Friday, April 22, 2005

The theo-left just can't win 

Reader Eric takes me to task for my statement two days ago that
"While the commentators all too often tend to reduce the religion to a matter of 'helping the poor', the poor themselves [particularly in the developing world] look to their faith for the promise of the next life rather than a change in this one."
He writes:
"[This] is precisely why the Catholic Church faces the challenge of increasing numbers of its flock, particularly in Latin America, converting to evangelical Protestantism. And that's because the Protestants push the notion that you CAN make a difference in this life, you CAN improve your lot, and that resonates powerfully with folks who have previously been encouraged to be fatalistic."
I agree; the growth of evangelical Protestantism, particularly in the once impregnable Catholic bastion of Latin America is an undisputed fact, and it is happening at least in part because of the reasons that Eric mentions.

This might be a bad news for Catholicism (if one considers intra-Christian competition a zero-sum game), but it is even worse news for the Western progressives. This is because this Protestant-inspired drive to improve one's material condition is not based on Marxist Liberation Theology and the redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor, but on the ethic of hard work, education, entrepreneurship, and - yes - capitalism.

And so, the Western trendies are ending up with the worst of both worlds: developing world Christians who aren't just socially conservative - they're also anti-statist and pro-market.


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