I wonder if Rabbi Brett, the BBs, and other transformers of culture (neo-Calvinist or not) would be troubled by Ronald Beiner’s observations in “Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Rousseau on Civil Religion” (Review of Politics, Autumn 1993).
According to Machiavelli, Christianity:
devalued honor and glorified passive martyrdom, has taught me to be humble, self-abnegating and contemptuous of worldly things, has made the world effeminate and rendered heaven impotent. In sum, Christianity has celebrated slavishness, and encouraged human being to despise liberty, or the harsh politics required for the defense of liberty. (622)
Hobbes came to the same insight grapsed by Rousseau and Machiavelli, namely, that genuinely Christian aspirations are so radically otherworldly that they subvert the authority of temporal power, and so Hobbes too must search for a way in which to de-Christianize Christianity. However, Hobbes’s solution is not to go back to Roman paganism, but to go back further, to the Judaic tradition. (625)