How The West Really Lost God: A New Theory Of SecularizationMay 31, 2013
There are many fine lectures and roundtable events presented by conservative think tanks, policy groups and grassroots organizations around the country. Not all make it on C-SPAN and it's not logistically possible to get to even a small percentage of them. Reading about them takes time and often through the biased lens of the Mainstream Media. However, with the Internet, greater audiences are gaining access to these first-class events. While the sponsoring organizations often stream these events online and archive the video for later viewing, unless the public knows about them, it's a rare occurrence the public will drive into them on the Information Superhighway. But . . . we know about them through the many e-mail updates we receive from our allied, friends, affiliates and partner organizations. Starting today, we will share these excellent learning opportunities with regularity.
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Today, we share a presentation from earlier this week from The Heritage Foundation, featuring leading cultural critic Mary Eberstadt. In How the West Really Lost God, she delivers a powerful new theory about the decline of religion in the Western world.
The conventional wisdom is that the West first experienced religious decline, followed by the decline of the family. Eberstadt, however, marshals an array of research, from historical data on family decline in pre-Revolutionary France to contemporary popular culture both in the United States and Europe, showing that the reverse has also been true — the undermining of the family has further undermined Christianity itself.
Eberstadt posits that family decline and religious decline have gone hand in hand in the Western world in a way that has not been understood before. They are — in summarizing her book's thesis — "the double helix of society, each dependent on the strength of the other for successful reproduction." She, then, reflects on the ramifications of the mutual demise of family and faith in the West — the enormous social, economic, civic, and other costs attendant on both declines.
How the West Really Lost God is both an account of how secularization happens and a sweeping brief about why everyone should care about the two institutions — faith and family — that have undergirded Western civilization as we know it and the real nature of the relationship between these two pillars of history.
Mary Eberstadt: How the West really did lose God.