Generous Orthodoxy  




Wednesday, May 13, 2015

American Christianity in decline: Wisdom from the Inklings

There will be much wringing of hands about the new poll showing that the number of people calling themselves Christians in America is in steep decline, especially among young adults. Here is the link to a Times article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/12/upshot/big-drop-in-share-of-americans-calling-themselves-christian.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0&abt=0002&abg=1

This is indeed cause for concern. But not despair. Philip Zeigler, professor of theology at Aberdeen, just sent me this wonderful article about the Inklings (C. S. Lewis, Tolkien, etc.) in which there is a quotation from Lewis that strikes me as precisely the thing we need to know and remember:
Lewis himself warned against making too much of Oxford’s Christian revival, pointing out in a 1946 article for The Cherwell that it could not be counted on to last: "Sooner or later it must lose the public ear; in a place like Oxford such changes are extraordinarily rapid. … Whatever in our present success mere Fashion has given us, mere Fashion will presently withdraw. The real conversions will remain: but nothing else will."
 The whole article, from The Chronicle of Higher Education, is well worth reading in toto:

 http://chronicle.com/article/Oxfords-Influential-Inklings/229967/