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In this podcast, Michael Matheson Miller and I discuss how both violence and entertainment and distraction are tools of state control. We discuss Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, some of the writings of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and Julia Alvarez’s novel In the Time of Butterflies about life under the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. We also discuss Victor Frankl, Josef Pieper, Michael O’Brien, Tocqueville’s idea of “soft despotism,” and Neil Postman’s argument in In Amusing Ourselves to Death about Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984. I note that these novelists take evil seriously, but are also careful not simply villainize the opposition so as to increase our understanding and self-awareness, and help prevent us from falling into the trap of another ideology.

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

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. 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, Carrie Gress, Karl Stern, Christopher Palmer, Jaron Lanier, Max Scheler, Joseph Pieper, John Paul II See for book links and related podcasts.   AmPhil Center For Civil Society – Nonprofit Educational Leader Leading educational provider for nonprofit fundraising learning the Center for Civil Society is the go to for major gifts, campaigns, strategy, and… Time to read 8 minutes Dec 22nd, 2022   AmPhil Rise Of The Nones Nonprofit Conference Nov 7-8 Scottsdale. AZ Leading scholars, philanthropists, and nonprofit leaders will discuss the rise in secularism, decline in church attendance, and other related trends, and… (352 kB)     Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project Religious ‘Nones’ in America: Who They Are and What They Believe 28% of U.S. adults are religiously unaffiliated, describing themselves as atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular” when asked about their religion. Written by Gregory A. Smith, Patricia Tevington, Justin Nortey, Michael Rotolo, Asta Kallo and Becka A. Alper
  1. Ep.57 The Decline of Christianity, the Rise of the “Nones” and Philosophies of the Person that Shape Unbelief
  2. Ep.56 Building a Family Legacy — The Habsburg Way: 7 Tools for Turbulent Times
  3. Ep.55 Fragile Neighborhoods — Relationships and Place-Based Solutions to Social and Material Poverty
  4. Ep.54 The Psychology of St. Thomas Aquinas with Cajetan Cuddy O.P
  5. Ep. 53 Vigen Guroian Tending the Heart of Virtue — Fairy Tales, Classical Learning, and The Moral Imagination

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