Christianity and/or religion in the anglo-saxon world of our time has been something optional. Some of us went to church in our childhood and some didn’t.
George Washington refused to be cornered on belief and confined his statesmanlike utterance to appreciation of “the benign influence of” the Christian religion.
“Belief” as the pious once used the term is alien to our age. We may have a respect for the unknown. We may have a pious disposition. We may have a wide sense of possibility.
The child of the age — say that age was the last half of the “age of usury” (XIXth century) or the first third of this one (the XXth) — is so accustomed to the loose waftiness of demoliberal ideology that it takes sharp speech to open his mind to the thousand and more years of Europe, during which the intellectual hard work of the West occurred INSIDE the Church Catholic.
And here we shd. set out two axes of reference.
I. There flourished during the best age of “scholastic thought” a very great and high verbal culture. Having almost nothing but words to deal with, the ecclesiastical doctors cared for (that is took care of) their terminology. A method of using words, a method of definition arose, or was kept, tended, developed, and we, today, lose a great deal by not knowing it, I mean by not knowing it as deeply and finely as they did.
II. The Church declined, as a force social, as a force intellectual, when its hierarchy ceased to believe their own dogmas. –from Guide to Kulchur (1938)