Readers of this blog will be familiar with the term “moralistic, therapeutic Deism.” It is a phrase coined by a pair of sociologists some time ago.
I wrote about it thus in Beheading Hydra
Rather than preparing souls for a better place, the utilitarians have turned the Christian religion into a method for making the world a better place. In 2005 religious researchers Melinda Lundquist Denton and Christian smith dubbed. This false religion “Moralistic, Therapeutic, Deism.”
This is a “Christianity” that is no more than a collection of rules for respectability and some techniques for helping with personal problems hitched to a vague spirituality. Instead of an encounter with the living God, church has become a nauseating gathering of navel gazing, politically correct do-gooders. No wonder people stay away.
I hate this false religion with a holy hatred. Utilitarian Christianity is not Christianity at all.
In fact, not only is it not Christianity, it is not even a religion. From time immemorial religion has been a ritualistic encounter with the transcendent. In other words, it is man meeting God and the gods interacting with men. That’s what religion IS, and to water it down to a happy meal, a group therapy session or a political pressure group is a sad and dangerous lie.
This essential lie is what is killing Christianity in the Western, developed world. It is a kind of false advertising. Offering a form of Christianity that has been neutered to become moralistic therapeutic Deism is like opening a vegan steakhouse. It’s a cookout with veggie burgers. It’s non alcoholic beer and diluted wine.
I am working on a new book which discusses this problem in more depth. Angels Crashing-A Brief History of Transcendence will look at the reality of religion in the vast majority of human cultures and circumstances down through history and chart the decline of true religion in the modern world and offer suggestions on how to renew it. Research begins this week.
Looking forward to reading this new book! And the other proposed book about clerical marriages. God be with you Fr Dwight.