“We are living in times when people cling to the wreckage of their sinking orthodoxies as if to salvation and aggressively continue to promote the very ideas which have led to their predicament. All we can hope, I suppose, is that, in their enthusiasm for self-destruction, they don’t drag the rest of us down with them. Violent grinning, canned orchestral music, empathic neighbourliness, vigorous hand-clapping, enthusiastic show-business presentation, and simplified hymn-singing is now substitute for real spiritual substance and that, it seems to me, demonstrates the crisis of many Christian churches at present…”
That was written twenty years ago (1996) by British writer Michael Moorcock for the 30th anniversary edition of his brilliant novel, Behold the Man. It is the story of Karl Glogauer, a man who travels from the year 1970 in a time machine to 28 AD, where he hopes to meet the historical Jesus of Nazareth. Behold the Man, firmly planted on my list of the ten best SF novels ever, won the 1967 Nebula Award a year after its initial publication.
The comment above was written in context of how the original had been received when first published, which included strong, positive reviews in the religious press in his home country. It was only when the book made its way to these shores that he began to receive death threats, “mostly from the Bible Belt, almost all from Texas.”
The strain of madness in our culture is nothing new. What is new is that it has bubbled to the surface and no one can pretend it doesn’t exist any longer. Some will try, of course, as we are not seeing from the liberal media elite (that great, non-existent bogyman of the Right) and the scared-to-death, chickens-with-their-heads-cut-off crowd that is residue of the GOP Establishment. The latter are getting what they deserve. Sadly, though, what they sowed we all are reaping.