Don’t Scoff at ‘Social Justice.’ Don’t Anchor Yourself to It, Either.
Today’s progressive activists have plenty in common with the biblical prophets. But some differences are too vast to ignore.
Not many soon-to-be parents have the delight of saying, “Grandmother, guess what? You are going to be a great-grandmother!” My own grandmother eventually received four such announcements from me.
Her response was always the same: “I don’t know why anyone would bring a child into this world.”
She was glad to hold those great-grandchildren in her arms, of course. But her cynical greeting was shaped by the certainty that the world as she knew it was going to hell in a handbasket. The wider church was echoing her concerns. In retracting its anchor from Christian faith and tradition, Western civilization seemed to be cutting itself adrift. Unmoored from religious devotion, our society would hurtle along an inevitable trajectory toward ethical chaos. When I was a kid, the Christian adults I knew believed everyone’s great-grandchildren would inherit a religion-less world of vice and immorality.
They were wrong. Though faith has waned, the culture we now inhabit is fiercely religious. Secular society today is as morally sensitive as the Christendom church ever was. Virtue is championed with religious fervor—and furor.
Douglas Murray opens his book The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity with a line from the Catholic philosopher G. K. Chesterton: “The special mark of the modern world is not that it is skeptical, but that it is dogmatic without knowing it.” Perhaps one legacy of a fading Christendom era is that even notionally godless social movements tend to look, feel, and act like religious uprisings, especially in their pious embrace of (reconfigured) virtues. As the secular plows hollow out our collective soul, harbingers of a “new religion” …
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