Are the mainstream Christian churches substantially corrupted by secular Leftism? Yes.
Is this a fact or mere opinion? It is a fact.
How would we know? See below:
One test is very simple: and the test is exactly what the secular Left say it is. Where does the Christian church stand on the Hot Button issues of the day.
For more than 50 years the secular Left has rolled-out a sequence of Hot Button moral issues to create conflict with the Christian Churches - and these are almost all to do with sexual morality. Each of these sexual issues then becomes a political cleavage-point or litmus test for good versus evil as defined by the Left.
And before the sexual revolution of the mid 1960s, there were analogous challenges spread out over previous decades and indeed over a couple of centuries: the proposal to use secular historical scholarship to over-rule scripture was one of the first and deadliest; natural selection versus creation was a later one where a scientific metaphysical assumption was put forward to over-rule the Christian understanding of the human condition; and at various times abolition of slavery, pacifism and socialism have been the major issues.
In retrospect we can discern that each of these issues was a wedge - and that all were significant.
Acceptance of even one of these issues acts like a wedge, because the new principle expands incrementally to break-apart the unity and coherence of Christianity in the way that wedges were used to break-up a tree trunk.
This applies to the issues of sexual morality which dominate church-secular controversies today.
All of the Hot Button issues have been chosen by the secular Leftist system (whether chosen by blind, impersonal, systematic summated social forces, or chosen by evil intent) for their long-term potential to destroy Christianity (or subvert and rewrite it - which is the same thing).
None of these issues are insignificant, as the secular Left realizes - which is why the secular Left pursues these matters with such strategic zeal and ruthless aggression.
The secular Left are hard-line fanatics, the Christians try to be 'reasonable' and meet them half-way - with predictable results...
In no instance will small-scale 'compromise' changes be acceptable to the secular Left - since their agenda is revolutionary and destructive - all small changes will simply open-the-door to further changes in the same direction.
Now, we now that this is the case; looking back we can see the same pattern again and again.
There is nothing for Christians to debate here; because debate implies the possibility of change and to be 'reasonable', to seek a mutually acceptable compromise, is simply for the church to surrender and to weaken itself for the next attack.
(The argument goes: "if you have already agreed to that - then logically you must also agree to this which is merely a consequence of that.)
All this the secular Left perceives with absolute clarity.
Yet Christians do not.
Christians continue to pursue the policy of appeasement, conceding and conceding to an aggressor who has stated quite clearly that he wants nothing less than your annihilation - consequently the mass majority of ever-yielding Christians are in a perpetual state of disappointment and are continually aggrieved that their decency is not being appreciated by their enemies - constantly shocked that their enemies are being so unfriendly!
But Christians need to wake-up.
Christians absolutely must reject the secular, Leftist anti-Christian agenda in its totality; including to go back and undo or reverse all the concessions and yieldings to secularism made over the past centuries.
All of them.
Because all the Hot Button issues were chosen by secular Leftism, all are wedges, all are capable of great destruction, all need to be decisively rejected, eventually all need to be removed.
Individual Christians need not, should not, try to understand the modernizing agenda from an assumption that it is 'well-meaning': it is not well-meaning - even when the individuals who pursue it are nice and decent people, it needs to be kept in mind that they are nice and decent people in the service of evil.
All and any future proposed 'reforms' originating from the secular Left therefore must be refused categorically and finally, without argument.
And any and all of the changes to Christian theology, morals, scripture, liturgy (etc.) originating from this sources need to be reversed.
We moderns have, we should recognize, been corrupted, such that we are incapable of 'judging for ourselves' - how can hedonistic chaotic addicts with the attention span of a gnat, near-zero Christian knowledge and even less sanctity, judge anything 'for ourselves'?
It is often said that scripture, reason and tradition ought to guide Christians: quite true. But we modern cannot read scripture, and our scriptures have been re-written; we cannot reason because we are ignorant, inattentive and incompetent; therefore we must focus primarily on tradition where this is clear, and tradition is crystal clear on all the Hot Button issues
- and we must let tradition guide our understanding of scripture and reason (i.e traditional understandings of scripture, traditional modes of reasoning).
Therefore, we moderns must be guided primarily by tradition, by ancient tradition, by tradition originating from before modernity - and especially when this tradition is clear and unambiguous among the Holiest of our Christian ancestors.
NOTE: This perspective on the nature of modernity can be seen throughout the work of Fr Seraphim Rose.
Isn't the return to tradition actually happening? The most radical Social Justice churches (Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian) are plaining dying as Christians abandon them. Even the Catholic Church lost some two-thirds to three-quarters of its adherents because of Vatican II excesses.
