Tuesday 12 October 2010

The weakness of Christianity in the modern secular West


There is no doubt that Christianity is weak in the West.

The Christian Church is very fragmented, most mainstream Christians (and especially Christian leaders) adopt their beliefs from mainstream leftists political correctness (fitting Christianity around this as best they can), and indeed it is hard to detect any difference made to behaviour by Chrsitianity except among the more separatist groups such as Anabaptists (e.g. Amish) and Mormons.

But this should not be surprising since we live in a profoundly secular society, the most secular society in the history of the world - and one in which the ruling ethos and lifestyle is solvent of Christianity.

Therefore, Christianity is very weak, and Christians are almost all extremely undeveloped in their spirituality.

In most Western nations there are now essentially no saints, no inspired holy advisers (starets), none (or very few) of the spiritually-advanced monks or nuns...

We are living in an almost completely worldly and secular society.


This does not, I think, prevent Christians from attaining salvation; but it does all-but prevent any advanced forms of holiness such as were seen in past societies.

At the one extreme there is a kind of legalistic, rule-following Christianity - of the more puritan type.

On the other hand, those who seek to move towards a state of communion with God (theosis) while still on this earth are left without advice or disciplined guidance, and are likely soon to fall into a state of spiritual pride (prelest), corruption, and perhaps insanity.

So, as a society, we have what we deserve - only the most rudimentary and preliminary level of Christianity, such that life on earth is spiritually either dry or dangerous.


But this demonstrates what advantages there are from a devout Christian society.

The main difference between a holy/ devout and a secular/ corrupt society is not in relation to the basic fact of salvation - but in the degree to which one can advance towards divine communion while still on earth - on the possibility of approaching toward sainthood.

(And also whether a society has benefit from the presence and influence of living saints and starets.)

In a corrupt and secular society, therefore, Christianity is (in general) more primitive and less joyful than it could be and should be; and than it actually has been in times and places such as Byzantium, late Anglo-Saxon England and Holy Russia - times of saints and thriving Orthodox monasticism.



Mike Kenny said...

Interesting post! What I wonder though--what's the distinction between joy and happiness?

Bruce Charlton said...

I would say that (in my usage) happiness was more general - referring to a wide range of pleasant, rewarding, gratifying emotions; while joy is a rather specific, intense, seemingly-meaningful and short term type of happiness.

xlbrl said...

The Left is the the result of a Greek culture evolved in Christianity and then removed from its faith. What remains is an odd, unbalanced mixture of Christian values, peculiar and fragmentary reminders of an obscured past. To make compromises with it is to become it.