Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

How the West Really Lost God
Crisis Magazine ^ | May 10, 2013 | Austin Ruse

Posted on 05/10/2013 3:30:05 PM PDT by NYer

romney commencement

A few weeks ago Mitt Romney spoke at a college commencement exercise and encouraged the graduates to marry early and have a lot of children. He used the words “quiver full” taken from the Old Testament.

The comment was unremarkable, particularly for a Mormon to make. They are known for marrying early and having quivers full of children. Contra the contraceptive culture, even among Evangelicals, the notion of a quiver full from the Psalms is gathering steam among orthodox believers.

Here is what he said, “You only live one life. Don’t spend it in safe, shallow water. Launch into the deep. If you meet a person you love, get married. Have a quiver full of kids if you can. Give more to your occupation than is expected of you. Serve God by serving his children.”

A panel on Piers Morgan’s CNN show cackled like hens at what he said. So outrageous was his comment that they literally could not stop laughing.

One panelist from the Los Angeles Times said, “We’re seeing the real Mitt Romney emerge. This is maybe why he didn’t do so well with single women.”

A professor from Columbia University said, “This is the Mitt Romney I did not want to vote for, that I did not vote for. He kept making us think that he was this normal moderate guy but really he is a religious fanatic telling 21 year old college graduates to have binders-full of children.” Is it really abnormal, immoderate, and fanatical to counsel early marriage and big families?

CNN was not the only news outlet to erupt in mocking laughter at Romney’s comment. It was all over the place.

Not long ago such comments by an American politician would have been met with yawns. They would have been considered safe and true bromides. And not long ago a national news operation would have fired anyone for mocking such comments as religious fanaticism.

How_West Lost God covThe good news is that American politicians are still making such comments. Look across the Atlantic and such comments by a European politician would be unthinkable, career ending.

What we are witnessing is the near absolute victory of secularism in Europe and its aggressive rise in the United States. How this happened in Europe and is happening, albeit more slowly, in the United States is the topic of an important new book by the remarkable Mary Eberstadt.

Eberstadt’s book looks specifically at How the West Really Lost God. The “really” is in her title because she proposes a new theory that now competes with other more established theories of religion’s decline, all of which, according to Eberstadt, are missing a key component.

A favorite of the new atheists is the assertion that “people stopped needing the imaginary comforts of religion.” Eberstadt responds that faithfully practicing religion is quite hard. After all, it requires you to observe practices of the faith that can be onerous—fasting, for instance—or practices that are inconvenient like going to church on Sunday or those that may be downright challenging like living constricting sexual norms that the rest of society either ignores or laughs at or both.

Secularists like to claim that religion declined as science and rationalism took center stage starting with the Enlightenment. Eberstadt points out that “the masses were not part of the Enlightenment, that 18th century elites were not modern atheists but “rational Christians” and that “those who seek to draw a straight line from Voltaire to twenty-first century atheists” tend to forget the great religious revival of the intervening 19th century.

She similarly dispatches claims that the World Wars killed Christianity and that material progress did, too.

Some theories of secularization she accepts but sees them as only parts of a larger puzzle. Urbanization and industrialization can be seen as parts of a larger whole but they still leave something out. She says that authoritative scholarly books have been written on the topic—David Martin’s On Secularization for instance—that do not have a single mention of this mysterious factor.

So what is this factor, what is the real reason for religion’s decline? It is the family and the family’s decline. She calls it the Family Factor and it explains a lot.

Many of us have taken so many secularization theories as matters of faith: faith declines with education, or riches, or modernity and that families decline as religion does. Eberstadt says it’s the other way around. All those people who crowded into factories and into cities may have slowly lost the faith and all those who have PhDs and big jobs may have lost the faith, but the reason is that they also started having smaller families or broken families or no families.

As with many things in life, one does not need a sociological study to show the truth of this. Getting married and having children practically push us into the practice of faith. A wild-thing in college gets married, has a baby and almost immediately thinks of finding a Church. Taking the child to Church inevitably leads the parent to the same thing.

Look at it another way. Catholics love to picket the Bishop when at long last he has to shutter empty churches and emptying schools. These same Catholics grump about there not being enough priests. Odds are these same complaining Catholics use contraception, had only two children and have waned in the practice of their faith while they wax nostalgic for earlier days.

Eberstadt points out something that all sociologists and theories of secularization agree with, that the great cliff that the faith fell from was the 1960’s. And it wasn’t because of rock music, Vietnam or marijuana. It was the pill. Eberstadt has dealt beautifully with the pill in her wonderful book Adam and Eve After the Pill. She points out that the Pill simply destroyed and continues to destroy families and when the family is destroyed the faith declines.

