Sometimes there are advantages to my advanced age. The World magazine article here from a few years ago was part of a major rumpus concerning something called Moralistic Therapeutic Deism that most of our adolescents, including many in evangelical churches, actually believe. Big deal, I thought. It bore a great resemblance to what everyone around me believed in the Eisenhower administration. I never really personally met people of a different view (except for a few conservative Catholics) until I ran into Jesus Movement people in college after 1970. The one difference is that I would call the Eisenhower era version of this Moralistic Stoic Deism. It was the established religion behind the Protestant-Catholic-Jew establishment of that era. I think it was more ‘stoic’ than ‘therapeutic’ because memories of the Depression were green, and because many people had served in the military (a more stoic than therapeutic institution, by its very nature) because of the recent unpleasantness in Europe and the Pacific (i.e., WWII). It differed from today’s MTD in some of its ethical beliefs, particularly about sexuality – conflicts between MSD and evangelicalism tended to focus on drinking, smoking, and dancing, and other not very Biblical issues. But theologically, MSD and MTD hardly differ at all. C. S. Lewis refers to a similar phenomenon in his essay from God in the Dock, “The Decline of Religion” in England even earlier. I think it was the God of MSD that was put in the flag salute and on our coins in the early 50s, and it is the God of MSD and MTD that was prayed to in public schools before ‘prayer’ was removed from public schools, and that would return if “prayer in public schools” were ever restored. I have taken Religious Right stances about some social issues, but as a Reformed Evangelical, I have never been enthusiastic about that particular one. Now, prayer FOR public schools, maybe. That sounds like a good idea!
What Being against ‘CRT’ and ‘Wokeness’ Should Not Mean
Those who want to fight against ‘CRT’ and ‘wokeness’ are doing a good thing. But it should not be an excuse for going back and whitewashing our history [pun sort of intended]. I admire the efforts of those on the […]
Hayward on ‘Extremism and Moderation’ in the GOP
The definition of ‘conservative’ or ‘right’ has changed greatly since the days of Goldwater, as Steven Hayward points out as far back as 2014. Steven Hayward was Larry Arnn’s right-hand man at Claremont Institute in the old days. Arnn moved […]
Timothy Snyder on the History Behind the Ukraine War
In his book, The Road to Unfreedom, Timothy Snyder intends to warn us about the threats to ‘freedom’ in America, Europe, and Russia. He reminds us that the war really started on February 24, 2014, not on February 24, 2022! […]