Thursday, November 15, 2012

Reduced Religious Vitality, Our Nation, and the 2012 Election

Reduced Religious Vitality, Our Nation, and the 2012 Election - Institute on Religion & Democracy (IRD):

But the Sea of Faith is receding in America. We are hearing “its long, melancholy, withdrawing roar" (to quote Matthew Arnold). Its withdrawal is applauded by the “nones” (those without religious connections) and the more ardent secularists, who voted spectacularly for Obama. They want a public square denuded of religion and  private life shaped by unfettered desire. Our weakened religious culture will produce virtue for some time yet, but how long before we tumble headlong into the abyss of our possibilities?

In short, our economic mess is a product of our social disorder, which in turn has much to do with our weakened religious vitality. This all cannot be blamed on Obama, but his victory was enabled by it. At the very least it is a symptom of it. What to do about it?  One response might be the Epicurean: build a wall around your little castle to keep out the din of decay and enjoy the small pleasures of life. Another might be to hope for and participate in a religious renewal. Jonathan Edwards, “America’s theologian,’ argued that human flourishing in history was dependent on religious revival fueled by the movement of the Spirit. The First Great Awakening—in which he vigorously participated—issued in the movement for independence from Britain. Maybe a new awakening can save us from our decline. 
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