The Catholic Church shows signs of recovery under its traditionalist popes, and more consistently traditional churches like the Eastern Orthodox and Southern Baptists seem to be growing. So maybe we are merely at a low point and recovery will soon begin.
By the way, your point about rejecting all of the socialist agenda of the last 200 years is well made. In American terms, this means rejecting all the Constitution Amendments and interpretations after the 12th.
Undo all of the concessions, including the abolition of slavery?
@PH search this blog for "slavery" and you will see the arguments
@s1. I'm afraid I dont see any sign of revival in the West
It would be interesting to see an identification of the historical point(s) at which this "hot button" business starts (although I am not sure it is the best approach for talking about the perennial warfare between the Church and the world).
But for the sake of discussion -- I think even Christians who see themselves as conservative or even reactionary might differ on this.
For some, the business might start with 19th-century (I believe) controversies about divorce. It seems to me that, in England, up until that century divorce was basically not available to commoners. But in that century it seems there was open controversy about the matter. I believe that the practice of the C of E was actually unbiblically restrictive, compelling women to remain married to unfaithful husbands and so on.
If divorce isn't regarded as the first outstanding "hot button" conflict, would it then be with regard to contraception? Is the reactionary view that all forms of contraception are sinful?
"Even the Catholic Church lost some two-thirds to three-quarters of its adherents because of Vatican II excesses.
The Catholic Church shows signs of recovery under its traditionalist popes..."
Who are those traditionalist popes who have produced the recovery from Vatican II? Certainly these traditionalists cannot be the four subsequent popes who were part of Vatican II -- Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI - least of all the latter two.
Yep - it sounds fundamentalist to say it but there really are tares, false prophets and they can only really flourish in hierarchies, where their word can become akin to gospel in the minds of those who don't stick to the Word.
Bear with me as I play devil's advocate here. To what I'm about to say, I sincerely hope that you have a good answer, since I would like to be convinced that I am wrong about this, but am not yet persuaded.
Let's trace the path of these revolutionary new ideas. Why did secular historical scholarship defeat traditional scriptural exegesis? Presumably because it's better to tell the truth than to lie, and if our own observations and powers of reasoning demonstrate to us that the Bible is historically inaccurate in this or that matter, isn't it better to admit as much, rather than engage in "pious fraud"?
The same goes for natural selection and creation. When our own investigations prove beyond reasonable doubt that the earth is several orders of magnitude older than the Biblical chronology has us believe, and that the fossil record indubitably proves that more complex organisms have evolved from simpler ones over the eons, are we not compelled by our love of the truth to acknowledge this, rather than engage in self-deception out of a misguided zeal for faith?
As for abolition of slavery, pacifism and socialism, all three have roots in Christian ethics. As Christians, we are not permitted to lord it over others; we are commanded to be meek and peaceable; we are enjoined to surrender our possessions to the poor.
Finally, we get to the sexual revolution. Here it is harder to argue that the sources of this revolution can be found in Christian teaching, which is firmly on the side of chastity and self-restraint. However, we only need to re-frame the issues in order to find a Christian pretext for abandoning the traditional social order.
In particular, shifting the burden of proof grants easy victory to the Revolution. Why must we be chaste, or why must we enforce chastity on others? Answers to these questions always seem to require that traditional sexual mores be "self-evident", since otherwise there is no obvious ethical justification for them: fornication or "deviant" sexual behavior don't necessarily cause any physical or mental harm to either party. The danger of the argument from self-evidence, of course, is that your opponent need only object that it is not self-evident to him.
It used to be that sexual indiscretion came with tangible risks, such as unwanted pregnancy or disease, making abstinence the obvious self-interested choice. Nowadays, of course, these risks are mostly gone. In other respects, certain traditional sexual mores seem to be founded in medical ignorance, e.g. the belief that masturbation damages health, or that conception during menses weakens the health of the future child.
If it turns out that sexual abstinence harms oneself or others in some way, would we not be obligated to be unchaste? One can envision such possibilities, for example, if it turns out that regular masturbation reduces the risk of prostate cancer.
I suspect that in all cases there is some subtle aspect of moral reasoning that is lost in the discussion, but I am not sure what they are. One could, of course, simply flee from attempting to justify traditional morality by reasoned argument: "Tradition says so, and that's that." The problem is that, even if one could suppress one's own doubts indefinitely, there is no hope of winning over opponents without a decent argument.
@jgress - phew, you *are* mixed up!
My point is that on these issues tradition is clear; you need to ask if hundreds of years of Christians - including the holiest Christians ever to live - had got these fundamental matters wrong.
All the rest is hasty reasoning and insecure history and reversed cause and effect.
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