Tom Gilson

Post-Comfortable Christianity

My November Worldview and You column at BreakPoint: Post-Comfortable Christianity:

We stand at a turning point. Some Christian thinkers have described this month’s elections as symbolizing America’s decisive turn into post-Christianity. Respectfully I disagree, though my assessment is no less somber….

I’m describing this new phenomenon as “post-comfortable Christianity.” I’ve tried to come up with another name for it with more zing; I’d be gratified, after all, if I could coin a new term that would catch on widely. I fear this one suffers from a certain sleepiness that will hinder that happening. But that drowsy feeling is actually part of what I want to describe. We have been comfortable (at least in the ways I described above), but now we have uninvited guests coming in to prod us off our couches. The temptation is to blink, yawn, and stretch; mumble our protests; and roll over to continue our naps. And this is where the historical uniqueness of our situation comes into play….

 

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3 thoughts on “Post-Comfortable Christianity

  1. Correction: Richard Dawkins did not urge “contempt and ridicule upon believers”.

    What he actually said was: I don’t despise religious people; I despise what they stand for. I like to quote the British journalist Johann Hari who said, “I have so much respect for you that I cannot respect your ridiculous ideas.” …Religion makes specific claims about the universe which need to be substantiated and need to be challenged and, if necessary, need to be ridiculed with contempt.

    He specifically and explicitly challenged “ideas” and “claims“, not beleivers.

  2. Ray,

    Really? “[H]e specifically and explicitly challenged “ideas” and “claims“, not beleivers.”

    Toward the end of the transcript is this paragraph.

    “So when I meet somebody who claims to be religious, my first impulse is: “I don’t believe you. I don’t believe you until you tell me do you really believe — for example, if they say they are Catholic — do you really believe that when a priest blesses a wafer it turns into the body of Christ? Are you seriously telling me you believe that? Are you seriously saying that wine turns into blood?” Mock them! Ridicule them! In public!”

    Where in this paragraph is he talking about mocking or ridiculing the ideas? He is clearly speaking about the people claiming to be religious.

    And by the way there is a HUGE gap of material encompassed by the ellipsis in the quote you provided.

  3. And by the way there is a HUGE gap of material encompassed by the ellipsis in the quote you provided.

    Exactly. He’s setting the context, and bookending it because it’s so important. He says, immediately after the part you just quoted, “Religion is not off the table. Religion is not off limits.” That seems to me to very definitely put it in the context of attacking ideas, not people.

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