by Brad Nelson 5/24/15
Mike Konrad has an interesting article today at American Thinker: Why Official Christianity is Dying. The gist of it is contained in this quote:
What separates Christianity from all other religions is a hard truth: Man is intrinsically evil. This flies in the face of hyper-leftist dogma that man is essentially good; all that is necessary is an environmental tune up.
Others have called him out on being too Calvinistic. I think the problem stems from perhaps not distinguishing between the idea of man being inherently capable of evil (inevitably drawn to it) vs. being irredeemably and intrinsically evil. (Calvinists just like to rant…I can appreciate that aspect.) And the backdrop to this should be that man also seems inherently capable of good. So it’s not all one or the other.
That quote (his quote near the beginning of his article) might be a little out of context. Generally I think he’s nailed an important point. And it’s one Dennis Prager states as: “We may be born innocent, but we are not born good. We have to be made good.” That’s a paraphrase from memory, but should be close to what he has said before. Here’s another central quote from the article:
This doctrine is called “Original Sin;” and it has been replaced in our culture by self-esteem.
And the following is something libertarians need to understand. The market is not all we need. Your “non-coercian” ethic is naive and incomplete. And it takes more than “voluntary contract between two consenting people” to make a good society, let alone to have justice:
Good aspects of human nature were not denied, but rather understood as still imperfect, and needing of control. If men did not control themselves according to Christian principle, they would be controlled by tyrants.
This is good as well:
Men need to be told they are depraved, and they need free grace. It is not earned. Our churches do not teach this. This is why official Christianity in the West is dying. We need a restoration of humility and perspective to define our behavior and to define our goals in society.
If the churches, of whatever denomination, continue to ignore this, let them die out. What recent surveys show is that Christianity is not shrinking — just the 501(c)3 official corporation churches — but merely retreating to home churches and bible studies, which is how the church started out in the first century. Despite what clerics think, God does not need clergy.
Most men do not like to admit they’re are hopelessly rotten. Certainly not Marxists or Muslims.
The comments section there is pretty active on this one. Yes, my eyes tend to glaze over because everyone has his or her own idea of how this all works theologically…which gives me little confidence that many of them have even the slightest clue. But there are some good comments worth reading. There are some interesting discussion of words-vs-faith. One of my favorite comments was by curtmilr:
Mainstream Christianity is failing their congregations. The Megachurch phenomenon, which is entertainment tied to self-esteem preening, has replaced the Gospel.
Whatever one believes theologically, there is a central point here: Those who think man is basically good are naive. Those who think goodness or salvation comes only from works are prone to spread their unresolved misery and flaws to others. And that’s what we see happening all over the West as “do-gooders” involve themselves in outreach when they should first deal with some stuff inside themselves. Introspection is not a liberal value.
Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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