Wednesday, March 26, 2014

When you are on the wrong side of history

Philip Jenkins, from a 2004 review of a book about those in the church who strove to be up-to-date with the most recent scientific consensus. An opening paragraph that seems to me even more applicable today:
Have you ever heard the plea, "I want a church where I don't have to leave my mind at the door"? In other words, I will accept religious teachings so long as they do not contradict the orthodoxies of conventional society, the commonplaces of educated opinion. When that opinion runs flat contrary to traditional or scriptural teaching, then secular orthodoxies win every time. In this view, the Bible was put together by quite ignorant folk, constrained by the unscientific worldview of their benighted times, and Christian practice must jog—or gallop—to keep up to date with new secular insights as they develop. When these insights are grounded in the rhetoric of objective science, their claims to allegiance become imperative. That, more or less, has been the justification for many changes in church life over the past few decades, especially in matters of gender and sexual orientation. .... [more]
The scientific certainties of that day included eugenics, and later in the review Jenkins writes:
Especially vulnerable were believers in the Social Gospel, as well as modernists "who embraced modern ideas first and adjusted their theologies later." Thank heavens no such rootless faddists are writing in our own days! ....