The end of cultural Christianity

There was a time, not long ago, when people were just expected to go to church.  It was a cultural thing–to be respectable, a fine upstanding member of the community, you went to church.  Whether or not you believed it or practiced it or not.  The upshot was churches full of nominal Christians.

Today, though, that is not, in general, the case.  I suspect it may still be in some communities, but more usually there is no stigma against not attending church, and in some cases there is a stigma if you do.

Some are lamenting this development, but I’m thinking this may be a good thing.  Why might that be?  What might be the down side for the culture?  After the jump, a link to a discussion on the subject.  [Read more...]

Reducing religion & morality to what is “useful”

More from Daniel Schwindt on de Tocqueville, this time about how Americans–because of their rationalism and individualism–tend to see both religion and morality in terms of what is “useful.”  (Again, thanks to Daniel Broaddus.) [Read more...]

American rationalism and individualism

Alexis de Tocqueville, writing in the early days of the republic, was one of the most perceptive and prophetic observers of American culture.  He’s often misinterpreted, though, which Daniel Schwindt tries to address in a fascinating essay about what the French nobleman was really saying about religion in America.  (Thanks to Daniel Broaddus for putting me on to this.)

After the jump, an excerpt about how American’s rationalism leads to an unhealthy individualism and to a distorted version of Christianity.

[Read more...]

Italy’s Fiat will own all of Chrysler

So if you want to buy an American car–out of a sense of economic patriotism, protectionism, or because you were moved by that Chrysler commercial about being “imported from Detroit”–does this mean buying a Chrysler product doesn’t count?  Does “buying American” allow for buying a Chevrolet made in Mexico?  How about a Toyota made in Kentucky?  From CNN:

U.S. automaker Chrysler will become fully owned by Italy’s Fiat under terms of an agreement announced Wednesday that also involves the United Auto Workers union. [Read more...]

American absence

In the course of a discussion of how Vladimir Putin is rebuilding Russia’s Soviet-era spheres of influence, international affairs columnist Jackson Diehl raises yet another example of ineptness in American foreign policy. [Read more...]

The blessings of liberty

We want to do things that we can’t do, for one reason or another, and we complain about every restriction.  And yet, we really do have an incredible measure of liberty in this country.  Let us count some of the ways. . . . [Read more...]


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