A review of the book “The Unintended Reformation”…
The underlying problem is that most people seek–and through relentless advertising are encouraged to pursue–ever greater material affluence and comfort, despite the fact that the average American income, for example, rose eightfold in real terms during the twentieth century. Westerners now live in societies without an acquisitive ceiling: a distinctly consumerist (rather than merely industrial) economic ethos depends precisely on persuading people to discard as quickly as possible what they were no less insistently urged to purchase, so that another acquisitive cycle might begin
If “rights” and “persons” no less than “morality” are mere constructs without empirical grounding in the findings of science, and only science can legitimately tell us anything true about reality, then such constructs can be deconstructed and dismissed in the pursuit of alternatives.
>Reformation leaders thought the root problem was doctrinal, and in seeking to fix it by turning to the Bible they unintentionally introduced multiple sorts of unwanted disagreement. This constituted a new set of problems, different from the first. What was true Christianity and how was it known? Doctrinal controversy was literally endless, and religio-political conflicts…were destructive and inconclusive.
What sort of public life or common culture is possible in societies whose members share ever fewer substantive beliefs, norms, and values save for a nearly universal embrace of consumerist acquisitiveness?
Read more here.