Marilynne Robinson’s Calvinism & Progressive Democracy

Marilynne Robinson’s Calvinism & Progressive Democracy January 29, 2016

Asked by the President to explain the convergence between her Christianity and her “concerns about democracy,” Robinson offers the simplest possible explanation: she believes “people are images of God” and that “democracy is the logical, the inevitable consequence of this kind of religious humanism at its highest level.” To the President’s and the novelist’s joint chagrin, though, the “loudest voices” for Christianity in American politics don’t really take their Christianity seriously; supposedly they fail to follow Christ’s injunction to love one’s neighbor as oneself. Robinson has gone so far as to describe Christian America as “associating the precious Lord with ignorance, intolerance, and belligerent nationalism.”

To read more of this piece at the Liberty and Law Forum, click here.  I argue that there is a fundamental kinship between Marilynne Robinson’s Progressive Calvinism and the modern scientism she deplores. For Robinson the mysteries of Christianity and Progressive democracy converge in their movement away from all traditional categories and constraints, with their implicit teleological assertions, a movement guided by the “vision of the soul, all souls, realizing itself in the course of transforming everything that has constrained it and them.”

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