With most of the mainstream Christian churches increasingly corrupted into the active support of evil; and most of them effectively closed anyway - the prospect for Christians is one of a solo spirituality. And this is something which has very seldom been seen before: Christians are in uncharted territory.
Many people already (before 2020) found that church Christianity was insipid - even despite the potentially powerful effects of group reinforcement, singing and music, ritual and symbolism, architecture and tradition. Subtract these, and the prospect of a lifetime of solitary Christian practice may sound very unattractive - likely to be feak and weeble.
Certainly, I personally feel a need for my experience of faith to be intense and powerful; and when this cannot be assisted by external stimuli; this situation naturally points towards the near necessity for direct and personal spiritual experience.
This may be a reason behind my fascination with Philip K Dick's Exegesis - not in any specific way, but as an example of how intense and powerful Christian spiriual experience can be for a modern Man - one who was surrounded by a typical modern social environment that was mostly uninterested, actively-misleading or atheistically hostile.
On the one hand, it is a snare for Christians to seek intense and powerful spiritual experience for its own sake, as a psychological 'trip'; on the other hand, many Christians are very obviously - by various methods, some metaphysical, some dogmatic, some psychological - actively blocking the possibility of themselves having intense and powerful spiritual experiences.
In a context where institutional "Christianity" is either corrupt, absent - or both! - this self-blocking would seem to be a guarantee of too weak, too insipid, too feeble a faith to endure the current and future trials.
Dr Charlton, while agreeing about the moribund nature of the institutional churches in Western Europe, isn't there a danger of total anarchism in the completely individualistic approach?
How can one distinguish genuine spiritual experience from self-delusion, narcissism and plain nonsense?
@Karl - "How can one distinguish genuine spiritual experience from self-delusion, narcissism and plain nonsense?" That's what this blog has been about for the past 7 years.
Many are afraid of the responsibility a direct spiritual experience would place upon them. I remember a sermon a priest gave in my college days in which he urged us to ask the Lord what he wants us to do. He went on to say that one might be afraid to ask because the Lord "might ask me to do something I don't want to do."
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