In a comment here at the Orthosphere, Wm. Lewis quotes Lawrence Auster to great effect in responding to the claim made by some that Protestantism is the mother of Liberalism:
Some commenters have observed, correctly, that formerly Protestant countries are in the vanguard of liberalism and its destruction of the West. This is due not to some defect within Protestantism; formerly Roman Catholic countries are also being destroyed by liberalism. We also see leaders within the Roman Catholic Church advancing liberal destruction (e.g., American bishops advocating open borders), so vulnerability to liberalism is unique neither to Protestantism nor to Roman Catholicism.
Whence this weakness to liberalism? Any number of factors could be cited, but one of the most important is the inherent risk, as Lawrence Auster put it, of Christian society:
Christian society is thus more complex—more differentiated, to use Eric Voegelin’s term—than any other. It is multileveled, mediating between the pole of the Christian, spiritual realm and the pole of political and cultural existence in this world, which does not come from Christianity itself. If the society loses its this-worldly pole it will go out of existence. This is the reason why Christian society is the riskiest and most dangerous type of society, the most open to catastrophic derailment, such as the derailment brought by modern liberalism. Yet Christianity’s this-worldly “lack,” which makes Christian society so vulnerable in comparison to the religiously structured society of traditional Judaism and Islam, is also the thing that, by requiring Christian society to be multileveled in order to function in this world, makes it the fullest and truest articulation of the human soul, extending downward to the apeirontic depths (the many) and upward to transcendent spiritual truth (the One).
Protestantism, being less grounded in concrete traditions than Roman Catholicism or Orthodoxy, is therefore more susceptible to derailment than they are. However, precisely because it does not have (as many?) extra-biblical accretions, Protestantism, to the extent that it remains faithful to the inerrant Word of God (i.e., the Bible), is a truer expression of Christianity than other forms—in our estimation, of course. (I’m not trying to start up another argument over whose Christianity is true and whose is false; I’m just trying to give an explanation for the observed phenomena.) [AR: Remember that last sentence, partisans.]
Another relevant quote from Auster:
The great error of many modern Christians, especially low-church and evangelical Christians, but even many modern Catholics as well, is the belief that Christian faith by itself is sufficient for political as well as spiritual existence. And this has the danger I mentioned, that the faith of the New Testament, divorced from the particularity and concreteness of any political or cultural organization, devolves into a vapid, self-sacrificing universalism which spells the death of any earthly society.
When Christianity is divorced from tradition, then toxic elements, such as liberalism, can infect the society and de-Christianize it. This is why many of us call ourselves traditionalists: along with Christianity, we value our Western traditions and heritage, those very things that liberalism attempts to destroy.
[End of Mr. Lewis’s comment.]
I don’t expect these quotes from one of the Orthosphere’s patron saints to settle the dispute, but they remind us of the value of our Christian heritage: “…the fullest and truest articulation of the human soul…: