Friday 5 October 2012

Strategic dilemma for Christians: re-conquest or subculture


The situation for Christianity in the West is that - at least according to worldly calculations and in terms that can be used in the public arena - the remaining Christians are too few and too weak (and too hated and despised) - and too dispersed - to win the culture war.

We have lost the culture war; yet of course there is no question of surrender.

We will continue to fight, although we have lost. 


So what does it actually mean for Christians to continue to fight the culture war?

What does 'fighting' entail?

What would need to happen?


The two basic strategies are (I think) re-conquest or subculture. 

Re-conquest is the normal way in which such matters are discussed. The idea that although we are weak and getting weaker, we should try to re-take the cultural strongholds: government, public administration, education, law, and that centre of Leftism: the mass media.

This entails continued engagement in the public arena - elections (despite that democracy is anti-Christian in tendency), the media space (despite that the mass media is essentially a phenomenon destructive of Christianity), public administration (despite that bureaucracy is anti-Christian)... and so on.


The point is that this plan of re-conquest involves Christians fighting on enemy ground using the enemies' weapons.

Under such circumstances, can we actually remain Christian?

Yes - if we are strong in faith. But are we strong?

And if we are not yet strong in faith, how can we possibly get to be strong in face of apparently overwhelming and all-but pervasive force and propaganda from secular Leftism?


The other alternative is for Christians to build and strengthen the Christian subculture. To develop alternative institutions.

Not to re-conquer Western culture, but not to comply with culture - to live (as much as can be managed) in a subculture.

Of course, this kind of thing has been going on in the West for centuries, with small, exclusive and geographically-compact groups (but typically mutually hostile); however, can it be done for multiple small, linked, dispersed groups who fight on the same side because linked by Mere Christianity, but not institutionally-united by denominational membership?

That, at any rate, is what would need to happen.


Such subcultural places already exist in the media (this is one of them); but would also need to exist in schools and colleges, and so on.

A point to remember is that the aimed-at autonomy is spiritual - this is primarily a subculture of faith; and material autonomy is needed only to the extent that it supports spiritual autonomy.

I think it is probably necessary that any such subculture would be based around geographically-concentrated denominations; and that Christians would need to relocate to create such concentrations where they do not already exist.


But no single denomination is strong enough to make the subculture; so the possibility hinges on coalitions or alliances between denominations.

Could a focus of Roman Catholics in one place ally with a focus of Baptists in another place and Orthodox in a third place? To make a Christian sub-culture that was strong in its parts and strong enough in its unity to fight the war and not fight each other?

That, at any rate, is what would need to happen. 



Valkea said...

It's a question of leadership. Who could be the uniter of Christians to a coalition?

What is pride?

Pride is a self-evaluating feeling; high self-evaluation; competitiveness; likely arrogance; self-assurance; self-confidence; self-centeredness; reduced need for others; status sensitiveness or honor sensitiveness; less respectful of other peoples boundaries; increasing the details and meaningfulness of the self and at the same time decreasing the differentiation of other people, i.e. making them more similar, an undifferentiated mass; doesn't search much information or feel the need for it; wants to decide the biggest issues and leave the arduous details for others; likely to brush difficult or problematic issues under the carpet and just hope they stay there, or if deals with difficult issues, fights over them bitterly, trying to maintain positive illusions as much as possible; personality resembles to some extent narcissistic personality disorder; expansive in politics and personal relations; short term interests dominates thinking (this paper, this fight, this fire); etc. In short, prideful person is full of himself and his personality. Pride is a worldly feeling, suffused by wordliness and mixed with it, embedded in worldly battles, interests, expansions, wants, needs, compelling realities, materiality, etc.

What kind of man is a holy man?

Holy man's personality could be described, but it would be mere exercise of worldly psychology, which is inadequate and inappropriate for this task.

Holy man is humble and submissive before God. Holy man becomes detached from worldly matters; materiality, interests, battles, needs, compelling realities, etc. Holy man empties his own personality, interest, needs, passions, the influence of compelling external things, etc., he becomes full of emptiness, he becomes less of himself. He becomes the lowest man, almost nothing. He fills this void with beseeching prayers, scriptures, Christian ascetism, virtues, learning and he becomes receptive of other wordly influences. God willing, he becomes the relay station of God's will and power in this world. He connects the God's realm with this world in his deeds, speeches, teaching, example, influence etc., with his whole life. Death is unimportant to him and he already lives partly in the other world. God willing, he creates the extra sacred dimensions in this world and connects us more, much more than now, with God; sacred dimensions where our worldly strivings, incompatibilities and interests can temporararily cease and where Christians can unite for Christian change. The lowest man becomes the highest man. The holy man, the good shepherd will lead God's lambs to the promised land, in this world and the next.

It is easy to see that the most of the present day Christians are wholly unworthy to this kind of God's mercy, myself included. We are worldly and prideful, mostly or through and through. Our full of ourselves personalities actively repel any God's influences. Where in our worldly minds and lives would be space for God's mercy?

We are obliged to prepare for the possibility of the holy man by making ourselves more holy. The window of opportunity will likely be small and short. We will always be and should be worldly to some extent because of worldly necessities, but we must be much better than we are now, so that we can balance in the right way this world and the God's kingdom. By making ourselves more holy we increase the probability that the good shepherd arises from among us. Your little spark of holiness is important. I pray that one day we will see a sea of holiness, to which we belong.

stephens said...

"Such subcultural places already exist in the media (this is one of them); but would also need to exist in schools and colleges, and so on."

I notice the marxists at the Labour Party Conference were onto that idea yesterday and the media had their "Free School Fascism" headlines.
Perhaps they are not so keen on Church Schools and their lack of marxist indoctrination.

Anonymous said...

I am convinced that the way to go in this hostile modern society is becoming subculture (or, rather, several subcultures).

Subcultures are thriving: Orthodox Jews, Mormons, Amish,...

The mainstream Christian culture is fading: in Europe Christianity is disappearing, in America is becoming "Moralistic therapeutic deism" (

Christianity began as a subculture of the Roman Empire who was hostile to it: Constantine changed that. Now in a hostile modernity, it is time to become a subculture again. Modernity will pass and we have to prepare for the aftermath.

I don't think there can be an unified Christian subculture now. We will have Catholic subcultures, Orthodox subcultures, Calvinist subcultures, etc.

After the fallout of the modernity, subcultures will inherit the earth and it will be the time to think about unity. Now, it is time to think about the preservation of the Christian message, regardless the specific denominations.