by Brendan Malone
I was reflecting earlier today on how the loss of Christendom is one of the most under-appreciated contributors to the growing social divisions in the modern West.
Not simply because Christianity is the religion which gave the world the fundamental truth that all human persons are morally equal bearers of the sacred image of God; or the call to love neighbour; or the declaration that Christ is found when we go to the least amongst us; nor the fact that it is the sacred transcendent law which gave shape and unity to our society.
It also created important social utility at a practical level. Widespread Christian belief also resulted in higher rates of church attendance, which, generally speaking, meant more people in society were rubbing shoulders on a weekly basis with others from a wide variety of socioeconomic classes, ethnicities and backgrounds.
When Christians gather together, they don’t commune together under a shared political or demographic identity; instead, they unite under a far more powerful and sacred truth that transcends mere demographic or political attributes.
It also meant more people were regularly crossing various demographic divides out of a sense of holy obligation to varying missionary endeavours.
Loss of Community
The major diminishment of a weekly demographically diverse socialisation, coupled with the waning of outward-focused Christian evangelistic activity, an increasing individualistic atomisation, and friendship behaviours conducted primarily according to self-created political identities, means that we are now more divided and less empathetic to others in the West.
It also means that politicians and policymakers are increasingly crafting policies for large sections of the population without ever having any meaningful form of regular ongoing (and sacred) communion with them. This is probably why both left and right are increasingly producing policies which, regardless of how well-intentioned they might be, are the infective outcomes of myopic echo chamber thinking.
Brendan Malone is a New Zealand husband, father, independent media commentator, and Director of The Lifenet — a Christian ministry dedicated to planting and nurturing the seeds of leadership, virtue, and ethical concern through goodness, truth, and beauty.
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk.