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…]

Food porn

Pornography involves watching somebody else have sex.  In South Korea, there is a new fad of watching somebody else eat.  It’s being called “gastronomical voyeurism.”

The news story, excerpted after the jump, speculates on some reasons:  More and more Koreans are living by themselves and miss the social interaction of eating with someone.  Many Koreans are on diets, restricting what they eat to the point of being able to take vicarious pleasure in watching someone eat sumptuous food for hours.  But I wonder if it is something even more primal. [Read more…]

Conservatives “have no place” in New York

Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York often mentioned as an alternative to Hillary Clinton as a Democratic presidential candidate, doesn’t want pro-lifers, Second Amendment advocates, or believers in traditional sexual morality in his state.  Here is what he said on the radio:

“Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are, and if they are the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.” Only “moderate Republicans have a place in this state.”

Michael Gerson points out that this illustrates a familiar tactic the left has been using:  Don’t argue about the issues with people you disagree with.  Present them as unworthy of being members of “our” society.  [Read more…]

Christian influence in Eastern Europe

Filip Mazurczak reports that Eastern Europe is recovering its Christian identity, not only in personal conversions but also in cultural and legal influence.

In Hungary, Croatia, and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, a pro-family, pro-life revolution and a rediscovery of Christian roots is occurring. While few in the American media have noticed, this trend should challenge those who simply lament Europe’s moral malaise. Unnoticed in the shadow of a secularized west, religion’s public role has been growing in the east since the collapse of communism. [Read more…]

At his post 29 years after the war

The Japanese soldier who held out in a Philippine jungle for 29 years after the end of World War II died.  Hiroo Onoda was 91.  Read his story–including why he finally turned himself in– after the jump.

Would you say Lt. Onoda was an example of outrageous stubborness (a vice) or inspirational integrity (a virtue)?  How does this relate to vocation? [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…]


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