Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Christian Paradox

Bill McKibben in Harper's examines why America is "simultaneously the most professedly Christian of the developed nations and the least Christian in its behavior."



Blogger Layman said...


Thanks for the link. I posted a piece on my blog about McKibben's excerpted article, focusing on what I think are many flaws in his case. Most notably, he confuses government social programs with actual charitable giving. This problem is compounded by McKibben's failure to deal with the fact that American Christians are among the most charitable givers (of money and their time) in the United States and the world.

However, I think his best point -- though one on which he spends the least amount of time -- is the divorce rate in American and specificially among American Christians. A focus on other such issues, such as abortion and spousal abuse rates in the church, might have moved the ball further (or counted against him depending on what the numbers would show).

I also think he set the pieces of the board to his advantage by focusing only on supposedly "liberal" Christian beliefs (assistance to the poor) while ignoring supposedly "conservative" Christian beliefs, such as opposition to abortion and gay marriage. If the supposed failure of Christians to promote the former is evidence showing they are bad Christians, is not their pursuit of the latter evidence that they are good Christians?

This leads me to believe that McKibben's agenda is more political than religious. Which is a shame, because American Christianity could do with some healthy introspection.

12:05 PM


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