Sunday 16 March 2014

The lights are going out all over the internet - the decline of the Christian blogosphere


I was looking at the stats for this blog, and it seems clear that until six months ago it was expanding steadily but has since declined significantly; and something similar applies to the Orthosphere.


Specifically, this blog gets 50-plus thousand views per month, but a large and continually increasing proportion is due to having a mass of old, past posts accumulating.

In terms of genuine growth of frequent blog viewers, in terms of an 'audience', plateau means decline, therefore this blog probably started on the down-slope a year ago.

(The shark must keep moving forward, or it dies!)


What was always a very small internet presence of traditionalist real Christian (real=not-'Liberal'), Mere Christian (cross-denominational) blogs has become even smaller; and in relative terms (as the mass media expands) even more so.

This is not a surprise - all the mainstream Western Christian denominations are declining, have almost-wholly-corrupt fifth-columnist leaders, and substantially corrupt adherents; are not just weakly Christian but overall anti-Christian; and hardly anybody notices and even fewer care.


Blogging as a traditionalist Christian is a matter of trying to inspire a few, a handful of, individuals - it is not a matter of mobilizing and energizing a mass audience, a silent majority or an army of faithful: no such mass majority army exists.


Being a real Christian blogger feels something like the efforts of one small hand  pushing to resist the closure of a vast iron door propelled by the weight of multi-millions.

The Mass Media, which records and links such a lot of stuff, creates the illusion that we now know the causes of things - but we don't.

We really have no idea what is really going-on - unless by intuition, revelation or vision, and that will seldom be acceptable to others.


But what I get from intuition, revelation and vision is that the more it seems futile, the more important it becomes.

It seems to me that the vast iron door cannot fully be shut while there is even one person resisting (maybe even a tiny body or interposed hand can jam the mechanism?): and that is why so much effort is put into demoralizing us, so that we will make a mental decision to give-up, that we will choose to stop resisting the closure.

Because it is clear that to 'give-up' is really to change sides.


And that choice to give-up is made by each of us as individuals - it cannot be compelled by any external force.

No matter how much pressure is massed, the decision to give-up comes from within each of us, and we are absolutely responsible for that inner decision.


On the one hand, being crushed between the jamb and a massive iron door shoved by a billion hands doesn't sound very pleasant, it sounds like agony...

But being one of the billion hands who have given-up, changed sides, and are now pushing at that closing door and crushing the unfortunates who are being squeezed by it: now that really would be futile...

Because the effective result of our efforts to assist the mass majority is near zero (one ten millionth of a percent); while the guilt, the responsibility for making the choice to give-up, thereby joining with evil, therefore pushing the iron door towards closure... that guilt is 100 percent.



Boethius said...

I also noticed that in many wordpress blogs the number of "followers" has reachead a plateau.

The number of young people close to the christian blogosphere also doesn't seem to be growing.

David said...

Don't give in Bruce! You have helped me save my soul (I pray) and challenged me to think about how to be a better person on a daily basis for a while now. I feel eternally endebted to you as a voice of uncompromising reason (at times v difficult to hear and sad because the mirrors reflection of the modern world is hard to look at and ugly beyond the facade) and clarity on some very knotty but important issues.

I will post again later but I think you should know you are not the only one who wishes to hold the iron door ajar so that as many souls as possible can see Gods light as real, good and not flee from it but be inspired to live in a radically new way to follow Christ and not presecute the creator of all that is good. I hope to keep reading your posts.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Boethius - e have to keep reminding ourselves that these are the end times/ latter days - and the battle we fight is not of this world. We must eliminate the desire to be 'on the winning side' in this mortal life.

@David. Thank you.

George Goerlich said...

I have only converted because - initially anyway - of your blog and arguments. Normal missionary-type work I'm afraid would not have worked with me well and my order was reversed. That is, I saw that without a religion things are hopeless (utilitarian?), then that it must be Christianity, and only then to actually understand the reasons for belief and to believe - and certainly it is not a disingenuous belief.

Bruce Charlton said...

@GG (and David again) - I am aware that conversion is always a complex and multi-causal phenomenon - but I am really delighted to have played some role in helping you both.

SonofMoses said...

