Although Kreeft delivered his talk through the voice of the devil (from Screwtape,C.S. Lewis’ senior demon) instructing Wormwood on how the powers of hell can win the culture war through particular and deadly temptations, the point is entirely serious and pointed. A summary of his points are listed below:
- Politicization –the tendency Americans have to confuse politics for religion. He drew awareness to the trend of defining oneself by politics instead of religion,saying,‘We have persuaded many of them to judge their faith by the standard of ‘political correctness’ rather than vice versa.’
- Happy Talk –the principle of happy talk raised the ante on the average ignorance-is-bliss mentality. He pointed out that Catholics must first return to being Catholic,and correct their own practices before projecting to non-Catholics. “Catholics abort, contracept, sodomize, fornicate, divorce, and sexually abuse,” he said,“at almost exactly the same rate as non-Catholics. Amid this devastation, keep them happy talking. Keep them saying ‘Peace,Peace,’ when there is no peace.”He wants Catholics to take responsibility for their behavior, make a conscious effort to change it,and to acknowledge that blame can’t be placed entirely on the secular world. [Again, you can substitute Lutheran or Christian for the word Catholic and it is equally effective.)
- Organizationalism - Catholics suffer from organizationalism, causing them to regard everything—including the Church—as business ventures. This is especially bad because people have lost sight of the role of the Church,and instead focused on the goals of business. “They must worship success,not sanctity,” he said,“and fear failure,not sin.”
- Neo-worship - or worship of things new at the expense of the old, in particular the rejection of things “pre-Vatican II”.
- Egalitarianism –Describing society’s misguided translation of egalitarianism, Kreeft pointed out that “sexism” has persuaded men and women to perceive each other as equal,when they should instead be considered beautifully inferior to each other. He believes in the importance of regarding men and women as separate and unequal,and in acknowledging the positive impact of the differences that define each. According to Kreeft, society’s deterioration of egalitarianism fosters “the difference between the beauty of black and the beauty of white reduced to a boring grey.”
- Yuppydom - which is essentially selling out to the fads of the times rather than holding God as God. Yuppydom is a generation that prides itself on not being prideful, saying, “Let them feel superior about not feeling superior, judgmental about not being judgmental.”
- Spirituality - in which Christians seek salvation, or at least affirmation,while recoiling at the thought of suffering—they want Christ without the cross.
We think that those who refuse to allow a creche on the courthouse lawn or those championing the latest social justice agenda are undoing the good work of Christ but we are our own worst enemies. It is for this reason that I believe President Harrison's call for repentance is so appropriate and yet so misunderstood. It is appropriate because we as a Church have chosen the business model of management by outcome and sold the very birthright of the faith because of our unfaithfulness and even fear of the faith expressed in creed, confession, and liturgy. For this we need to repent and for our slavish allegiance to measuring success more by statistics than by faithfulness Scripture and confession. This call is misunderstood because too many deride it as if it were simplistic and the end in and of itself. As Harrison once said, "Before we can be more than who we are, we must first admit who we are." For Christians, repentance is the first step toward renewal -- both personally and as a church body, without which we will be nothing more than the sum of our failures and failings.
I do not agree with everything Kreeft says but I find his perspective intriguing and the way he presented his points highly effective. You can listen for yourself here.