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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

What We Worship

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Another likely terror attack, this time in New York.  Pray for the victims and their families.

Today marks the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation.  As the host discussed with Eric Metaxas yesterday it is possible to trace the ideological roots of the United States to the events that this date marks.  As history goes, this is a big one.  But when events like New York come along the history dims just a bit more.  Like all great moments in history the Reformation has brought so much marvelous to us, but it also has its drawbacks.  As this date has approached I have struggled with what precisely to say about it.  I still am.  So I will instead send you to Dr. Stanley Hauerwas – it sums up things pretty well – at least religiously.

The Reformation lead to a Christian explosion, but as religiosity continues to retreat from our public spaces I cannot help but reflect that the events in the wake of the Reformation have played a role in that retreat.  The erosion of ecclesiastical authority that has come in the Protestant dispersion has rendered Christianity a cacophony, often so at war with itself that an effective voice becomes nearly impossible.

The other day we looked at how much of Christianity’s failure to uphold traditional familial structures has lead to identity politics.  It has grown to the point that identity politics seems to allow us to leave not merely religion, but reason behind us.  In yesterday’s NYTimes, David Brooks drew a much straighter line stating that for many politics has become an idol.  There is much to quibble with in the details of Brook’s piece, but his central concern that politics is an idol for many is a valuable one.

As evidence I will cite this post from Powerline‘s Stephen Hayward:

But slow down a moment: why would Weinstein—and the culture of sexual harassment apparently widespread in Democrat-run institutions (like the California state legislature, according to the New York Times this morning)—have remained unchallenged if Hillary was in the White House? Probably for the same reason that Bill Clinton got a pass for his relentless behavior 20 years ago: power is the most important thing to liberals. And if the dignity and safety of a few women have to be sacrificed, well, broken omelets and all that. After all, as we now know, everyone knew about Weinstein. But did nothing about it.

Let me summarize that a little differently.  Your idols define your morality – if political power is your idol, then sexual morality be damned.

The old “Chestertonian” quote comes to mind:

When Man ceases to worship God he does not worship nothing but worships everything.

Does that not seem the case today?  Whether worshiping identity or politics or science, or….we seem to be worshiping so much that simply does not work.

I often reflect on why I believe in God, and particularly Christianity, as I do.  There are reasons logical, spiritual and supernatural.  But there is one not often discussed that is hitting me quite hard right now – it works.  I don’t know how else to put it – Christianity works.  It works on a personal level and it works on a societal level.  It has even worked as its voice grows cacophonous and dilute.  We are attacked and we so often fail, but Christianity still manages to work – somehow – at least if we are willing to take as step back and look beyond the immediate.

It is working now, even though it is terribly hard to see.


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