Is Christianity becoming a religion filled with cowards?

Go read the piece at Crisis: Has Christianity Become a Coward’s Religion?


In such times it is right to wonder whether Christianity really has become a religion filled with cowards. Christianity is not a coward’s religion, for its truth is hard, demanding self-denial and sacrifice in the face of earthly temptations out of simple love. Our brethren in the Middle East have shown us that some people of God remain able and willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their faith. But things seem different in the (formerly) more peaceful West. What, then, is to become of Christianity in the West? If only cowards are left among Christians in the West, then here at least Christianity will cease to exist. Not completely, of course, for the truth never dies. But it could well die among a given people at a given time, becoming the faith only of a remnant with no public voice.

Our Lord promised that the Church would endure to the end and that Hell would not prevail.

He didn’t promise that Hell wouldn’t prevail in these United States.

Beware, friends, the Olympian Middle. We need a hard-identity Catholicism in these challenging times.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Olympian Middle. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. GypsyMom says:

    I experienced some of that cowardice today, at daily Mass. During the Prayers of the Faithful, the priest allows congregants to offer intentions out loud. After a few offered for certain people with illnesses and other personal struggles, I asked for prayers for persecuted Christians, for the defeat of ISIS, and for the conversion of the Muslim people. The response from the congregation was uncomfortable and the volume dropped noticably. We’re afraid to declare the Truth even at daily Mass?!

  2. Benedict Joseph says:

    “It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been committed for fear of not looking sufficiently progressive.” (Notre Patrie, 1905). – Charles Peguy
    Doesn’t that sum it up in a nutshell? Cowardice masquerades as a charitable pacifism, “inclusiveness.” Moronic notions camouflaged as virtue.

  3. Sonshine135 says:

    2 Timothy 1:7- for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control.

    Those who cling to timidity (read cowardice) are not clinging to the Holy Spirit.

  4. Augustine says:

    After my trip to the Holy Land last year, where I witnessed the heroic faith of Christians there, I officially transferred to a Maronite parish, where people choose Christ at great personal cost, whereas in the West the faith is dropped like an old shoe if it gets in the way of social climbing.

    PS: I like the dark theme when reading the site on my mobile, but the black text on black background inside the combox it is a little cumbersome.

  5. vandalia says:

    Carla on Cheers, [to Sam after he complains about the difficulty of doing a Catholic penance] “It’s not a religion for wusses.”

  6. anilwang says:

    I think the key issue has to do with the modern assumption that most (if not all) people to go Heaven, even if they have to stay in purgatory a long time. We presume that when the Catechism says non-Christians of good faith can be saved and unbaptized infants are left to the mercy of God who is all merciful, we assume that most are saved. And if most of them are saved, most of us must be too since the sacraments are supposed to help us.

    Since most people are saved, why bother changing the world, especially in ways that are unpopular and might cause persecution? Why bother standing up for the faith? Why bother fasting? Why bother evangelizing? Why bother going to mass? Why endure suffering when the emperor asks to throw that pinch of incense to the emperor? Why not eat, drunk, for tomorrow we die and continue on living in happiness in Heaven?

    I don’t think Christians in the west are cowards. I think they’re quite rational, given the false information they’ve been lead to believe that the sin of presumption is really the virtue of trusting in God’s mercy to fix everything so we won’t have to bother with anything.

    Personally, I’ve given up on western society. The Church is too weak at this moment, and the world is to enamored of doing what is right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6). This mess will only get worse and I don’t expect to see things get better in my lifetime or possibly my children’s life time. That doesn’t mean I despair. Far from it. Ultimately Christ will triumph and the Church will be there to pick up the pieces when society ultimately collapses. In the mean time, we’ve all been given a mission, and even if we never see the fruits of our labours, save being spit on and being crucified, our mission remains, and the souls near us desperately need us to be strong in the Faith so that they too can recognize their mission to be faithful and strong.

  7. Diane says:

    I was so disheartened tonight when I looked at the front page of the Catholic Herald, the Milwaukee Archdiocesan newspaper, to find that old St. Adalbert church in Milwaukee has been sold to a group of muslims who will build a mosque there. I pray that whenever the time comes, God will grant me the ability to be strong in my faith and defend it well, where ever it is needed.

  8. Buffy says:

    I don’t like the black theme. And agree with Augustine that comm box is useless. Just guessing at what I’ve written.

  9. Imrahil says:

    Dear anilwang,

    interesting analysis.

    Only what is true is a different question from what would be efficient if it were true. The speculation that the state of most people’s souls is still such that punishment in Purgatory suffices has both good arguments and good motivations (to the latter, while no argument in itself, belongs the fact that we can’t bring it over ourselves to condemn, even if silently, all our loved ones whom we know, with human certainty, to be people of good intentions to eternal despair and torture). And also, it has been assented magisterially by Pope Benedict.

    (Setting aside whether it would be efficient at all, in a missionary way to tell prospective converts that, in becoming Christians, they have to abandon the hope about all the others.)

    And of course,

    consider someone is presented (arguendo) the hypothesis “you’re going to get to Heaven no matter what you do” – which is, in that form, of course false – and asked “in that case, why be a Christian”. If he then answers: “why indeed; if that were the case, I wouldn’t”, then something has obviously gone terribly wrong with his Christianity in the first place.

    Part of the answer is that Purgatory is a nasty place, even though finite.

    Part of the answer is that good actions never go unrewarded, as Scripture teaches, and that there is a specific merit even apart from “mere” (if you allow) being in Heaven.

    Unfortunately, the topics of Purgatory and of Merit are mined areas in the ecumenical dialogue. You may be able to evade the problem for a couple of centuries more calvinistico, turning the good God into an arbitrary ruler you just had better subject yourself to as He has the greater power; or you can solve it more Catholico, believing in a loving Father who rewards good actions and forgives, but does not entirely leave unpunished, bad actions (cf. Num 14,18):

    But there is one thing which just won’t do, and that is saying, “this is territory of dispute between the Christian denominations; let’s not teach either”. We may have a chance with the whole of Catholicism; we cannot have a chance when leaving out parts of it.

  10. Imrahil says:

    Correction (which is more of a “English language” issue): It is, I guess, not correct to say that Purgatory is a “nasty” place (which attribute, having “mischievous” and the like as partial synonyms, belongs more properly to Hell).

    But it is an “awful” place (which is what I intended to say).

Comments are closed.