"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A sort-of-quotable for the day

I just finished reading a provocative chapter from a recent book by Catholic writer Dinesh D'Souza, who recently acquitted himself quite well in a debate with militant atheist Christopher Hitchens. I became acquainted with D'Souza's incisive wit when I listened that debate, which I had chosen to listen to because I had once been briefly tempted to admire Hitchens as one of the few people with the courage to hate Mother Teresa openly. In the chapter from D'Souza's book, I found a gem I want to cull for the purpose of fashioning a quotable quote.

Here's the gem:

Traditional religion is the mainstream, but it is not the only form in which religion appears today. There is also liberal religion. One can hardly speak of liberal Islam, as liberalism is essentially a nonexistent force in the Muslim world. But there are liberal Jews, whose Jewishness seems largely a matter of historical memory and cultural habits. Here in the West, there are lots of liberal Christians. Some of them have assumed a kind of reverse mission: instead of being the church’s missionaries to the world, they have become the world’s missionaries to the church. They devote their moral energies to trying to make the church more democratic, to assure equal rights for women, to legitimize homosexual marriage, and so on. A small but influential segment of liberal Christianity rejects all the central doctrines of Christianity. H. Richard Niebuhr famously summed up their credo: “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”

And here's the brief paraphrase of mine that supplies our quotable for the day:

"A liberal Christian is one more interested in being the world's missionary to the Church than in being the Church's missionary to the world."
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