Is the West Becoming Pagan Again?

Is the West Becoming Pagan Again?


Many Americans have a sense that their country is less religious than it used to be. But is it really? The interplay among institutions, behaviors and beliefs is notoriously hard to chart. Even if we could determine that religious sentiment was in flux, it would be hard to say whether we were talking about this year’s fad or this century’s trend.


Or perhaps we are dealing with an even deeper process. That is the argument of a much-discussed book published in Paris this fall. In it, the French political theorist Chantal Delsol contends that we are living through the end of Christian civilization — a civilization that began (roughly) with the Roman rout of pagan holdouts in the late fourth century and ended (roughly) with Pope John XXIII’s embrace of religious pluralism and the West’s legalization of abortion.


The book is called “La Fin de la Chrétienté,” which might be translated as “The End of the Christian World.” Ms. Delsol is quite clear that what is ending is not the Christian faith, with its rites and dogmas, but only Christian culture — the way Christian societies are governed and the art, philosophy and lore that have arisen under Christianity’s influence. ...


Ms. Delsol’s ingenious approach is to examine the civilizational change underway in light of that last one 1,600 years ago. Christians brought what she calls a “normative inversion” to pagan Rome. That is, they prized much that the Romans held in contempt and condemned much that the Romans prized, particularly in matters related to sex and family. Today the Christian overlay on Western cultural life is being removed, revealing a lot of pagan urges that it covered up.


To state Ms. Delsol’s argument crudely, what is happening today is an undoing, but it is also a redoing. We are inverting the normative inversion. We are repaganizing.


Paganism never had a precise definition. The word was a catchall for those who rejected the Christian revelation, whether polytheists, nature-worshippers or agnostics. The pagus was the countryside. The Latin word “paganus,” like the English word “heathen,” carried with it a contempt for the hick and the hillbilly.


... So if another civilization comes to replace Christianity, it will not be a mere negation, such as atheism or nihilism. It will be a rival civilization with its own logic — or at least its own style of moralizing. It may resemble the present-day iconoclasm that French commentators refer to as le woke. (The term means basically what it does in English, except that French people see wokeness as a system imported wholesale from American universities and thus itself almost a religious doctrine.)


Christianity the religion has teachings about loving one’s neighbor and turning the other cheek that are impressively clear. For Christianity the culture, though, these can be sources of ambivalence. Christianity has produced some hardened moralizers, to put it mildly. But there has always been a tension between its teachings and its quest for political power.


Ms. Delsol worries that le woke has no such hesitation. Speech codes, elementary school consciousness-raising, corporate public service advertising — in some ways our public order is coming to resemble that of pagan Rome, where religion and morality were separated. Religion was a matter for the household. Morality was determined and imposed by society’s elites, with grim results for freedom of thought.

Comment: Image source from NYTimes "The Return of Paganism"



Theological Triage

A Call for Theological Triage and Christian Maturity

Applying Theological Triage to the Current Evangelical 'Civil War'


Ken Thompson obituary

Ken Thompson obituary


Kenneth Thompson, 95, of Freeport went home to be with his Lord on Dec. 2, 2021. He was born in Freeport March 31, 1926, to Floyd & Mabel (Blough) Thompson. Ken graduated from Freeport High School in 1943 and married Charleen Cappon on May 25, 1947.


Ken worked on the family farm his entire working years as well as on the road sod crew for several summers in the late 1950s. On March 27th a celebration was held for the Thompson Farms' Centennial milestone and Ken's 95th birthday. Ken was very proud of the farm's centennial designation.


Ken lived a life of service to his church and community. He served on committees in his local congregation, Hope Church of the Brethren, and cooked for the Mich. District conference for a number of years. He was a dedicated member of the Farm Bureau and served on the Ionia County Road Commission from 1978 -1990. Together, Ken and Charleen were involved with Habitat for Humanity on a local and national level. 


In addition to volunteering, Ken enjoyed antiquing, refinishing antique furniture, playing cards, camping and traveling. Ken and Charleen traveled with their motorhome for many years and made friends from all over the country. The couple spent the winter months in Florida or Texas for 25 years.


The couple's home in Freeport—and their home on wheels--were always open for gatherings for family and friends. Ken was preceded in death by his wife of nearly 70 years, his parents, grandson Sean Wilcox, sister Evelyn (Thompson) Walton, brother-in laws Don Walton & Ray Wieland, special family friend Pam Burson, in laws Clarence & Doris (Hayward) Cappon in addition to other family members and friends. He is survived by sisters Marge (Thompson) Wieland, Carolyn (Thompson) Walton, children Dianne Thompson (Ann Fiorini), Donna (Lee) Wilcox, Lynette (Wayne) Guyer, Brian (Carole Stowell) Thompson, Melanie (Bobby Bouchard) Basler, 5 grandchildren, one great grandchild and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends. As per Ken's wishes, a private family memorial will be held at a later date. In honor of Ken's life, contributions can be made to Barry County Habitat for Humanity, 1215 North Broadway St. A; Hastings, MI 49058 or a charity of your choice.




