Can Western society survive without Christianity?
"The ability to sustain our civilization depends on the shared acceptance of moral categories, which directly originate from Christianity, encompassing both good and evil. By completely cutting society off from Christianity, we would destroy this consensus," was expressed at the event held by the Danube Institute on June 1. The guest of the event was Greg Sheridan, a writer, journalist, and the Foreign Editor of The Australian.
In what does the so-called Western ‘disenchantment culture’ originate? In his introductory lecture, Greg Sheridan highlighted that disenchantment, based on Weber’s ideas, was initially built upon the Enlightenment and then on science, aiming to delegitimize the religious interpretation of life and attack the validity and acceptability of religious explanations. And this is the ‘project’ in which Western elite societies have mostly participated consciously over the past 100 years. John O’Sullivan, the President of the Danube Institute, and Rod Dreher, the leader of the Danube Institute Network Project, reflected on the writer’s thoughts.
According to Sheridan, the overwhelming majority of people who have ever lived believed in God and had a relationship with Him. The majority of people living on Earth today also believe in God and have a relationship with Him. This strange new atheism, which emerges only in the West, is pushing society towards a primitive pagan materialism, as well demonstrated by the following: Sheridan, who also works as a foreign journalist, spent much of his life in Asia, partly outside the traditional Western societies. He explained in his lecture that nowadays, the majority of Christians are not Westerners, but they live in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Based on moral foundations, it can be said that the doubts surrounding the disenchanting culture are in search of answers to the questions of ‘Why am I here?’ and ‘What does my life mean?’. The project of disenchantment offers so little, claiming that life has no meaning. ‘There is no reason for your existence, it can only be interpreted as a random appearance in the biosphere.’
The ‘new atheists’ build their arguments on two statements that fuel disenchantment: God is dead, and science contradicts God. However, intellectually, these two premises are notably weak, capable of supporting only the lack of faith and the active rejection of Christianity, according to Sheridan. The same group also attacks the power of human testimony. Roger Scruton, in his book ‘The Soul of the World,’ claims that the strongest evidence for the existence of God is the long-term human experience of God. This is also true in everyday life: when we enter a courtroom, we see and experience that people rely on witness testimony for proof. The ‘new atheists,’ on the other hand, simply consider any kind of religious testimony as beyond the limits, which contradicts basic rationality.
“I believe that people are slowly beginning to realize that the ‘disenchantment project’ leads nowhere and actually offers nothing. Unfortunately, for now, it does not even lead to a return to Christianity; instead, it leads to the rise of all sorts of madness. This must change over time, as the preservation of our civilization depends on the shared acceptance of moral categories, which directly originate from Christianity—both good and evil. By completely cutting society off from Christianity, we destroy this consensus. And a society that hates itself becomes incapable of sustaining itself,” Sheridan concluded his thoughts.
Rod Dreher, the leader of the Danube Institute Network Project, also emphasized that the West cannot continue on this path. “If we don’t feel the magic, something else enchants us. In political terms, such negative enchantment is, for example, the woke ideology that tears down everything that the Judeo-Christian civilization, the civilization of the Bible, has built, while bringing about the rise of occultism.