Neither cold nor hot

Neither the fervently religious nor the militantly secular atheist will ever have lasting political power in the West, since neither side will ever be able to wrest control from the mediocre and nominally religious. The West will always be ruled by those who (say) call themselves Christian in phone surveys, usually baptize their children and have nice church weddings, and go to a service once or twice a year, if they get around to it.

The nominally religious are those for whom neither religion nor atheism is of much interest. I’m reminded of an old friar who loved to quote St. Thomas’s comment on the Apostle Thomas when he saw the resurrected Lord. The Apostle said “my Lord and my God”, but Aquinas says “he saw one thing and said another”, that is, he saw one thing with his natural cognitive powers and said something beyond this by the light of faith. The old friar explained that the Apostle could have just as easily said “O, I never knew you had a twin brother” or “O, you got better quickly” or “Wow, I have no idea what is going on here” or given some sort of proto-Arian response to the matter (whatever that would be). All these responses would be much more in keeping with his skeptical nature. But the response of the mediocre religious would be something like saying, in a warmly pleasant way, “O, you’re alive, how nice!” which he would certainly say with a warm and sincere smile, perhaps followed by a nod and a light shrug. After leaving the upper room and resuming his affairs,  he would think about the event now and again, and bring it up as an interesting story to his friends, who would themselves smile and nod warmly and sincerely saying “how interesting! I always knew there was something special about him!”

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1 Comment

  1. February 26, 2011 at 11:06 am

    “Neither . . . the militantly secular atheist will ever have lasting political power in the West”

    Perhaps not, but society will be formed for all practically purposes as if they do, because the lukewarm will form it the same way.

    And if anything, the indifferent are more dangerous and intollerant because they seek comfort while graciously walking you to your execution.


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