Monday, March 12, 2012

Destroying Our Roots

I note that last week the New York Times carried a huge ad attacking the Catholic Church. The ad was paid for by the Freedom From Religion organization.

Can there be a freedom from anything? The only way to have freedom from something is to wipe it out.

If you're really going to have freedom from Christianity, say, you'd have to destroy western civilization itself. There's no end of writers and artists you'd have to toss out of the canon, Tolstoy and Milton and Rembrandt, Dostoevsky and Dante and Michaelangelo only among the very most prominent of them. For 2,000 years, most of the intellectual progress in the west, for all the missteps and conflicts, was spawned by Christianity and Christians, including the preservation and renewal of classical thought.

In this country, most of today's bastions of secular intellectual thought, such as Yale, Princeton, and Harvard, were established by believing Christians. Do their graduates know this? The two great social justice movements of American history, the Abolitionist movement in the 19th century and the Civil Rights movement in the 20th, were initiated and led by Christians putting Christian ideals into practice.

Many Americans aren't believing Christians. Many like myself aren't very active or practicing. But most of us are cultural and historical Christians. I was raised in a Roman Catholic milieu. I can no more take that tremendous heritage out of my being than I can freely cut off my right arm. Neither can we remove the Christian heritage from our civilization without greatly altering that civilization, taking a giant leap of faith-- a gamble that by killing all trace of God and the church all will proceed as before.

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