Liberalism, “Progressive Christianity:” The Great Death Wish


A bulls eyed depiction of liberalism and what has been called “progressive christianity”:

“The enthronement of the gospel of progress necessarily required the final discrediting of the Gospel of Christ, and the destruction of the whole edifice of ethics, law, culture, human relationships and human behavior upon it. What we continue to call Western civilization, after all, began with Christian revelation, not the theory of evolution, and, we may be sure, will perish with it, too — if it has not already. Jesus of Nazareth was its founding father, not Charles Darwin; it was Paul of Tarsus who first carried its message to Europe, not Karl Marx, or even Lenin. Jesus, by dying on the cross, abolished death wishing; dying became thenceforth life’s glory and fulfillment. So, when Jesus called on His followers to die in order to live, He created a tidal wave of joy and hope on which they have ridden for two thousand years. The gospel of progress represents the exact antithesis. It plays the Crucifixion backwards, as it were; in the beginning was the flesh, and the flesh became Word. In the light of this Logos in reverse, the quest for hope is the ultimate hopelessness; the pursuit of happiness, the certitude of despair; the lust for life, the embrace of death . . .

It is, indeed, among Christians themselves that the final decisive assault on Christianity has been mounted. All they had to show was that when Jesus said that His kingdom was not of this world, He meant that it was. Then, moving on from there, to stand the other basic Christian propositions similarly on their heads. As, that to be carnally minded is life; that it is essential to lay up treasure on earth in the shape of a constantly expanding Gross National Product; that the flesh lusts with the spirit and the spirit with the flesh, so that we can do whatever we have a mind to; that he that loveth his life in this world shall keep it unto eternal life. And so on . . .

In the moral vacuum left by thus emptying Christianity of its spiritual or transcendental content, the great Liberal Death Wish has been able to flourish and luxuriate; the more so because it can plausibly masquerade as aiming at its opposite — life enhancement. Furthermore, the announcement on the best theological authority that God has died removes any possibility of intervention from that quarter. So the astronauts soar into the vast eternities of space, on earth the garbage piles higher; as the groves of academe extend their domain, their alumni’s arms reach lower; as the phallic cult spreads, so does impotence. In great wealth, great poverty; in health, sickness; in numbers, deception. Gorging, left hungry; sedated, left restless; telling all, hiding all; in flesh united, forever separate. So we press on through the valley of abundance that leads to the wasteland of satiety, passing through the gardens of fantasy; seeking happiness ever more ardently, and finding despair ever more surely.”

Muggeridge, Malcolm (1988). Confessions of a Twentieth-Century Pilgrim. San Francisco: Harper & Row.



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