Monday, November 24, 2008

Christianity without Culture?

John Neuhaus of First Things has a great piece that I read this weekend. Thought I'd pass it on.

The Deadly Convienence of Christianity without Culture

“Gnosticism” may not be the right word for it, but it is what Harold Bloom in The American Religion calls a religion of the self. It is a seductive way of accommodating differences by declaring a truce in contentions over truth. The “Christ without culture” model—meaning Christianity indifferent to culture—would seem to produce a circumstance in which religion is impervious to culture and culture is impervious to religion. But, in fact, it results in religion’s acquiescing in the culture’s demand that religion confine itself to the sphere of privacy.

In his classic study at the beginning of the last century, The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James describes religion as that which a man does with his solitude. What one does with one’s solitude may take many different forms, from mystical experience, to thinking positively in ways that maximize your potential, to ten-step meditation techniques resulting in a greater measure of inner peace. In more contemporary language, religion—or, if you prefer, spirituality—is whatever works for you.


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