Download American Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile by Richard John Neuhaus PDF

By Richard John Neuhaus

Christians are by means of their nature a humans misplaced. Their precise house is with God; in civic lifestyles, they're alien electorate “in yet no longer of the world.” In American Babylon, eminent theologian Richard John Neuhaus examines the actual fact of that ambiguity for Catholics in the United States today.Neuhaus addresses the fundamental quandaries of Catholic life—assessing how Catholics can maintain their heads above water within the sea of immorality that confronts them on the planet, how they are often patriotic even supposing their real kingdom isn't really during this global, and the way they could reconcile their tasks as voters with their dedication to God. Deeply realized, usually combative, and consistently eloquent, American Babylon is Neuhaus’s magnum opus—and can be crucial studying for all Christians.

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With notable exceptions, both undermine a religiously informed public philosophy for the American experiment; both contribute to the political corruption of Christian faith and the religious corruption of authentic politics; both have forgotten that, as it is said in the Letter to the Hebrews, we have here no abiding city. As for the leadership of the Catholic Church in this country, it oscillates between a touching desire to be accepted by the now faded oldline Protestant establishment, on the one hand, and cobelligerency with evangelicalism on great moral and cultural questions, on the other.

But his 1960 book We Hold These Truths is an unavoidable point of reference in discussions about America and providential purpose. He had the greatest admiration for the American founders, and admired most of all what he viewed as the modesty of their intention. ” Unlike Richard Rorty and many others, America was not his religion. He never confused America with the Church. As a Catholic, he already had a Church that claimed his prior allegiance. The Church is universal—as in catholic—and has centuries of experience with nations and political orders of all varieties, including nations with universal aspirations that compete for that prior allegiance.

I would add that, for those of us who are Americans, we are as Americans part of the story that is the story of the world. Moreover, America itself—this nation that the founders called an experiment, and that, like any experiment, may succeed or fail—is part of the story that is the story of the world. Of the many ways of thinking about America—economic, political, cultural, and so on—there is today a striking scarcity of thinking about America religiously, even, if you will, theologically. It was not always so.

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