I have written before about the rise of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism and how mainstream Western Christianity (including most of Catholicism) has been swamped by this Arianism of our day, but consider further the attraction of this false Christianity.
First a definition: Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism is the reduction of the Christian religion to moralism: that is rules for respectability–Therapy–A Practical plan to improve your life…and Deism–the belief that there is a God who created all things, but he’s dozing on the other side of the clouds and doesn’t interfere with this world.
We see this plastic religion in a multitude of manifestations. The moralism in the abundance of activist ideologies rampant in our hypocritical society–it might be ecological activism, sexual identity activism, political activism or woke activism, but in so many wearisome ways we have to endure the endless stream of propaganda, parades, postures and imposition of all the do-gooders with their slogans, their flags and their campaigns. This moralism is a form of counterfeit religion and they have not only invaded the Christian churches, they have taken over.
The therapeutic is just as prevalent. How many churches have you see advertising “Recovery” and “Rehab”? Plush preachers push a prosperity gospel combined with therapeutic seminars on “How to heal your ailing marriage” or “Parenting troublesome Teens”. or “Overcoming addiction” and on and on and on–turning Christianity into another episode of Oprah Winfrey and Doctor Phil.
Finally, the Deism part is hidden beneath the surface. Deism is basically atheism without guts. The god of the Deists may exist, but he doesn’t do anything. Therefore he might as well not exist. Deism was devised in the eighteenth century by philosophers who were too cowardly to rock the Christian boat with fully fledged atheism so Deism would do. I hate Deism. I’d prefer Ganesh the elephant god. At least he does something.
This Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, like the Arianism of the fourth century, is an extremely attractive religion. What’s to hate about it? It helps people be nice, good, tolerant, compliant citizens. It helps them with their problems and makes them better, happier people and best of all, it allows for an easygoing spirituality in which one can have “spiritual” feelings about nature or your grandmother’s birthday or puppies and kittens, but you needn’t worry about a Father in Heaven who not only loves you but will also judge you one day. You needn’t worry about his revelation to humanity nor his moral and ethical demands.
Not only is MTD an attractive religion, but it is the perfect religion of the antiChrist. It is Christianity without a cross and without a redeemer. Indeed, with MTD no bloodshed is required because you don’t need to be redeemed. That’s because one of the dogmas of MTD is the innate goodness of man and the other dogma is universalism–that in the end everyone will be saved. I say this is the religion of the antiChrist not only because it is anti Christian, but because a global antiChrist world leader would find MTD to be perfectly suited to his needs. This clever leader knows that he cannot abolish religion and that Christianity cannot be obliterated. Therefore, it is more effective to offer a seductive and attractive alternative, and that alternative–which every human being must obviously think to be wonderful is Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism.
What is the antidote to this poison? Firstly, to realize that it is a good thing for Christianity to promote moral actions. It is also a good thing for the Christian religion to make our lives better–to bring healing and wholeness and good self esteem. It is also good to believe in a transcendent, creator God. Remember Satan deals in half truths more than 100% lies. So moralistic, therapeutic deism is rooted in positive aspects of true Christianity. It is false not so much in what it teaches, but in what it omits and in its emphasis.
Moral behavior and therapeutic benefits are secondary offshoots of the Christian religion. The core of the Christian gospel is something else. It is an uncomfortable and (humanly) incredible belief in the incarnation of God’s only begotten Son born of a virgin, who lived, died and rose again for the salvation of the human race–created good but fallen into sin and away from God. This is the Christian faith and the greatest tragedy of our modern age and our modern church is that we have given up this gospel for a shallow counterfeit– a mishmash of social welfare, pop psychology and greeting card sentimentality posing as spirituality.
What we need is a new preaching of the cross of Christ crucified and an exposition of its meaning in the world today. This is what I have done in my book Immortal Combat. If you haven’t read it yet, get it and share it!
Tomorrow I will post on why and how Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism will eventually lead to an immoral, destructive, enforced atheism. Stay tuned!