Good News Once More
R. V. Young on an Impregnable Darkness That Opens a Door
It is difficult, in such times as ours, to avoid pessimism about the spiritual state of our society and the prospects for restoring it through Christian evangelization. It is not just that increasing numbers of men and women throughout what used to be called Christendom have ceased to participate in Christian worship and life or even to call themselves Christian; we have now reached a stage where a critical mass of our fellow citizens in liberal Western democracies are not just alienated from Christian morals and cultural standards, but are altogether oblivious to them.
While we have, then, no grounds for optimism that we can devise a practical solution by our own wit, we do have grounds for genuine hope. Beginning with the millennial generation and the succeeding demographic cohort, we are dealing with many men and women for whom transgressing Christian moral teachings is no longer an act of daring: these teachings have never been a part of their lives at all and hence have never exerted any pressure on their consciences. Among today's children and youths, many do not even know rudimentary biblical stories: I am acquainted with older children—good students from affluent families in highly regarded schools—who cannot identify Adam and Eve.
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R. V. Young is Professor of English Emeritus at North Carolina State University, and a former editor of Modern Age: A Quarterly Review. His Shakespeare & the Idea of Western Civilization is forthcoming in January from Catholic University of America Press. He and his wife are parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Dunedin, Florida. They have five grown children, 15 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. He is a senior editor of Touchstone.
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