A. Dealing with destruction, elimination of slavery, awareness of defeat
B. Church buildings destroyed, many church members dead
C. 30% loss of members to Methodist Church in south, 50% loss in giving
D. And yet, religion in South prospered after war
1. Soldiers came home – not disillusioned with God (as in other wars)
2. South continued to assert it had been right all along – defeat did not mean God was against us
a. Robert Dabney – “The Defense of Virginia and the South” Slavery had been good and helpful to blacks. To Dabney, the North had no love for blacks, using them for political gain.
b. Methodists – we must not reunite with Northern Methodists – cannot compromise gospel
c. Soldiers agreed – “We were engaged in a just and holy war…In his own good time God will give us a new & more beautiful flag which shall float proudly and wide over all our foes. ” (Pvt. James Scott – 3rd Virginia Calvary) Unthinkable that so many died for a wrong cause.
1. Political – South Democrats
2. South bitter (generally)
3. Christianity preserved – unmoved – thus by 20th century South home of orthodoxy compared to North, which more easily succumbed to liberalism
4. Growing myth of “Lost Cause” – Stories, poems, essays, of how South was right, God’s soldiers, though God allowed defeat, he also allowed his Son to be defeated. By its sufferings South even more pure and noble – war not about slavery at all, but Northern aggression and greed. Elevated heroes – Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, as Christ figures suffering for their people. Asserted Southern soldier had been more brave, pure, and tough than Northern soldier. Told of Southern revivals, but ignored genuine Christianity among Northern soldiers. “ Lost Cause thinking still around
No need to justify war – to them, outcome proved God’s viewpoint. No stigma dealing with defeat, but great loss – 360,000 dead, assignation of Lincoln. Bitterness among Northerners “This Day I sware eternal vengeance against all copperheads and will shoot a man for saying anything against A. Lincoln” (John McKee, 2nd Iowa, in diary after Lincoln shot) “Many of our fellows who have suffered every indignity while in Southern prisons from officials openly declare they will get vengeance the first time they meet their man no matter what the circumstances may be.” (William Walling, 142nd New York)
No need for Lost cause literature – assumed by victory – “I trust I entered the Army with pure motives and from love of country…I have never forgotten that I am a Christian… I thank God that I have had the opportunity of serving my country freeing the slaves and restoring the Union” (Elisha Rhodes)
Very few soldiers in North disillusioned with God.
“Indeed, one of the most remarkable aspects of the Civil War may be how little it changed, rather than how much” (historian Steven Woodworth)
Next generation faced new challenges, such as Darwinism, industrialization, higher criticism, liberal theology
“For Americans of the 1860’s whose faith rested on a firm foundation, the passing incidents of life, even including wars, could be understood, endured and overcome…when the guns fell silent and the smoke cleared, and the young men in blue or gray marched home to the same America they had known – changed to be sure, in circumstance and condition…little of real importance had changed in the religious world of Civil War soldiers.” (Woodworth)
Post-mil view of America still dominated (but would waver with the coming of Darby)
America still “City upon a hill” trial of war purifying them to be a light to world and spectacle for the ages.