Theological Liberalism: The Scenic Route Back to Paganism

As the old saying goes, when men stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing–they believe in anything.

God becoming man? Jesus rising from the dead? Sin and the forgiveness thereof? The theological liberalism of yesteryear decided that such things were too ridiculous–too absurd–for modern, enlightened people to accept. Sophisticated minds, we were told, require a more sophisticated religion–a religion that isn’t beholden to the superstitious nonsense of the benighted past.

And that’s why Union Seminary was unironically praying to potted plants back in September: because they are wise, sophisticated, and not-at-all superstitious.

That’s also why the Church of Sweden appointed as successor to their obsolete savior a little blonde girl who is dutifully terrified of global cooling  global warming climate change. After all, everyone recognizes that mature and learned adults hold up children as their ideal standard for intellects and virtues.

And we cannot forget the Church of Rome, which is growing ever more dedicated in its apparent quest to be “the world’s largest liberal protestant denomination” as LutheranPundit often puts it. What can you do when you’re too worldly and cosmopolitan for orthodoxy, but nevertheless retain a keen eye for tradition? Adopt old pagan traditions from the global south, of course. Planting trees to connect us to the divinity that dwells in Amazonian soil and raising idols of fertility goddesses in their churches are helpful ways to move away from stodgy old superstition rooted in blind faith.

It is truly remarkable just how much the post-Christian world resembles the pre-Christian world. Whether you’re reinventing the pagan wheel or simply bringing it out of storage, it’s the same old paganism either way. Even the kinder & gentler mask it wears at present is beginning to slip as the bloody aspects are already resurfacing. 3000 years ago, pagan priests would encourage their followers to ritually sacrifice their children to achieve favorable weather from the powers that be. Where we once would have considered that the platonic ideal of barbarism, today’s politicians are making what is essentially the same recommendation.  We’re closer to the bloodletting of the past than we may suspect.

Contrary to progressive beliefs, it would seem that humanity doesn’t really advance all that much. The fruits of Western Civilization that we’ve come to enjoy were never the result of our own growing wisdom and sophistication–they were the result of Christianity. After all, as we’re presently observing, it’s a remarkably quick trip back to the bottom once you try to remove Christ from the equation. Having already committed adultery with the Spirit of the Age, the post-Christian “churches” of theological liberalism are merely along for the ride.

But there’s no need for Christians to hop on board the crazy train. Those who wish to avoid being taken in by superstition and therefore look for evidence will find ample reason to believe Christianity is actually true. Those who wish to root their doctrines in something more than the passing fancies of religious communities will find deep soil in God’s inerrant word–faithfully recorded and preserved in the Bible. And most importantly, those who find children, carvings, and house plants wanting can look to Jesus Christ–the incarnate God whose claims to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life were validated not only by legitimate miracles, but by a real and well-documented bodily resurrection from the dead.

And never forget: God might not save our culture, but He will preserve His Church. The story of our sin begins and ends with paganism, but the story of our salvation begins and ends with Christ.

About Matt

Software engineer by trade; lay theologian by nature; Lutheran by grace.
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