. Definitely we had learned to be very cautious of the supposed social benefits of official church participation. Which makes the whole social distancing thing very ironic.

Jacob Gittes said...

The local Catholic Church put a paper sign on the door saying something like, "Due to the coronavirus crisis, mass is suspended until further notice. God Bless."

Why does that "God Bless" really stick in my craw? Why does that "God Bless" seem so pathetic and absurd?

Ingemar said...


Because it's satanic. It's like, as CS Lewis says,

“In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

Bruce Charlton said...

I've decided to close comments on this - because I don't want to debate minute quantitative details and differences when the issue to so vast and qualitative. If we survive another few weeks; any doubt of the kind that could be affected by today's 'evidence' will be removed.

By 'suicid' is meant self-chosen permanent qualitative destruction, not necessarily utter extinction. The persistence of some tiny remnant, or some very different entity under the same name does not count as persistence. My point is that Christian Churches as we have understood them up to now, are dead, have committed suicide and will rot (uness they repent, soon).

The changed relationship between serious Christian and church is the basis of this change - honest Christians are each being forced to recognise that they are more serious about Christianity than are their churches.

If they *don't* recognise this, they will (along with their churches) cease being serious Christians, having put institutional affiliation about Christianity. They will merely be clubmen of the church.

Commenters (those who are not also private penfriends) should remember (or learn) that in this blog I am not trying to *persuade* you, or anybody else; nor to engage in arguments - but instead I am clarifying and developing my understanding.