At The Orthosphere, there’s a post purporting to argue that the Cathedral was not constructed by Christians. Presumably the title was changed by someone other than the author of the text of the post, because the post ably demonstrates that Christians did in fact build the Cathedral. Indeed, the post is recommended.
Here’s the gist:
What you should do is remember that a Great Schism rent American Protestantism in the early nineteenth century, with the sundering fissure tearing through denominations, and even congregations. Protestants on one side of the fissure called themselves “liberals,” those on the other side called themselves “orthodox.” . . .
Liberal Protestantism is a new, post-Christian religion that in its early stages opportunistically spoke in a Christian idiom, but nevertheless preached a new gospel. . . .
We live today under the watch and care of officious Puritans. As of old, they believe that they are better than other people, and they have got hold of a “great ‘moral’ idea” to get themselves into power. This regime has no official name, but its detractors use terms such as “totalitarian humanism,” “political correctness” and “the Cathedral.” I suspect that most conservative Christians feel intuitive distrust of this regime, and sense that it is at heart an alien ideology. But they will at the same time read writers on the left and right who claim that it grew out of Christianity, and more especially out of Calvinist New England. These writers, many of whom are exceedingly capable and interesting, may cause some conservative Christians to wonder whether it is, indeed, possible to be both conservative and Christian. This post attempts to answer that question. It is a sort of paternity test on the Humanist Heresy; and what it has shown is that the Humanist Heresy is not our baby. There is no reason on earth why we should pay child support.
I plan to pick a few nits, but – again – the post good and well worth your time.
The first nit is the timeline. American progressivism is not a force that sprung from minds of few in the early 1800s. It’s a force that is older than the republic itself. Of course, on this subject, I can do no better than defer to Nick B. Steves:
But the Puritan Hypothesis isn’t about the slate of doctrine, but the evolving memetic culture. If you extract any Protestant memetic DNA from amber that solidified prior to about 1940 (certainly prior to 1910), sure it all looks pretty non-progressive by today’s standards. But once you compare that sample with others taken each decade, it is quite clear that you’re 1940 sample was an ancestor of today’s NYT editor.
And it also becomes quite clear that the 1940 sample itself was descended from the Puritan DNA that landed in New England three centuries earlier, who “progressed” from demanding Charles’ head, to fomenting a colonial rebellion, to bringing slavery to a violent end, to giving women the right to vote, to banning alcohol, to “No-Fault” Divorce Laws, to “Gay Marriage”, to bombing Syria just for the helluvit. With a lot of twists and turns along the way to be sure, but all in an unmistakable direction: The Zeitgeist—the Arc of History.
The second and third nits are with the concluding thoughts. If progressive Christianity is really the bastard spawn of Christianity, don’t the Orthodox at least need to call out their enemy? Yet when I – is there any other non-religious commenter on the interwebz more pro-religion that me? – criticize progressive Christianity, my Orthodox readers jump to the defense of their supposed enemy. If you don’t owe it child support, why do you all seem to pay it anyway? How obvious does it have to get?
Finally, and most importantly, the issue at hand is not whether it is “possible to be both conservative and Christian.” In that, all sides agree that it is possible. The issue is whether or not (orthodox) Christianity is a vehicle capable of combatting (progressive) Christianity. The track record would suggest that the answer is no. We can question whom the true Scotsman is all day long, but if one of our potential Scotsmen always wins, he’ll eventually inherit Scotland in all the ways that matter.