THE challenge of this time, in this place (the modern West) is that unless our Christian faith is conscious and active; it will not survive.
In the past and in other places, a socially-inculcated, immersive Christianity - just accepted and rejoiced in - was sufficient. Here and now it isn't. Other times and places the Christian could be 'once born' - now he must be twice-born*.
When I became a Christian, declared myself a Christian - I was at first once-born. My Christian faith was a gradual, seamless transition from prior atheism and materialism. It was only after a few months, in response to the challenge of first finding myself in a 'liberal' (ie fake) church and then in a real (in this instance evangelical) church that I was 'born again' and recognised the qualitative break in my perspective on everything that Christianity meant.
(Much credit for this must go to the way that the best protestants emphasise the theme of 'salvation by faith' - it was exactly what I needed at that point.)
It is my belief that our society, England, Albion - The West - was divinely intended to transition between a once-born Christianity (socially implemented and inculcated, passive, unconscious, taking it for granted) to the twice born state. However, the only path from once to twice is via the recognition and inner experience of atheism, doubt, nihilism - and despair.
Ideally, the phase of atheism is a brief transition. But The West, by failing to resist demonic temptation - especially in relation to sex (the second-most powerful human instinct, after religion), but also from pride-resentment and more general this-wordly hedonism, backed by pervasive dishonesty - got stuck in the atheist, materialist, sceptical phase. the phase became 'permanent' - having lasted and increased and accelerated over about nine generations so far - except that it is self-destroying.
So, our starting point is atheism, materialism, nihilism - fuelled by hedonism and reinforced by dishonesty. That is where we are. That is where we start from - and things are still getting worse.
The fact that many individuals are Not in this state (are once-born Christians) - is fortunate for them (until they get corrupted) but we should not be distracted from the essence of our predicament. We cannot return to the once-born situation, because that depends-upon society being organised such that Christianity is natural, spontaneous, instinctive and pretty much just-happens. Insofar as our Christianity relies upon a Christian milieu, upon passive absorption, it will be corrupted, sooner or later.
From where we are, we can only move forward to a deliberate, conscious, chosen Christianity - such as has never existed in the past except among a few individuals.
That is the special challenge of these times - for individual, not for 'society' because society is lost, gone, destroyed. So, we must rely upon individuals, one at a time, finding their own path. Which includes finding for themselves - with invisible divine help, no doubt, once intent is established - but not being fed, the help they need.
The key word is agency. It is not about 'individualism' but about agency - which is 'free will', but free will of the real (and divine) self. It is getting our-selves to the situation of recognising the deepest and most important issues and assumptions, and taking personal responsibility for our choices, our faith, our beliefs, our motivations.
We must first become agents (which is not a spontaneous thing - but an achievement) and then exercise our agency. Of course, people may choose wrongly, but where we are now is that people are not even choosing. They are once-born evil! We need to be twice-born - even if we are already once-born Christians.
It is a huge risk; but that risk is unavoidable in going from once- to twice-born; and that is The risk which is characteristic, definitive, of this time and place.
*The distinction of once- versus twice-born comes from William James's book The Varieties of Religious Experience.