A short column cannot do justice to the wide and deep reading and all the evidence Eberstadt has marshaled for her argument, so you are urged to read this book. What is certain is that this is one of those books that will forever change the conversation about why Christianity is in decline in the West.



TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: bookreview; christendom; evangelical; faith; mormon; thewest
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-6061-8081-85 next last

1 posted on 05/10/2013 3:30:05 PM PDT by NYer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: NYer

It will be the Christians from the “global south” nations that will most likely be sent to the west and bring back the Gospel of Jesus.


2 posted on 05/10/2013 3:32:15 PM PDT by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Alternate title: How God Lost the West


3 posted on 05/10/2013 3:32:42 PM PDT by Misterioso (It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing - Duke Ellington)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

They gotta’ provide bodies for spirit children. On a more practical note, conservatives need to provide voters for the future. I’ve done my part, and encourage the yoots to do the same.


4 posted on 05/10/2013 3:32:48 PM PDT by pallis
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...
Look at it another way. Catholics love to picket the Bishop when at long last he has to shutter empty churches and emptying schools. These same Catholics grump about there not being enough priests. Odds are these same complaining Catholics use contraception, had only two children and have waned in the practice of their faith while they wax nostalgic for earlier days.

Just saw this on tonight's local news coverage of the dismemberment of a local Catholic Church. Yesterday, it was like a circus atmosphere as people gathered to watch the demolition team. Food vendors set up their carts and news reporters sent their cable towers heavenward. So many people! They spent hours watching yet not one of them showed up for mass at church or has even inquired about mass times.

5 posted on 05/10/2013 3:32:49 PM PDT by NYer (Beware the man of a single book - St. Thomas Aquinas)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Very sad. I really liked the decoration of the wall area behind the altar of the church. Guess it exists only in pictures and memories now.

Also, although I don’t frequently tune in, I heard nominal Catholic Sean Hannity say he has “NO PROBELMO” with contraception for the masses*.

*Unintentional irony implied in use of multi-meaning word “masses”?


6 posted on 05/10/2013 3:41:05 PM PDT by steve86 (Acerbic by Nature, not NurtureĀ™)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: NYer

“A professor from Columbia University said, “This is the Mitt Romney I did not want to vote for, that I did not vote for. He kept making us think that he was this normal moderate guy but really he is a religious fanatic telling 21 year old college graduates to have binders-full of children.” Is it really abnormal, immoderate, and fanatical to counsel early marriage and big families?”

Because it’s so hip, so urban and chic, in a European sort of way, to let your ethnicity (yes, white Americans are an ethnicity) to die of extinction.

Just ask the French how cool it is to sit at the cafe and to try to sound philosophical and to live for pleasure above all else.

Listen to their smug answers.

Then read George Wiegel’s “The Cube and the Cathedral” and you’ll understand why those same hip French sitting at their cafes are being forced to run for cover as Islamic youths burn their towns down.


7 posted on 05/10/2013 3:41:10 PM PDT by Ghost of Philip Marlowe (Prepare for survival.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Let’s not start looking to Mitt Romney, a leader in an anti-Christian religious cult, as a fellow believer who in some way brings us honor or good advice. It’s an embarrassment everytime the LDS is compared to Christianity.


8 posted on 05/10/2013 3:43:29 PM PDT by Greetings_Puny_Humans
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

This can be summarized succinctly. “Sex outside of marriage is catastrophic.”

It weakens adults, who then eventually produce weaker children. Children of single mothers have disadvantaged lives and are 60% more likely to criminally offend.

Family prosperity is handicapped and marriages are destroyed by adultery. For all the endless promises from sex outside of marriage, all that really results is disaster.

And marriage is a religious sacrament. Without religious support of marriage, it truly becomes what the atheists have always imagined it to be, a social contrivance.

It is the job of religion to enforce marriage, to prevent outsiders from interloping, and to prevent children from being molested.


9 posted on 05/10/2013 3:56:55 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy (Best WoT news at rantburg.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

The main stream media just can’t get enough of mocking Romney and his religion. Every chance they get.


10 posted on 05/10/2013 4:00:47 PM PDT by District13 (I miss my country!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

True. At the core of it, it’s fornication (sex before marriage) that killed marriage, and with it, ruined society.

Yet, watch how most, including here, give fornication a free pass, as if it were nothing. The whole point that sex before marriage is as unbiblical as homosexuality just escapes these hypocrite fools.