Obit and grave of Shirley Ann (Grunkemeyer) Cowles

Shirley A. Cowles, 68 - Gravesite


Shirley Ann (Grunkemeyer) Cowles, 68, of Harrisonburg, passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, at her residence. Mrs. Cowles was born on Oct. 7, 1949, in Cincinnati, and was a daughter of the late Harold and Mary Jane (Aubrey) Grunkemeyer. She was a member of the Park View Mennonite Church and participated widely in several Bible study groups in Harrisonburg. Shirley worked for Warfel’s Sweet Shoppe in the Dayton Farmers Market and also enjoyed quilting, sewing and reading. She volunteered at Ten Thousand Villages and Eastern Mennonite High School. Her life was filled with a spirit of beauty, grace and peace. On June 1, 1974, she married Spencer L. Cowles, who survives. In addition to her husband, Shirley is survived by three children, Saran Ann Cowles of Harrisonburg, William Walker Cowles II of New York City, and Emily Elizabeth Cowles of New York City, and a brother, Joe Grunkemeyer of North Carolina. She was also preceded in death by a brother, Michael Grunkemeyer. A celebration of Shirley’s life will be held on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 2 p.m. at Park Mennonite Church with Rev. Phil Kniss officiating. The family will receive friends from 12:30 until 1:45 p.m. at the church prior to the service. Burial will be held privately. Her casket will remain closed. Those wishing may share a memory or an online condolence by visiting www.mcmullenfh.com. Arrangements entrusted to the McMullen Funeral Home.

Comment: We dated briefly after college graduation. She was lovely. Now with the Lord


John Piper on Fundamentalists

20 Reasons I Don’t Take Potshots at Fundamentalists

  1. They are humble and respectful and courteous, and even funny (at least the ones I’ve met).
  2. They believe in truth.
  3. They believe that truth really matters.
  4. They believe that the Bible is true — all of it.
  5. They know that the Bible calls for some kind of separation from the world.
  6. They have backbone and are not prone to compromise principle.
  7. They put obedience to Jesus above the approval of man (even though they fall short, like others).
  8. They believe in hell and are loving enough to warn people about it.
  9. They believe in heaven and sing about how good it will be to go there.
  10. Their “social action” is helping the person next door (like Jesus), which doesn’t usually get written up in the newspaper.
  11. They tend to raise law-abiding, chaste children, in spite of the fact that Barna says evangelical kids in general don’t have any better track record than non-Christians.
  12. They resist trendiness.
  13. They don’t think too much is gained by sounding hip.
  14. They may not be hip, but they don’t go so far as to drive buggies or insist on typewriters.
  15. They still sing hymns.
  16. They are not breathless about being accepted in the scholarly guild.
  17. They give some contemporary plausibility to the New Testament claim that the church is “a pillar and buttress of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).
  18. They are good for the rest of evangelicals because of all this.
  19. My dad was one.
  20. Everybody to my left thinks I am one. And there are a lot of people to my left.

Comment: Yet they take potshots at him

AT&T post spin off

AT&T: Under $29 To Get WarnerMedia Shares And Keep Legacy AT&T With Yield Is A Bargain

T is spinning off WarnerMedia and merging it with DISCA to form a new company. On T's website, it explicitly indicates, "AT&T's shareholders would receive stock representing 71% of the new company; Discovery shareholders would own 29% of the new company." It doesn't get clearer than this. Every shareholder of T will be receiving shares of the newly formed company once the transaction closes. The details that haven't been released are how many shares will exist and the ratio you would receive per share of T stock. Hypothetically, if the same amount of shares is issued that are outstanding for T, it would be a .71 for one share allocation.


Sharpen your B.S. Detector: B.S.ers love to use anecdotal evidence.

Your B.S. Detector Is Rusty. Time to Sharpen It


  1. It’s to your advantage to get them to clarify the claim, so ask: “Is what you are saying X?” When you ask people to clarify, they’ll often take a step back and think. And a lot of times, they’ll dial back their claim. So the first question is: “What? What are you saying?”
  2. “How? How do you know that’s true? How did you come to that conclusion?”
  3. “Have you ever considered any alternatives?” The reason for this question is that if they say no, you know they probably haven’t thought through the thing very well.
Look for what we call pseudo-profound, proverbial clichés. The statements that people use as if they are logic incarnate. “The grass is always greener on the other side.” Ask yourself if the person is using jargon. Or unclear language. Or platitudes like “it’s always darkest before the dawn.” These B.S. statements aren’t harmless. They imply what you should do in your decision-making. For example, what if you’re in a bad relationship and you’re being told to just hang on because it will get better. That can have a cost. One clue: These nonsensical, prescriptive statements are not always true. Often, there is another equally catchy proverb that disputes them. For example: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” You also hear the opposite: “You’re never too old to learn.”


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Thomas Sowell on Reparations

In Honor of Thomas Sowell’s 91st Birthday, Here Are His 25 Best Quotes 

  • “Anyone who wants reparations based on history will have to gerrymander history very carefully. Otherwise, practically everybody would owe reparations to practically everybody else.” 
  • “It is self-destructive for any society to create a situation where a baby who is born into the world today automatically has pre-existing grievances against another baby born at the same time, because of what their ancestors did centuries ago. It is hard enough to solve our own problems, without trying to solve our ancestors’ problems.”


Excel Tip: Extract Last Name

=RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)-FIND("*",SUBSTITUTE(A2," ","*",LEN(A2)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2," ","")))))

Comment: HT Link


On Photo Scanning

The Best Ways to Digitize Old Photos, Tapes and Discs So Your Memories Live On

Photographs and prints are the easiest to do yourself. The most efficient route? Invest in the $600 Epson FastFoto FF-680W scanner. Put a stack of photos—even Polaroids—in the tray and it scans them in bulk, a photo as fast as every second, sending them to your computer via USB or Wi-Fi. Epson’s software helps with assigning years to each of the photo’s metadata and has simple color-restoration and editing tools. It’ll even scan the backs with the fronts, to preserve any writing or time stamps that are visible. While it’s pricey, the cost is worth it if you’re dealing with hundreds of photos. Plus, the scanner is something you can share with family members or friends who are daunted by their own photo troves.

My first scan:

 How to scan document to PDF