Over the last weekend I went through Rod Dreher’s recent book, Live Not By Lies: A Manual For Christian Dissidents. What really stood out to me early on in the text was his reference to Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, the modern conception of religion practiced by many in the West. Under its tenets, spiritual teachings must be aligned with liberal capitalist consumerism and its focus on psychological well-being. Thus messages should always be regarding love and happiness, not the burdens of resistance to a corrupt and dying world. Don’t worry, by happy, is the outbound pennant.
But this brings into question the very purpose of faith itself. If so-called “believers” can only do so successfully in times of plenty and luxury, then what will become of them once they are called to the world docket? I think we have gained a pretty good idea with reactions to the injection campaign. Whether the vaccine is safe or not really doesn’t factor in here; most people knew at some level the mandate was wrong in principle, as evidenced by their initial reactions. Nevertheless, it took only minimal pressure and the threat of lost employment to get compliance.
I’ve noted before that I understand folks taking the shot if they have a family to provide for, but even that raises some concerns. Having to relinquish one’s employment is rarely desirable in the status-conscious and consumerist United States, but if one cannot make the sacrifice, then how much faith do they actually have? Folding over a fiat paycheck is hardly preparation to resist should it come down to conversion or the sword. Maybe this is why Kierkegaard describes the “Admirer” phenotype of believers:
“The admirer never makes any true sacrifices. He always plays it safe. Though in words, phrases, songs, he is inexhaustible about how highly he praises Christ, he renounces nothing, will not reconstruct his life, and will not let his life express what it is he supposedly admires. Not so for the follower. No, no. The follower aspires with all his strength to be what he admires. And then, remarkably enough, even though he is living amongst a ‘Christian people,’ he incurs the same peril as he did when it was dangerous to openly confess Christ.”
How many of us are members of the first group, and know it? Still more, how many are part and completely unaware?