HOW THE WEST REALLY LOST GOD di Mary Eberstadt - cap 7
7 Putting All the Pieces Together: Toward an Alternative Anthropology of Christian Belief
- If this alternative theory of the decline of Christianity is true, why might it be true? That is, what is it about the natural family that might make the specific religion of Christianity so dependent on its vitality?
- .1. First, the experience of the natural family itself drives some people to religion.
- Just consider what the experience of childbirth itself does to almost every mother and father... This fact of epiphany hardly means that pregnancy and birth ipso facto convert participants into religious zealots. But the sequence of events culminating in birth is nearly universally interpreted as a moment of communion with something larger than oneself,
- That most primal of human connections echoes throughout the masterpieces of human history. It is why King Lear is nearly universally recognized as Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy, whereas, say, Romeo and Juliet for all its pathos is not—because the predeceasing by Lear of his daughter Cordelia is the perfect symbol of the worst tragedy life
- Michelangelo’s Pietà (whose primary focus, suggestively enough, is Mary, not Jesus)... What is it about the predeceasing of parents by children that has so captured the imaginations of the West’s (though not only the West’s) greatest artists across millennia and languages and cultures? The answer can only be that this theme resonates most deeply with the human heart
- children might also “drive” parents to church in the sense that the experience of having them makes parents more willing to believe
- 2. The Christian story itself is a story told through the prism of the family. Take away the prism, and the story makes less sense.
- Like it or not, the Judeo-Christian tradition has anthropomorphized the Deity in one particular way: by analogy to a wise, protective, loving, ever-present male parent
- Figlu del divorzio... Marquardt asks her subjects to reflect on the idea of God as a parent, elaborating on one: Will was mystified by the question. He had been angry at his father for years because of the way he treated Will’s mother
- In this way, as in others, family illiteracy breeds religious illiteracy
- Altro motivo. People do not like to be told they are wrong, or that those whom they love have done wrong... In an age where nontraditional and antitraditional families and even nonfamilies abound, there are more and more people who are bound to take offense at certain teachings in the Judeo-Christian heritage. It is in this way that broken and frayed homes not only interrupt the transmission of the Christian message: in some cases, they provide the emotional material for a whole new barrier wall to Christian belief.
- What we might call (to riff on Peter Berger) the furious irreligiosity of today’s anti-Christian sentiment is a deep mystery, and one that should be meditated upon at length