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Big Christianism, or the Christianism-Industrial-Complex vs. Christianity

• By Jack Kerwick

Christian leadership—meaning clerics and commentators of both the Catholic and Protestant varieties—all too often reveals itself to be of the world.

Speaking as a practicing Roman Catholic, this is a sobering truth with which to reckon.

But it's true all of the same.

Between genuine Christianity and what I will henceforth refer to as Big Christianism or, alternatively, the Christianism-Industrial-Complex (CIC), there is all of the difference.

For at least three reasons, "Big Christianism" is an appropriate term for the phenomenon under consideration.

First, Christianism, being an ism, is an ideology, a theoretical abstraction designed to impose upon the ever-flowing currents of everyday life a straightjacket of sorts comprised of its own principles and dogmas. Unlike Christianity, which is a way of life inasmuch as the Christian's love for God is supposed to inform every thought, word, and deed, Christianism is a set of principles or rules, of proverbial boxes to be checked by its adherents.

Second, the intellectual construction that is Christianism is a political ideology. It is essentially but a version of our contemporary secular culture's prevailing Zeitgeist.  That is, it is Political Correctness.  It is leftism, specifically, what is commonly referred to as "Cultural Marxism," but with this crucial difference: Christianism supplies to the reigning orthodoxy a theological pretext.  As such, a "good" Christianist is one who subscribes to Politically Correct positions on those issues to which leftists attach significance.

Christianism, to put it simply, is of the world.

Third, precisely because Christianism is ubiquitous, with untold numbers of clerics, academics, and writers from across the denominational divide deriving from it enormous benefits in affluence, fame, and, crucially, the semblance of virtue, it is indeed "Big," an industrial complex.

So, how can we distinguish a Big Christianist from a Christian?  The list of features below is admittedly impressionistic, but it suffices to bring into focus a picture of the Big Christianist, the purveyor of the Christianism-Industrial-Complex.

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