Friday, June 26, 2020

Preparing for the Christian Diaspora

The ruins of an iron age temple at 'Ain Dara in Syria
Because it's coming.  In his book The Benedict Option, Rod Dreher argues for a radical rethinking of how Christians approach the Faith.  Correctly reading the tea leaves, he realizes that Christianity is no longer going to be easy.  His approach, one of a new form of communal undertaking in a pseudo-monastic model, can be debated elsewhere.

There is the one thing he doesn't emphasize enough.  The forces we are watching are tapping into the base levels of human emotions: hate, revenge, resentment, envy, pride.  They have formed a loose coalition with anyone and everyone who can claim 'oppressed minority' status throughout the world. Oppressed by the Christian West and the United States that is.

To that end, this coalition has found its numbers bulging, for appeals to the base human emotions are always effective.  Plus, the net is so broad as to what constitutes oppressed, you'd be shocked to see how many find their way into this fold.  Even Catholics and Orthodox have dipped their feet in this coalition, depending on just who is being emphasized at the moment. Catholics grind axes about past discrimination by Protestant America, Orthodox still rise up and shake fists at old crusaders and Western imperialism.  In short, it is so broadly defined, that there are likely no more than a few percentage points of people in the world who aren't part of this 'down with the West movement', at least at one point or another.

Because of that, within another hundred years or so - or perhaps much sooner - expect much of what we've come to see as the Christian West, Christian heritage, residue of Christian culture - to be gone.  Like King David's Jerusalem or Solomon's temple, so the cathedrals, the music, the art, the books and stories, the values and beliefs, will have been torn down.  We're seeing it happen and we've been seeing it happen for some time.  Do we think it will slow down or stop?  There are certainly none trying to make it stop.

Some believe this is just a new development in the 2000 year old history of Christianity. Things change.  The Church changes.  We adapt.  The next step in the development of doctrine.  I don't think so.  This is different.  Up until now, even following the Protestant Reformation, there was an attempt to preserve the parts of the Christian West believed to be worth preserving; if nothing else a Trail of Blood going back to Jesus.  There may have been attempts to spin these things as belonging only to the latest movements, but they were kept.  That's not what we're seeing here.  We're watching a movement, very much akin to some of the communist revolutions of the last century, making sure anything not of the New Way is eradicated and destroyed.  Burning those bridges, rejecting Christ, God, the Bible, freedom, democracy, equality and even life itself.  Given that this movement will gladly side with any other culture or nation if the end result is a destruction of those historical roots, I'm not seeing many rush in to stop the tsunami.

The important thing is who they oppose
When in a high school history class I was teaching, a student asked me why Americans thought they could just go and get slaves from Africa.  I told her because they could, that's why.  Do we think if Africa had the superior culture it would be like the Black Panther movies, and be a land of peace, love, science, kindness and John Lennon songs?  Do we think if American Indians possessed the science and know-how of the West in the 15th century, they wouldn't do just what the West did?  Do we think any of these things have changed in the last several centuries?  Hardly.  Only an ignorant fool would think that.  Nonetheless, it's now the standard assumption in our schools and our popular culture and, yes, in most of our churches.

None of this is to condone or dismiss the worst of Western culture.  But the Coalition has convinced everyone that no matter what happens, the destruction of the Christian tradition and America's heritage will be a net positive since only from that Christian based heritage did true evil really emanate.  There was nothing the Christian West brought that was positive that the rest of the world didn't have, or so they insist.  And almost everything negative in the West was only negative in the West, nowhere else.  That should have been rejected as the pack of foolish lies that it was, but too many Christians accepted it until it was too late to state the obvious.

So there will be a time, perhaps in the not too distant future, where Christians will literally be as Jews in the Middle Ages.  They will be foreigners and aliens, and possibly even ostracized and oppressed.  They will have only memories of a golden age of Christian civilization.  While the age of Solomon was not without its problems, historically Jews often looked back with fondness as they held to their heritage and their people.  So Christians may well merge into 'a people', one which looks back to the best of an age when cathedrals soared, Christian hymns filled the air, and the Gospel, no matter how it was often ignored, still acted as the bedrock of their lands' morals as the ideals of liberty, equality and the dignity of the human person made their way into the world from its roots.

Our aid will come from those who have paved the way, bringing the Gospel into the rest of the world, or believing in Christ in those same areas.  They will welcome the wayfarers with open arms.  And if many I've met are any indication, they will welcome the shards of the culture and heritage we preserve as well.  For most of them aren't idiots and they can see where the ideas of human dignity, equality, democracy, human rights and peace above war emerged from.  They also fear the loss of the Christian West's influence and will sadly join in paying the price once it's gone.  Or, I should say, their grandchildren will join our grandchildren in paying the price.  Given the lack of resistance we're seeing, that appears to be a price us good benefactors of the Christian West are prepared to pay.

So we'll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too,
Who loses and who wins; who's in, who's out;
And take upon's the mystery of things,
As if we were God's spies

King Lear, Act 5, Scene III

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