The Moral Imagination -  Michael Matheson Miller
The Moral Imagination
Ep.57 The Decline of Christianity, the Rise of the “Nones” and Philosophies of the Person that Shape Unbelief
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Ep.57 The Decline of Christianity, the Rise of the “Nones” and Philosophies of the Person that Shape Unbelief

This talk is a thematic overview and distillation of two longer lectures I give on five false anthropologies and 10 reasons for unbelief and the decline of Christianity.

Photo by Shashi Chartuvedula on Unsplash

This episode of the Moral Imagination Podcast is a talk I gave at AmPhil’s Center for Civil Society conference in November, 2023 on the “Rise of the Nones.”   According to Pew Research, those who declare no religious affiliation - None -  are now the largest religious category in the United States. In this talk I address several overarching reasons for the decline of Christianity and address how five dominant visions of the human person including person as a cog or scourge, transhumanism & transgenderism, plastic anthropology, and the person as a commodity — also play a key role not only in despair and anxiety, but contribute both to the decline of Christian belief and the rise of secularism and pantheism/new paganism.

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This talk is a thematic overview and distillation of two longer lectures I give on five false anthropologies and 10 reasons for unbelief and the decline of Christianity. Some of the topics I address include

  • Breakdown of the Family - specifically decrease in fatherhood participation, and its impact on religious practice

  • Sexual Revolution  - disorients the person and relationships between men and women

  • Feminism & Smashing the Patriarchy — “Flight from Woman”

  • Egalitarianism and Pantheism - Tocqueville’s prediction of the rise of pantheism in democratic societies

  • Technology + Technological Society:

  • Practical: use of technology and propaganda

  • Theoretical: Empiricist rationality is incoherent and severs relationship between affectivity and reason

  • Scientism: vision of a technical solution to evil, sin, suffering

  • Humanitarianism and what I call “Almost Christianity”

  • Failures of the Church: scandal, corruption, assimilation, and failure to teach and catechize

  • Loss of non-linguistic catechesis

  • When people are leaving Christianity today, do they know what they are leaving?

  •  Confusion about the nature and destiny of the human person and what it means to be an embodied person  

  • Plastic Anthropology —malleable based on feelings

  • Transhumanism / Transgenderism - combination of biology and technology

  • Person as Cog

  • Person as Scourge

  • Person as Commodity — Everything becomes an object of trade. Del Noce’s concept of Pure Bourgeois

  • Conclude with several suggestions to address the loss of faith and confusions over anthropology

  • Re-affirm that Being is good and intelligible - Our bodies are good

  • Each person is a subject and not simply an object

  • Defend Reason and Freedom

  • We are embodied and Embedded Persons— our bodies are not accidental

  • Thinkers I address include Augusto Del Noce, Joseph Ratzinger, C.S. Lewis, Henri DeLubac,

    Karl Stern, Christopher Palmer, Jaron Lanier, Max Scheler, Joseph Pieper, John Paul II

Resources

Related Podcasts include

Carlo Lancellotti on the thought of Del Noce

Mary Eberstadt on Primal Screams

Some of the books I mention in the talk include:

The Crisis of Modernity (Volume 64) Augusto Del Noce, Carlo Lancellotti

The End of Woman: How Smashing the Patriarchy Has Destroyed Us,

Values in a Time of Upheaval: Meeting the Challenges of the Future

Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions, Joseph Ratzinger

Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now, Jaron Lanier

Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration

Pope Benedict XVI

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The Moral Imagination -  Michael Matheson Miller
The Moral Imagination
Welcome to the Moral Imagination Podcast.
The overarching theme of my podcast is what it means to be a human person and what makes for a meaningful and good life.
We will discuss philosophy of the human person, culture, religion, social philosophy, and many other related topics, like education, learning, economics, food, technology, artificial intelligence, and intellectual history. My goal is to interact with ideas and people whose work I find challenging, and intellectually and socially important.