An offended Calvinist writes about my cracking wise concerning the “fumes of Calvinism”:
Would you elaborate? Taken at face value it is an utterly fatuous statment.
Concepts highly prized by Puritans still exist in debased form in American mass culture. We’re still a city on a hill, though we now use the hill to broadcast Planned Parenthood messages written by comfortable white Rockefeller Foundation types to all those charming little brown-skinned people who need our ministrations in order to make sure there aren’t too many of them. We’re still certain we’re Elect, even though we’ve been elected to bring the blessings of MTV to the world. Total depravity is true–of Republicans. We’re still predestined, but it’s predestination by the Forces of History, and its goal is Total Conformity to the Image and Likeness of the Editorial Board of the New York Times. It’s not an accident that places like Boston have long been centers of this sort of thinking. Calvinism mutated to Unitarianism and, when it died and rotted in a shallow secular grave, gave off fumes of self-righteous liberalism than you can still smell. Sure there are still a few diehards who truly believe in Calvinism as it was in the 16th Century. They live, for the most part, in a compound in Moscow Idaho and are confidently awaiting the mass conversion of American society to their way of thinking as they invoke the spirit of Rushdoony. They will wait long. Likewise, Calvinism is not quite the driving force it once was in England. As C.S. Lewis once observed, “I am a converted pagan living among apostate Puritans.”
For a lengthier treatment of the curious way in which cultures can die of Truth Cancer (and the way in which the gospel can redeem us from such a fate) see my essay “Truth Cancer and the Redemption of Rebellion“.