As a believing Christian, I have come to a point where I find articles like Scruton’s increasingly frustrating. That large numbers of Europeans no longer embrace the Christian faith is obvious. But in this article, Scruton neither explains, nor defends, nor advocates the Christian faith other than as an instrumentality to buttress a select group of nation states, or as an instrumentality to inform elements of a culture he would like to see preserved. At least as described, Scruton’s is not a Christianity of radical practices of self-giving love that animated the early communities of the time of Acts of the Apostles. It is a Christianity from the top down. a bureaucratized belief system in which the value proposition lies not in the transformation of individual lives, but in providing some sort of ethical coherence to societies. Now, it may be a good thing for societies to possess ethical coherence – but that is a consequence far, far down the causal chain, and a long distance from the mission and purpose of Christian belief. Starting the discussion where Scruton does, he makes Christian belief the servant of state and culture (whatever he may think he is saying) rather than a set of beliefs that precedes and is therefore independent of state and culture. The error of that highly compromised version of Christian belief was exposed for all to see in The Great War, when it failed to speak truth to power, when its chief utility was to provide an endless series of benedictions to soldiers who died in the mud of that war in service to various regimes claiming the banner of Christianity in order to wage destruction on their neighbors. European Christianity has never recovered. Scruton cherry picks fragments of Christian moral teaching to fashion a belief system with which he is comfortable, and because it provides a rationale for safeguarding works of prior centuries whose aesthetics he finds appealing. His Christianity amounts to little more than prayer books for bare, ruined choirs. It’s an elegy, not evangelism, and it can neither transform, nor redeem. So no wonder it cannot compete with the ideals of the present age, whether in Europe or in this country. It has no Christmas, nor Easter. It’s just an endless series of 18th Sundays after Pentecost.
— A brilliant comment by one of Rod Dreher’s readers. I love much of Scruton’s writing and have learned a great deal from him, but he does sometimes talk as though the chief function of Christianity is to provide liturgical support for fox hunting.