" is sex the linchpin of Christian cultural order? Is it really the case that to cast off Christian teaching on sex and sexuality is to remove the factor that gives—or gave—Christianity its power as a social force?"Rod Dreher smacks an argument to the jaws of Western civilization. But Western civilization fights back through the counter-punches of Donald Devine. Who will win? Actually, maybe both as they score various hits on different parts of the body politic.
Dreher is warning that Western society embracing same sex marriage is effectively a choice to hasten the demise of Christianity as the social force of Western civilization. Devine argues that Christianity is a victim of its own power, in this case the power of individualism which Jesus unleashed on the world (however unintentionally). Yet Devine also underscores the death of Christianity,
"What we see today in the success of gay marriage is not really freedom run amok, but the result of turning the power to define morality over to the state, or to the dominant group representing it."Is the state is the new god of the Western world, worshipped in the cathedral of parliament, led by the high priests and priestesses elected by the people to 'represent' them to the god but subject to the influential judgments of the elders (also known as 'journalists')?
The demise of Christianity is also measured in my post yesterday: the failing power of Christianity is evidenced by the lack of concern the Western world shows for persecuted Christians.
For decades we have known that Christendom no longer defined the relationship between Christianity and the West but we have harboured the sentiment that Christianity nevertheless remained the ruling paradigm for morality, justice and human dignity. The last nail in the coffin of Christendom turns out, pace Dreher and Devine, to also be the nail which deflates the balloon of inflated expectations about Christianity's cultural influence.
The death of Christianity as the social force for Western civilization is a Good Friday moment in history. We need to use Holy Saturday to prepare for the Day of Christianity's Resurrection.
On that day we will not be restored to former glories and life in the citadel of power. But we will experience again the power of the Holy Spirit.