Home > Uncategorized > America\’s god is dying – ABC Religion & Ethics – Opinion

America\’s god is dying – ABC Religion & Ethics – Opinion

American Protestants do not have to believe in God because they believe in belief. That is why we have never been able to produce interesting atheist in America. The god most American say they believe in just is not interesting enough to deny…

The church in America became American – or, as Noll puts it, “because the churches had done so much to make America, they could not escape living with what they had made.”…

As a result Americans continue to maintain a stubborn belief in a god, but the god they believe in turns out to be the American god. To know or worship that god does not require that a church exist because that god is known through the providential establishment of a free people.

This is a presumption shared by the religious right as well as the religious left in America. Both assume that America is the church…

America is the great experiment in Protestant social thought, but the society Protestants created now threatens to make Protestantism unintelligible to itself. Put as directly as I can, I believe we may be living at a time when we are watching Protestantism, at least the kind of Protestantism we have in America, come to an end. It is dying of its own success…

More Americans may go to church than their counterparts in Europe, but the churches to which they go do little to challenge the secular presumptions that form their lives or the lives of the churches to which they go. For the church is assumed to exist to reinforce the presumption that those that go to church have done so freely.

The church’s primary function, therefore, is to legitimate and sustain the presumption that America represents what all people would want to be if they had the benefit of American education and money. That is what Americans mean by ‘freedom’. Thus the presumption that if you get to choose between a Sony or Panasonic television you have had a “free choice.” The same presumption works for choosing a President. Once you have made your choice you have to learn to live with it. So there is a kind of resignation that freedom requires…

But the problem with such an account of responsibility is it makes marriage, among other things, completely unintelligible. How could you ever know what you were doing when you promised life-long monogamous fidelity?…

The fear of death is necessary to insure a level of cooperation between people who otherwise share nothing in common. In other words, they share nothing in common other than the presumption that death is to be avoided at all costs.

That is why in America hospitals have become our cathedrals and physicians are our priests. I’d even argue that America’s almost pathological reliance on medicine is but a domestic manifestation of its foreign policy. America is a culture of death because Americans cannot conceive of how life is possible in the face of death. And thus ‘freedom’ comes to stand for the attempt to live as though we will not die…

We are now facing the end of Protestantism. America’s god is dying. Hopefully, that will leave the church in America in a position where it has nothing to lose. And when you have nothing to lose, all you have left is the truth. So I am hopeful that God may yet make the church faithful – even in America.

via America\’s god is dying – ABC Religion & Ethics – Opinion.

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