In the course of his article, Bottum offers a sophisticated and compelling sociological and theological understanding of what happened to the churches of the Protestant Mainline. He offers a lament that the American experiment is now robbed of a central support.
"We all have to worry about it, now," Bottum reflects. "Without the political theory that depended on the existence of the Protestant Mainline, what does it mean to support the nation? What does it mean to criticize it? The American experiment has always needed what Alexis de Tocqueville called the undivided current, and now that current has finally run dry."
What can replace it? Bottum suggests that neither Catholicism (with its "vast intellectual resources") nor Evangelicalism (unable to offer "a widely accepted moral rhetoric") can replace what America's Protestant identity once provided.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Is Protestantism Dead?
As a regular reader of First Things I was quite interested in Joseph Bottum's article in the August/September issue - "The Death of Protestant America."
Check out this helpful commentary by Al Mohler on Bottum's observations.