Given that mainstream Leftist secular culture is so obviously bankrupt - intellectually, artistically, and especially morally; given that mainstream secular culture is filled with despair - so very obviously engaged in ever-more frenzied distraction and intoxication - a society without hope, without purpose, without meaning - self-hating and suicidal - attaining motivation only in self-righteous hatred...
Given all this, Mainstream real Christians often find it hard to understand why secular society, secular people, don't simply admit their failure and turn back to religion - but instead adopt an ever-more hostile and ridiculing attitude to Christianity.
To understand this, Mainstream real Christians might reflect on their own attitude to Mormonism - the a priori negativity, the wilful ignorance, the prevailing attitude of incredulity, hostility and ridicule.
Secular people see Christian beliefs through negative spectacles, as merely ridiculous - childish, absurd, wishful thinking, arbitrary stuff conjured out of nothing with zero evidence: actually embarrassing.
For seculars, it is not a matter of Christians being wrong 'on balance', or them having some validity but but more wrong than right - Christianity is simply bizarre.
Secular people find it incomprehensible that any sane and intelligent person could believe the utter nonsense that Christians believe.
Therefore, it is inferred that Christians are neither sane nor intelligent, and logically must be treated as idiots or lunatics - capable of doing great harm (if given the chance) - and therefore, necessarily, people who ought to be excluded from all positions of power, responsibility or influence (including parenthood).
Against this, actual Christian behaviour is irrelevant - how Christians actually behave in the real world is completely and totally irrelevant.
It does not matter one jot whether actual Christians are generally nice to seculars, have (overall) better ethics, make better neighbours, are more fertile, have stronger marriages, are more charitable, are happier, more hopeful, more motivated and find their lives meaningful.
What Christians actually do in real life and personal experience makes not the slightest difference - because, 'unfortunately' from the secular perspective Christians are cringe-inducing idiots and lunatics, who believe nonsense for no reason - and people like that (obviously!) need to be watched and cannot be trusted.
And (mutatis mutandis) it is much the same for Mainstream Christians with respect to Mormons.
So, if Mainstream Christians struggle to comprehend why it is that they are damned-if-they-do and damned-if-they-don't by secular culture; why despite all attempts of all kinds, they have zero impact on Mainstream attitudes - they merely need to look within: look at their own attitudes to the Mormon church.
As Mainstream Christians find Mormonism to be merely a mixture of fraud, gullibility, oppression, cultic manipulation, wishful-thinking - and sinister ulterior purpose - that is how you look to the secular world (in so far as you are devout real Christians).
Christianity is judged not by results, but by its assumed-intent; not by (overall) behaviour, but by a negatively-framed and selected perception of its ideology and the - possible, inferred - consequences of that perceived-ideology.
The more that Christians succeed in living Good lives, the more that secular culture sees the results as a product of weird, zombie-like fanaticism.
Mainstream real Christian: Consider how Mormons look to you; that is pretty much how you look to secular people.
Mainstream Christians must strive to lead good lives, of course; but should not suppose that doing so will have a political effect, should not suppose that being good Christians will bring secular culture even one millimetre closer to repentance and conversion.
Even if mainstream Christian denominations succeeded in living as well as the best Mormons - and they have a long way to go to achieve this - then they could not expect that this would have any greater effect on secular culture than the exemplary qualities of Mormon life have had on Mainstream Christianity.
The root problem with modernity is not (real) Christians' behaviour and attitudes to secular culture; but the opposite. And this may be something that Christians cannot fix.
It may, indeed, be something that is unfixable - as was so often the case in the Old Testament (or, for that matter, The Book of Mormon).
NOTE ADDED: I haven't printed many of the comments submitted, because the point of this post is about attitudes; as it says: if Mainstream Christians want to know how they look to Mainstream culture, then they could consider how Mormonism looks to Mainstream Christians (and how actual behaviour is irrelevant to both). Of course Mainstream Christians may disagree with this analogy, or may think it is wrong - but that is the point I am trying to make. Again: If you want to know how you appear, then that is (more or less) the answer. This post is not meant to be an argument about validity - it is an illustration of analogous attitudes.
Great observation, you clarified a lot of Catholic thought for me. This was the essential sin of Vatican II. The church hierarchy became terribly afraid that they were becoming incomprehensible to moderns as their old secular influence started to evaporate. The response, to become more secular and modern, had the evil effect of diluting doctrine to the point now where we simply need to fight for materialistic social justice (what everyone does) and everyone's soul is already saved.
So we can see why the same attitude exists among mainstream liberal Catholics toward the Society of Saint Pius X, where the SSPX simply continues to exist as a pre-Vatican II group, the liberal Catholic sees the group as completely incomprehensible. It results in strange things happening, like the SSPX being denied the use of mainstream Catholic church's (which are always open for use by any protestant group), and their followers being told they risk excommunication and damnation by visiting SSPX priests (while at the same time the liberal Catholics don't really believe in hell nor the primacy of the Catholic church!).
Bringing the cheer early and often, I see.
In Mathew 7:17-18 we read:
"Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit."
This is the way one might expect secular observers to to evaluate Christianity. But they never do.
Perhaps it has to do with what Paul talks about in Romans 1:21:
"Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened."
They don't see good in Christ because they are not capable of seeing good at all. It is disturbing, in light of your post, to consider what this says about mainstream Christian attitudes toward Mormons.
>Secular people see Christian beliefs through negative spectacles, as merely ridiculous - childish, absurd, wishful thinking, arbitrary stuff conjured out of nothing with zero evidence: actually embarrassing.
This is hilarious. It made me think of the special noisemakers Japanese women use to prevent anyone hearing the sounds of excretion while they're on the toilet.
>Secular people find it incomprehensible that any sane and intelligent person could believe the utter nonsense that Christians believe.
Most secular people.
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