A reader writes:
When spiritual transformation that can in the end transcend" our current dilemma, do you mean to emphasize the essence, the sheer – or the Christianity? There is a world of difference, you know.
Or let me put it in the form of a more formal philosophical question: Is Christianity itself essential or accidental? That's the question you left unanswered (indeed unasked) in The Conservative Soul, and it remains unanswered here. And yet everything in the arguments you present depends on the answer.
If Christianity itself is essential, we have one world, and one set of answers. But if Christianity itself is accidental – whatever essence it may point to, or even at times embody – then we have another world, and another set of answers altogether is required. For instance, I personally have no doubt whatsoever that, in the breach, and when politics and doctrine and pride recede, "sheer essence" will indeed rise again.
I do doubt, however, that the form it will take will necessarily be Christian – or that of any other known religion – or even of religion itself, as we've known it.