“But if, as is done when the above recommendations are made, one simply thinks in instrumental terms—that is, in terms of institutional success or failure—a plausible strategy would be more supernaturalism and less sexual repression.”
While I don’t disagree that what is discussed here is probably a bad idea (I say this as a Southern Baptist), I would like to point out that this is not sexual repression but supression, aka self-control. There’s a difference. Repression denies the sex drive’s existence and drives it into the subconscious. Suppression does not permit the sex drive’s full expression.
Also, good article, otherwise.
The ethic of Divinity , without attendees realizing it, may be what attracts to Oratory in England. Anglo-Irish conservative Edmund Burke has offered religious tradition as one component of keeping humans from a moral abyss. Also, the progressive-conservative continuum may in fact be imbued by different conceptions of the reglious sphere in a modern society – relational models and how they apply both religiously and morally (although giorno ought not to apply it has become part of our spiritual world). “He who would marry the spirit of the age will soon find himself a widower.”
The author misses a critical point: the entire premiss of the Catholic Church.
That central premiss is that there really is a God who really did send his Son who really did found a Church (the same one found in Acts, the Epistles, and Revelation), that that Church is the “pillar of truth” to quote the Bible which is protected from error in TEACHINGS (NOT actions) regarding faith and morals.
Oh, and one more thing: the deposit of faith closed with the death of the last apostle.
What this means is simply this: the Church may change all sorts of things, but if it ever changes at teaching on faith and morals (e.g., decides that homosex is fine, or that adultery is fine, or that divorce is fine, or that abortion is fine): the Church would be admitting that it was a fraud from the beginning.
A deeper understanding is one thing (it’s called “development of doctrine”), a contradiction is off the table.
Besides, Western society has had a mammoth experiment, and proven the Church correct in every particular–why change now?
“Of course people on all sides of these issues have strong religious convictions.”
Is there a strongly convicted religious case for not preserving virginity until marriage? Does any strongly convicted religious believer actually make such case? Seems doubtful to me.
“One may want to be in tune with the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the age. Or, alternatively, one may have principled reasons for defying this spirit.”
Either Zeitgeist, or Holy Spirit… you cannot be the servant of two masters.
Look at Luther’s writings about the moral depravities he saw in the world around him, sometime. Things are not so different now. Look at Regency England, too.
The existence of the Victorian Era and its sanitization of literature and written history have (at least for the English-speaking peoples) given the impression that all who came before the Victorians were as upright as the Victorians themselves, and consequently (for our times) that uprightness is “old-fashioned”. This is simply false.
It leads to the further false impression of some kind of teleological “progress” in today’s moral backsliding. The destruction of the family and the acceptance of perversion in its place is not “the right side of history”. History staggers back and forth from one trend to another, based on lessons learned and lessons forgotten. As children, Victoria and Albert suffered from the accepted
depravities of their times, as children today are suffering from the depravities of our own. Lessons are re-learned, at great cost.
To say that churches should deliberately ignore those lessons — which are given for free in the Word of God — is to say that that Word has nothing to offer. How can anyone with faith in God, faith based on the teachings of the Bible, possibly come to that conclusion?
These are conclusions that naturally arise from the implications of Berger’s articles. It is conclusions like these that make me question whether Berger’s self-professed faith actually resembles Biblically-based Lutheranism.