Bad Catholic, Still: Marc Barnes Picks Up His Pen at Patheos!

Bad Catholic, Still: Marc Barnes Picks Up His Pen at Patheos! January 21, 2015

I know you’ve missed him — so many of you have emailed asking, “where has The Bad Catholic gone, I miss reading him! Will he be back?”

And I kept saying, “I sure hope so,” because I missed him, too.

As both a mother and an editor, I know sometimes the birdies gotta spread their wings and fly, but when I wave them goodbye, it is always with the hope that they’ll come around again, at least for a visit.

CathPT_MarcBarnes205_bio Marc Barnes, graduated from college and now into grad school, has come around again, and we’re very happy to have him back. He kicks off his return with a piece that is typically smart, a little flippant, and alive with that very Marc-Barnesian twist we all love, as he writes on “The Blessings of Secularism”:

I learned of the importance of Christ through the weird and fearful fire reflected in the eye of the secularist gazing upon him. AD/BC showed that the birth of Christ was important. CE/BCE show that it is indispensable. AD/BC was a practical bit of Christian reasoning. CE/BCE is a terrified inability to be anything but Christian. The website Religious Tolerance — don’t ask — can say “CE and BCE are notations that are not based on religion or myth…they can be embraced by all,” but can the religions of the world embrace the division of history based on the birth of Christ, now that Christ isn’t in the name? What a remarkable, subversive, near colonial expansion of the Christian empire if they do!

But this debate has already been. I am interested in its implications. The difference between Christianity and secularism is not the difference between two competing worldviews, faiths, or philosophies, but a difference between a meaningful universe and and objective silliness. The project of secularism has not been to assert anything non-religious (for indeed, how could one assert a ‘non’?) but to rename the religious. The cathedral becomes the museum, Christmas becomes Wintertide, Charity becomes philanthropy, the ethics of Christ become the ethics of ‘rational and advanced human beings’ (with modifications), the sacrament of marriage becomes a ceremony, the City of St. Francis becomes San Francisco, baptism becomes a useful literary symbol, we forget the ‘holy’ in ‘holiday,’ the ‘God be by you’ in ‘goodbye,’ as the French forget the ‘a dieu’ (to God) in adieu — this ‘renaming’ is really no more than a separation of things from their origins and of words from their meanings. The universe that results is obscure, awkward, ill-fit, absurd — everything without explanation. But this is the perverse blessing of secularism, that the degree to which everything is without explanation is the degree to which Christianity asserts herself as the explanation.

Yeah, you know you want to go read the whole thing now, right?

The kid is back; not really a kid, anymore but still sharp as a tack! Subscribe to his feed! Follow him thither and yon. Drop a note and say “glad to see you, again!”

I know I am! Welcome back, Marc Barnes!


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