Roy quotes Bishop Roland Minnerath that entire swatches of Christianity are undergoing pseudo morphosis. A term from mineralogy where the minerals are changing only on the outside.
In this case, there is an outer casting of Christian words, rites and symbols but inside the mystery of God is absent. The core and soul of contemporary religion, and by this he means the committed engaged members are in their heart post-modern irrational, speaking of gnosis, sects, and new age. But no interest in God as transcendental creator and redeemer. (131) No shortage of Orthodox parallels.
For Roy, the current approach contains the loss of religious certainty since there is no culture to appeal to for norms, so that means that at any moment the legitimacy of a particular practice can be called into question. Now religious practices are no longer embedded in the surrounding culture – they have to be reinforced, imposed and explained. General culture, and even the culture of religious individuals is always disbelief. (134) We cannot trust general culture because it is the source of the immoralities of feminism and gays rights.
The Sociological believer is no longer recognized. Everyone now is born again, or takes the faith on as a personal acceptance. Roy deals with how conversion has gotten stricter in Islam. In the past one just affirms the Islamic faith and in good faith accepts that one is a Muslim. Now, it involves tests by imams on one’s beliefs and one’s standards of behavior. (136)
Everything is now them and us. There are no more sociological Christians, or sociological Orthodox Jews.
Personal faith must be declared and worn as a badge.
For Roy, Catholics seek to maintain culture, and evangelicals and Salafi Muslims ignore culture and create a holy ignorance. Orthodox Judaism seems to have both aspects.
Society always has romance, but in the past the distinction was good and bad representations. Now, it is faith as opposed to culture, precluding romance.
There is now established a minority separatist vision. The minority discourse is now explicit.- Don’t touch my community- they are adopting a communitarian attitude not one of reaching out.
Roy cites a 2007 article in the Yated apologizing for a prior article encouraging Jews to come together because we can never come together or have friendship with Non-Haredi Jews.
Roy cites the Noah Feldman case- were most of the articles written as a reaction were about safe guarding the Modern Orthodox community from slander rather than defending religious principles. (141)
“Everywhere defending the group’s identity and values takes precedence over social and pastoral concerns.” There is no participation in social service events because of the secular and liberal faiths that attend. People learn that the demarcation from the non-Orthodox counts more than performance of the rituals and prayer, and counts more than caring for people. (139)
Roy concludes that we now have faith communities that would not have been understood in the past. (142)
In the 1940’s -1950’s religions considered entering culture as a kind of vocation. They sought secular dress, had few complaints about culture, and taught that the goal was for religion to enter the profane. Since, now there is nothing positive in the profane culture, therefore one needs religious markers to separate those religious from this profane culture. Synthesis of religion and culture has given way to a separatist religious culture.
Roy shows that there is now a suspicion of religious knowledge itself and knowledge can distract from true faith. There is a greater emphasis now on revivalism, on emotions, and on the irrational.
As an interesting question, Roy asks how can all these believers who took on religions as a personal decision pass it on to the their children? How can the children of BT’s pass it on to the their kids?
Obliviously, the answer is that the kids need to be raised as part of a bigger stable culture bigger than the enthusiasm of the parent. Kids needs to be mainstreamed.
But what of the enthusiasm that the parents had? What if the kids contextualize their parent’s decision as just another fad of the 1970’s or 1980s?
Answer- the parents and community attempt reconnection, have calls for reconnection, and seek revival. The community creates new cultural markers of religious popular culture, such as religious rock, retreat weekends, religious videos. But Roy thinks that they are confusing cultural markers with culture. Instead, we have holy ignorance without real culture just popular culture. SO it wont work.
But what happens when the new generation loses their faith after having Holy ignorant parents? Roy claims that the younger generation that does not have the passion and personal commitment have a loss of faith and loss of observance without becoming socially integrated secular people. They remain in the religious culture because they have little connection to secular culture. (11-12)