Hilaire Belloc: “Protestant culture decayed from within”

Not a fan of Mr Belloc myself, but he might be on to something.

Dover Beach


“Protestant culture decayed from within from a number of causes, all probably connected, although it is difficult to trace the connection; all probably proceeding from what physicists call the “auto-toxic” condition of the Protestant culture. We say that an organism has become “auto-toxic” when it is beginning to poison itself, when it loses vigour in its vital processes and accumulates secretions which continually lessen its energies. Something of this kind was happening to the Protestant culture towards the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth.

This was the general cause of the Protestant decline, but its action was vague and hard to grasp; on the causes of that decline we may be more concrete and certain.

For one thing the spiritual basis of Protestantism went to pieces through the breakdown of the Bible as a supreme authority. This breakdown was the result of that very spirit…

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