11 posted on 05/10/2013 4:20:40 PM PDT by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: NYer

My grandmother said that America was in decline because we rejected God, beginning at the turn of the century. In her rural Florida childhood her family held devotions every evening. At the end of her life (she lived to 108) she would put herself to sleep singing the old hymns.

For the first few decades it really didn’t look like we were rejecting God. Now it has become all too obvious.


12 posted on 05/10/2013 4:53:08 PM PDT by Liberty Wins
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Liberty Wins

It’s all about Free Will — He never forces us to accept Him.

We can reject God, but at our own peril.


13 posted on 05/10/2013 5:07:25 PM PDT by 353FMG ( I do not say whether I am serious or sarcastic -- I respect FReepers too much.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: NYer

My library never gets her books.


14 posted on 05/10/2013 5:27:07 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Sarah is right.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Liberty Wins
Your grandmother was a very savvy woman. She was absolutely right. This began in 1960 when atheist, Madlyn Murray O'Hare filed a lawsuit against the Baltimore City Public School System, in which she asserted that it was unconstitutional for her son William to be required to participate in Bible readings at Baltimore public schools. In 1963, SCOTUS voted 8–1 to ban mandatory Bible verse recitation at public schools in the United States. Like a snowball, it began slowly and has accelerated ever since. The ironic thing is that unlike other countries where communist governments have imposed their will on the peoples, here, it is occurring through the electorate process ... essentially, the will of the people.
15 posted on 05/10/2013 6:19:16 PM PDT by NYer (Beware the man of a single book - St. Thomas Aquinas)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Greetings_Puny_Humans

Not a fan of his brand of Protestantism?


16 posted on 05/10/2013 7:24:04 PM PDT by RPTMS
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: James C. Bennett; yefragetuwrabrumuy
Yet, watch how most, including here, give fornication a free pass, as if it were nothing. The whole point that sex before marriage is as unbiblical as homosexuality just escapes these hypocrite fools.

Provide some links to said posts. Otherwise you statement can be dismissed as the fertilizer that it is.

17 posted on 05/10/2013 9:18:21 PM PDT by metmom (For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: RPTMS; Greetings_Puny_Humans
Not a fan of his brand of Protestantism?

Mormonism isn't Protestantism.

But I detect the hubris of a Catholic who thinks that anything non-Catholic = Protestant and has the right to define as such.

I'll tell you what..... If you have the right to define *Protestant* for them, then non-Catholics have the right to define *Catholic* for Catholics.

18 posted on 05/10/2013 9:22:06 PM PDT by metmom (For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: James C. Bennett; yefragetuwrabrumuy
True. At the core of it, it’s fornication (sex before marriage) that killed marriage, and with it, ruined society. Yet, watch how most, including here, give fornication a free pass, as if it were nothing. The whole point that sex before marriage is as unbiblical as homosexuality just escapes these hypocrite fools.

I agree with y'all. I disagree that it was "the pill" that started the moral decline because its appearance was only an answer to what the post-war society had already started to accept - sexual "liberty" for women to be just like men. Women going into the marketplace and becoming "equal" to men demanding equal pay as well as all the perks that went along with this new liberation - freedom from being mere housewives, barefoot and pregnant. It was the so-called Women's' Lib movement that pushed for the availability of contraception and then abortion. I read awhile back that the birth control pill was invented to help married women space out their children better. It wasn't that long ago (1970's) that you had to BE married, or at least engaged, to even get a prescription for them from reputable doctors. Now, pre-teens can get them free from their local Planned Parenthood, with their parents never even knowing about it. Now, there's nothing wrong with women getting equal pay for equal work, and I have nothing against women working, single OR married. I WAS both. But the joys of motherhood - raising children in a stable, two-parent home, where the Mom was there for her kids - has been replaced by a false super-mom concept that NEVER really works as well as it's hyped.

We all know that sex outside of marriage is hardly a new thing. Ancient cultures had their abortifacients and, when they failed, infanticide was often the solution. But it's only been since the 60's that sexual immorality has slowly become accepted and even expected in most cultures. So, yes, fornication has and does ruin societies and civilizations.

We, as Christians, should recognize that our Creator set up his commandments and rules in order that we would prosper and be happy. He made us - he sure must know what is best for us! We really have no excuse for rejecting those rules and we will never be healed as a nation and as a world until there is repentance, forsaking of this terrible sin, prayer and seeking after God. He promises that he WILL forgive and heal our land - it is never too late.

19 posted on 05/10/2013 9:43:05 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: metmom

Why not? You’ve already taken it upon yourself to define Mormonism.


20 posted on 05/10/2013 10:19:15 PM PDT by RPTMS
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-6061-8081-85 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson