Thursday, May 09, 2019

Progressive Christianity

Two recent events have drawn attention to progressive Christianity: the presidential campaign of Pete Buttigieg and the death of Rachel Held Evans. A fundamental problem with progressive Christianity is that it's just plain dumb. So-called progressive Christians recite the same dog-earned script as atheists. They recycle all the same hackneyed objections to the Bible that they copied from atheists. In that respect, I have nothing to say to a progressive Christian that I haven't said to their atheist mentors and soulmates. 

The only different thing I have to say to them is why not come clean? Why not become a Buddhist or secular humanist? If you believe all those objections to the Bible, that's not a reason to reject the Bible but cling to the title of Christian, but to reject Christianity outright. Make a clean break. Christianity is founded on historic revelation. If you reject that principle, if you think the Bible is so erroneous, then the Christian paradigm is fatally flawed. The source is too polluted to be salvageable. Progressive Christians want to keep the "nice" parts of Christianity while rejecting the "bad" parts. But you end up with an ad hoc pastiche. 

In principle, you can be religious without being Christian. Like the French and English Deists as well as the Socinians, you can adopt mere theism, based on natural theology. That would be more consistent.

What are the motivations for progressive Christianity? 

i) For some, it's a sentimental, sociological, and aesthetic attachment. Many of them were raised in conservative churches, and they have a lingering emotional investment. 

ii) They are very immature. Swept up in playacting. They imagine reality should cater to their feelings.

iii) For some, it's a strategy to destroy Christianity from within by infiltrating the church and replacing it with a counterfeit theology.

iv) Many people need a cause to live for. Many apostates retain a residual idealism from their Christian background but transfer that zeal to progressive causes. It's like a car that rockets off a cliff. It continues moving forward as it simultaneously moves downward. Even though the foundation is gone, the initial momentum keeps it moving forward before crash-landing. A descending arc as it loses altitude. 

v) Finally, some of them appreciate the nihilistic cost of atheism. They draw back from the abyss. They don't want to go that far. 


  1. Ha...I was just about to write about this topic as well. The fact is that from a rational perspective, there is actually no rational reason to be a progressive-Christian. If you believed that orthodox Christianity was so wrong about so many fundamental things for so many centuries, then why in God's creation would you believe anything else that Christianity taught. It's absurd.

    Well...the one other rational option for being a progressive-Christian is the one you already mentioned: namely, that you want to subvert orthodox Christianity from the inside, and the best way to do so is to be a "Christian."

    Sincerely in Christ,

    Rad Miksa

    1. Related to iii), you get much more traction in the media by claiming to be 'The Real True Christianity' in opposition to stuffy old hate-filled orthodoxy, than you would by being a member of a 100-something General Deist Cult.