Tim DeRoche (Common Sense), The Secular Case for Christianity:
I grew up in Milwaukee with a form of pale, Midwestern Catholicism that had turned me off intellectually and aesthetically. I spent most of my adult life in a state of defiant non-religiousness. Whenever anyone asked I called myself an agnostic.
Then I met a pretty girl in a bar.
My wife, Simone, is a devout Christian, the daughter of an ordained Congregationalist minister who is herself the daughter of a Baptist pastor. I started going to church with her. And, after we got married, we made the rounds a bit, looking for a congregation in Los Angeles that suited us. ...
When a Christian says, “He is risen,” another Christian is supposed to respond, “He is risen indeed!” or “Truly He is risen!” There’s a name for it—the paschal greeting—and it’s a thing in Catholicism, too, especially on Easter. It’s even the name of a Sopranos episode. You might wonder how I came out of 12 years of Catholic school unfamiliar with the paschal greeting. I myself have wondered.
But that’s what a Christian is, right? Someone who believes that Jesus died for our sins, rose from the dead, and gave us eternal salvation. As a short-and-sweet form of the Christian statement of faith, the paschal greeting allows Christians to recognize one another in the wild. (The statement of faith is more fully realized in the Christian creeds and confessions, which are recited during services or learned during catechism.)
More than any other religion, Christianity is built on the statement of faith. And this simple, binary definition of what makes a Christian is eagerly accepted by believers and nonbelievers alike.
Recently, though, I’ve been losing my confidence in that distinction—and not just as it applies to my own life.
There’s a little corner of the internet where believers and nonbelievers are getting together to talk. And we’re finding that the line between Christian and non-Christian is a whole lot blurrier than we’ve been taught.
Like the Intellectual Dark Web, one of its forerunners, the Meaning Crisis community isn’t a fixed place. Folks gather on Twitter (#meaningcrisis), on Discord (“Bridges of Meaning”) and in the comments sections of various YouTubers. In all of these places and more, Christians, atheists and people who don’t fit into either of those categories are talking deeply about our current moment. Some say that we are “awakening from the meaning crisis.” Others talk of reviving “collective sensemaking.” Still others hail the end of modernity and the “re-enchantment of the West.” ...
Lots of folks in the Meaning Crisis community do not believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead on this day, Easter Sunday. But everyone is willing to listen across the chasm of faith and try to understand the root causes of our current discontent: the political rancor, the economic insecurity, the lack of trust in institutions, the mental health crisis, the collapse of the birth rate.
And most everyone, Christian and secular, is willing to contend with realities that our modern culture has chosen to ignore. Namely, that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is the most successful meme in the history of the world. And the spread of that meme over the last 2,000 years has largely been correlated with decreasing levels of slavery, war, crime, poverty, and general suffering.
April 24, 2022 in Faith, Legal Education | Permalink