That Matthew Rose piece from the new, orange print issue of “First Things” (mostly paywalled) is quite good on the origins of a “God is Dead” liberal Christianity without Christ. He presents a thoughtful, convincing exegesis of the intellectual movement. One intriguing idea: Being a Christian requires us to embody moral character, which requires us to be scrupulously honest, which compels us to admit that the truth-claims of orthodox Christianity are not convincing.
But he trails off quickly after he claims that this post-God liberal Christianity is embodied in contemporary American culture (i.e., liberal Protestantism has withered as a viable religion but flourished as a cultural pseudo-religious movement for Rainbow Coalition values of equality, justice, freedom, tolerance, etc). He makes the claim, and it seems right; I sort of believe him. But he doesn’t make much of a historical or theological or sociological case for it.
And he doesn’t even begin to make a case against the “God is dead” theology as such. That might properly be a distinct project. But I wonder whether he hasn’t inadvertently baited some quavering semi-believers, myself included, to be taken in by post-Christian Christianity.