Monday 7 February 2022

"Building alternative institutions" - it's already been tried, and has failed

There is a lot of talk in my corner of the interweb about the need to build 'alternative institutions' - and that from these we can fight, and eventually beat, the global totalitarian atheist-leftist System. 

The trouble is that this strategy has been tried, pretty thoroughly - and failed. 

In the evangelical Protestant churches (especially in the USA) from the 1960s onward, in response to influential theorists such as Francis Schaeffer, there was a pretty determined attempt to develop churches that provided a range of services - including education from schooling through to colleges and universities. 

Such churches, with such ideals, were the major growth area of Christianity in The West over the past half-century - and the only kind of Christian church capable of attracting and retaining men and young people in significant numbers; and of providing a parallel economy and employment. 

I was a member of this kind of church that grew greatly over forty years, to provide a wide range of activities and children-youth activities through childhood and extending into college - the church also tried to start a school, but was thwarted by the UK educational bureaucracy. 

Indeed, the Mormon church developed many alternative institutions, starting in the middle 19th century - and (in its heartlands) provided a very impressive 'parallel social world' of church-run activities of many kinds - from cradle to grave. 

And, of course, the Roman Catholic church had centuries of experience developing 'alternative' social structures in the West - with religious orders and secular priests providing an apparently autonomous personnel, schools and colleges, social clubs and a multitude of other activities and employments. Almost - it seemed - a parallel world...  

Therefore, the situation was that many Christians of many kinds - right up into the new millennium - really thought they already had a set of alternative institutions

The problem is that such alternative institutions became corrupted and converged; and when it came to 2020 and the demonic coup - the evangelicals and Mormons alike eagerly, enthusiastically, obeyed the rules designed to destroy the Christian churches.

Instead of (as people like me had hoped they would) providing a strong communal basis and support for resisting and maybe overcoming anti-Christian pressures from the mainstream...

Instead of this, and after decades/ centuries of hard work in building them; when times got really tough and they were most needed - the alternative institutions turned out Not to be 'alternative' after all! 

Just, after all, different 'flavours' of the same universal institutional convergence onto the global-left-totalitarian agenda. 

So I hold out no optimism for new alternative institutions as a strategy for prosecuting the spiritual war of these times. 

It is easy to say that future alternative institutions will retain their purity and independence in ways that the evangelicals and Mormons failed to do; but the multiple pressures on any institution that must function in the context of a globally-hegemonic secular-left bureaucracy and mass media are greater now than they ever have been. 

And the problems of trying to grow social institutions in a world where left-secular assumptions are ever more pervasive and extreme are also worse than ever. 

And there are fewer Christians who even want these things than ever before - as demonstrated by their mass compliance with the anti-Christian (anti-human) policies advocated by their corrupted leaderships. 

I don't see the prospects for genuinely alternative Christian institutions in 2022 as being any better than they were in the past decades; when this strategy was tried and comprehensively failed

Being realistic: quite the contrary. 

The same options as ever remain for Christians institutions whether churches or alternative social groupings of of other kinds: stay pure... but small, weak and outside of the society (if that is indeed allowed - which is increasingly doubtful)...

Or else grow ... but by compromising with 'the world', and at the cost of creeping corruption and self-subversion - tending always towards assimilation with the goals of Systemic Evil, sooner or later.  


xxxx said...

Who could disagree with this post? Nobody who has a pair of eyes.

I wish I was 80 and my life behind me. I have some decades left and I don't want to live in this kind of world

easty said...

The parallel institutions have to be racial and political not religious. Religious institutions are just like "You're not Trinitarian enough so you're cancelled" or "You're not Calvinist enough so you're cancelled."

Joseph A. said...

I find it odd and somewhat humorous that I get to play the role of Pollyanna to your Puddleglumery when I myself am a marsh-wiggle at my core.

You're too quick to dismiss Christendom with the Great Apostasy 2.0: watered down and embarrassing version. The Covidian people were foolish, but people do learn (not enough people and not enough learning, ever, but it happens).

You're right that various Christians attempted to create parallel societies -- and all of that has been infiltrated and co-opted. I sadly agree. However, I believe that such was allowed to happen (by those Christians themselves) because they hadn't adequately faced up to the fact that our societies -- our political, cultural, educational, and martial institutions -- have been taken over by anti-Christian powers. They're like mainstream American Republicans who still think that we're the good guys -- sweet land of liberty, blessed by the Lord (and in the U.S., they are the very same people). Among such folks are millions of Roman Catholics who still think that we should compromise with the world in order to evangelize it -- refusing to see the disaster of the Post-Vatican II landscape, blind to every obvious indicator. Yes, you're right -- this betrays a shocking amount of naivety and spiritual dullness. But I think that you fail to see the cracks in the mind-prison appearing. Yes, as you frequently note, it has never been easier (well, not in 17 centuries, at least) to see the path of the light and the path of darkness so clearly demarcated. And such is leading and will continue to lead to a spiritual awakening of previous sleepers, who thought (perhaps in willful ignorance) that they could serve two masters. But the brazenness of the demons is waking people. "Normies" are starting to realize what the perceptive decades ago.

I repeat this disagreement to say that the future survivors -- who will muster through this dark age and then finally rebuild Christendom on the ashes of fallen civilization, if the world endures -- will have additional evidence that Western Christians in the mid-20th century did not. Like the Hebrews of old, knowledge of the truth will be held by the whole people and not simply the far-seeing wise. In place of a small collection of Kirks, Burnhams, and Scrutons, every man and maid will recognize the serpent's latest disguises. Of course, the demons will find other temptations to lead people astray, but their current six century scrimmage will have played out.

Alan Roebuck said...

I am always wary of fully accepting absolute statements concerning vast phenomena, statements such as "they are have all failed."

Even if it is 99.9% true, that still leaves a lot of particulars not covered under the statement.

I would just add this: The demonic nature of the Other Side is pushing itself right into people's faces. Never before has Human Civilization been entirely possessed by such evil, nor has this evil been so all-pervasive and confident enough to think it can shove everyone's face in the mud and get away with it.

When people are cornered they generally fight. Regardless of the odds.

Bruce Charlton said...

@easty - You are assuming that politics and race are stronger motivators than religion - which I regard as obviously untrue. They are negative, and strong enough motivators to destroy - and to aid the work of destruction at work in this world; but not strong enough to create - which requires positive, religious, motivations.

@Alan - I am not being absolute - just pointing out that this strategy is not new, nor are its prospects good.

"When people are cornered they generally fight. Regardless of the odds." - Well, that used to be the case. But now? Obviously not!

Maybe people will eventually fight rather than walking obediently or despairingly to the lethal chambers - I hope they do. But the desperate fighting-for-survival (for a few more minutes) of a cornered fox against a pack of hounds (the existence of which the fox has, until that moment, ignored, or supported and defended!) is not the basis for a better world.