Wednesday 27 July 2011

What is Liberal Christianity? - from Kristor


As for Liberal Christianity, it isn't really Christianity at all.

It's just liberalism, dressed up in the comfortable old trappings of Christian rituals for show, and retaining the economic assets of Christian institutions for sustenance.

Performance of the former justifies retention of the latter, which is important primarily because the resources the Churches have amassed over the centuries, both cultural and economic, are useful in the propagation of the liberal social agenda.


Liberal Christianity has lost its metaphysical cojones; it is afraid to assert the supernaturalism of God. Thus it is afraid of death; therefore also of war.

It starts from a category error: it searches about in the universe for God as if He were a mere item thereof, like a car or a star, and, not finding Him, gives up on the idea.

Liberal Christians don't really believe in the supernatural, so they can't honestly encompass belief in God. They believe in ... something or other. The Force, or the Tao, or something.

Because God is not a wholly credible concept to them, neither can they see that there is really any objective moral standard of value.

Their morals wander from one unprincipled exception to another because they have no basis for trust in objective moral principles. They are moral nominalists.

All they have left, in the way of a moral guide, is the morality built into their genes and nervous systems: so liberalism is about feeling good.


Since they don't believe in the supernatural, neither can they credit the Virgin Birth, the miracles, or the Resurrection. In the Liberal mythos, these are mere myths.

The most important "myth" they discard is the Incarnation. This makes them Arians.

To them, Jesus was a Really Nice Guy who encouraged us to be nice to each other. Nothing more. That's as far as they can take it.

So, in Liberal parishes, there is no longer any mysticism, no longer any sense of the transcendent; nothing hair-raising or spooky ever happens.


Also, precisely because the loss of the transcendent aspect of the Faith renders it moot in the face of death, there is determined avoidance of the blood and guts, the pain, destruction and tragedy, that inhere in life and are liberally sprinkled over both Old and New Testaments, like the blood on the altar at the Day of Atonement.

In such parishes, it's all about Community, and feeling good together. Because they have missed the transcendent God, have misunderstood the very idea of God, they have disembowelled their faith.

This dooms it; and this is why the liberal mainline Protestant denominations are dwindling.

 They are no longer religiously efficacious, because they are not really religions at all, anymore.


As to the crisis of the West, then, our civilization and its core religion are under assault, not from Christianity run amok, but by Liberalism.

Liberalism eviscerates Christianity just as much as the West more generally.

This it does by negating the transcendent objective principles--moral, spiritual, metaphysical--that justify and inform the West and its peoples at every turn of their daily lives.

Liberalism declares these principles illegitimate. It leaves its adherents lost.

This accounts for much of the confusion, ennui, anxiety and depression now epidemic among us.


The crisis of the West is due then, not to a surfeit of Christianity, but to a deficit thereof. The metaphysical weakness of modern liberal Christianity just is the moral weakness of the West.



Anonymous said...

You accuse liberal Christianity of succumbing to rationalism, but in practice, the mysticism of environmentalism and socialism has replaced the mysticism of Christianity.

The environment exists in the sense of trees and seas and so forth, but environmentalism attributes to them the characteristics of a single living conscious being, Gaia, as for example "The seas are the earth's lungs", and similarly socialism attributes agency to collective entities such as the proletariat, which imagined beings of course have a priesthood to speak for them.

Gabe Ruth said...

No wonder Mencius Moldbug likes VFR so much. I've visited a couple times and haven't been too impressed with Mr. Auster, but it appears I've been missing something after all.

This is good analysis, but I think MM's is even better, his key incite being that in ejecting the supernatural the liberal "Christian", AKA the progressive, becomes even more powerful. They claim their position is unassailably reasonable, innoculating themselves against the tool that all men have used to discern the vanity of fools and apprehend the truth for themselves. As they have a bully pulpit before those that seek to be educated, thinking that is the path to truth, few ever examine their "reason based" revelations with a critical eye.