American Nihilism

Webster Bull has written a very interesting article regarding a talk given by Mnsgr. Lorenzo Albacete at The American Bible Society.

One false response, Albacete insisted, is to reduce Christianity to an ethical system. Christianity as a form of moralism, he said, suggests that we are not broken sinners requiring salvation but just “decent folk who need instruction.” Christianity truly lived, he went on, begins with the experience of being saved, then seeking to live that experience in the surrounding culture. We usually reverse the equation, trying to heal the culture (ethically) in order to save it and ourselves. What saves us is not ethical conduct but the fact of Christ’s life… TO READ MORE CLICK HERE

HARPERS – Hot air gods By Curtis White

Crossroads Cultural Center

4 Responses to American Nihilism

  • I remember Msgr. Albacete when he was in Washington. He is an intelligent, charming and faith-filled man who contributes much to the Catholic community. God bless him!

  • Actually, I find it somewhat boring. The standard “American are individualists.” Then, these individualist don’t have enough individual joy. This is shown by their effort to translate this individulism into the social sphere in moral transformation (does sound a bit like Catholic Social teaching to be honest.)

    Picks on people not having the sense of being “saved.” To be honest, those who have the greatest sense of being saved by Christ and “joy” as a result are Evangelical Protestants. This group in turn seems to be the one that seeks to bring about a moral transformation. Though this is frequently one that seems at odds with much of what those who seek to enact CST aim at.

    The bottom line for me, an interesting insight into how a distorted sense of what is going on in America occupies some brilliant minds.

  • Huh. I had my own response all planned out until I read Phillip’s.

    My first thought was that this could have been a reply to the Oprah or Romney articles. The common thread running through them is a modern sense of sloth with regard to truth. (At least that was my take on the LDS question.) I wonder if tactically we need to convince people that they should believe in something before we convince them to believe in Christ.

    The problem I had with Bull/White/Albacete/whomever (I hate tracing the iterations of a thought on the internet) was the claim that the worst implication of this modern nihilism was the loss of community. Really? Not the abandonment of the intellect? Not the loss of salvation? The loss of the sense of community?

    I think this is related to Phillip’s objection. That particular complaint about American individualism may have made sense in the original Bull/White/Albacete context, but just stated here, it seems pretty thin. This being the internet, I think we can all remember a phase in German history where nihilism and community went hand in hand. Was that so much better?

    Sure, a common culture and sense of community would be great. Seek first the Kingdom of God and you’ll have a sense of community besides.

  • Pinky,

    Better stated than my comment. Thanks.

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