Can Christendom be restored? When something started disappearing in the Middle Ages, and has been disappearing more and more every year since then, it looks like the tendency of things is rather against it. Still, there are points that should be kept in mind:
- The definitive public rejection of Christendom was actually quite recent, mid-to-late 20th century. Before then it was possible publicly to refer to the Western countries as Christian, and for politicians, mainstream pundits and what not to make public comments that implied the truth of Christianity. The place of Christianity might have been like the place of the Emperor in old Japan, often more notional than substantive, but that doesn’t mean it was dispensable.
- The replacement of Christendom by managerial liberalism is not working well. There’s no doubt a great deal of ruin in a nation, but there must be some limit. When a civilization wills the destruction of the conditions of its own existence it’s not a Chicken Little attitude to say it won’t last.
- The glorious ’60s led very quickly to radical increases in crime, radical disorders in education and family life, and radical degradation of and intellectual life and popular and high culture. Post-Christian Western societies don’t reproduce themselves, they support themselves by importing non-Westerners and propagate by infection. Can that go on forever?
- Christendom is the society whose public life is Christian. It exists as long as there are two or more Christians. Liberal society is the society whose public life is defined by liberalism. It is in decline, because liberalism destroys the preconditions of public life—the belief that the world is an ordered cosmos, so that public discussion can be more than a matter of conflicting egos, and the basis in common identity and substantive moral commitment for public loyalty and trust.
- It therefore seems likely, as a Darwinian matter, that if a society includes both Christians and advanced liberals its public life will eventually become Christian. Christianity can sustain both public and private life, but liberalism can’t sustain either in the long run. While liberalism can infect public life, and seem to dominate it as a tendency, when it is finally victorious it destroys its host and thus itself.
The argument in brief is that Christianity is an adequate picture of man and the world and liberalism is a grossly inadequate picture of those things. Liberalism can exist as a tendency within Christianity but not otherwise. When it definitively rejects Christianity and tries to order social life on its own it destroys itself. Something else will have to pick up the pieces. Why not Christianity?