Dear Bruce,
Your post is timely, since I’ve been wanting to acknowledge my continued avid readership, though I rarely try to publish comments. How many are like me? You probably don’t know.
Your contributions are of immense value, though I do not always agree with the line you take. Nonetheless, yours is one of the few places where the unfashionable obvious is stated time and again. It is remarkable and comforting (in the etymological sense) to receive on a daily basis lucid notes on the only issues that matter.
The comments are good too; serious and thoughtful from well-informed adult commenters.
In spite of the line you take here, I am not at all sure you are a traditionalist. I expect most traditionalists look askance at many of your interests, such as in William Arkle and the Mormons. But traditionalism is not enough. We are now in a new, largely unprecedented situation where previous formulations cannot fit the bill. We face a deadly tide of ugliness and lies rising to engulf us and all we value. Our common enemies have instituted a fight to the death, the death of all that is true, good or beautiful. Even communism had, on the surface at least, a constructive basis, following an unrealistic vision, but at least a vision. This present lot, however, shamelessly pursue the reduction of the glory of human life to a state of vile, ugly, boring weakness and inertia. In this situation a lone, reasonable voice is of enormous value in helping maintain hope and the memory of truth.
So, I mainly write to confirm a mainly silent audience of at least one, but probably many, many more. At some point these new ideas must take off, though this may happen long after the present jolly company has left this vale of swirling mists and confused struggle.

David said...

I wonder Bruce whether a post directed at recently converted or existing Christians, that outlines some suggestions/techniques to maximise our positive influence in the world, might be edifying?! Many of your posts are surgically price at delineating the problems of our current spiritual predicaments and the essential cure (Christian faith), but leave me feeling atomised (as in fairness you predict) and unable to really act in any way that will make any lasting impact at all. Like who to vote for in an inherently corrupt and futile political process, or whether to spoil the ballot, or to enter into some new ways of operating productively in a society and workplace where I find my colleagues openly declare "Religion is the root of all evil" as de facto truth, unapologetically and without potential for me to share my new faith without being ear-marked as a fringe lunatic if I even challenge them. Frustrating to say the least. I often feel like if I allow myself to be unbridled with honesty I will be soon out of work for taking the trouble to fight the machinations of an increasingly beaurocractic and destructive work culture that I entered specifically to help people I.e. nhs. I will not allow people to insult my faith unrebuked it rankles too much I find the more my faith grows. They are blithely attacking the things I love and value most.

Brett Stevens said...

The problem with dissidents of modernity is that they're neurotic because of the immense burden of being an outsider. Thus, it's like California: everyone has a new "cause" every other week. The result is very faddish... take for example the rapid rise and fall of the "Dark Enlightenment."

I do not argue against a religious basis to conservatism, but I think there needs to be a dynamic solution. Religion offers stability but not as much of a sense of people getting it together and forcing change on the world. It's too personal.

As to what that solution is, for me it has been a return to Platonic principles in conservatism. As BC will quickly note, this includes metaphysics but does not require it, however leans highly favorably toward it.

I have been reading books of modern people of high intelligence or ability and am amazed at how many of them report supernatural experience. It may be something that requires more intelligence to perceive... which is an argument in favor of Huxleyian monism.

I hope you continue your efforts, Bruce, because many of us although infrequent readers (and horrible correspondents and erratic commenters) find great meaning in your writing and pass it along, even if in lesser forms, toward the end of a cultural change wave.

A.M. said...

Not only does the media and other forces claim to know the cause of things, they also conveniently claim ignorance of facts that have been known for thousands of years so that either they can pretend to be innocent of the effects they are passively tolerating, or can later ascribe new truths to replace the actual ones.

We should be diligent about preventing revisionism of timeless truths and loudly critical of those who try these sleights of hand. If they become engrained, they will harm millions through forced ignorance and lies made acceptable through popularity.

Bruce Charlton said...

@AM - Very good point!

@Brett - It's Christianity or nothing, so far as I perceive. But probably nothing.

@David - I don't feel able to give advice of the kind you ask. It is just something that individuals might infer for themselves from the range of posts.

Love, Marry, Have Children, join a Christian church (especially CJCLDS) if there is one suitable (and you are the joining kind), Pray, Read, be quiet and solitary when possible, Meditate, find one or two like-minded people to talk with... stuff like that.

For me it is vital to seek and hold to warmth of heart and a child-like open-ness and simplicity. I recoil from the hardness and beady-eyed quality of most of the secular Right and indeed most real Christian churches - being anti-secular-Leftism is not enough - cold ultra-correctness is not the answer.

@SoM - I was only using 'traditionalist' in a loose way - mainly with reference to the sexual revolution. Mere Real Christian is the best I can do.

Anne said...

Have you thought of adding Disqus commenting? It makes life much easier.

I also allows readers to converse with each other.

The only way to go (I contribute to a political blog but I stop by here from time to time to read it.

Imnobody said...

Bruce, your blog has been a huge help for my return to Christianity. For this, I will be always grateful.

I am a brainy guy (which is a flaw and not a virtue). Current Christianity is full of appeals to emotion and authority, but it is hard for me to believe based on that.

I need arguments. I need to understand in a logical manner so I know I am not deluding myself.

Being an intellectual who has been atheist, your blog delivers that. Some of your posts are an important part of my worldview.

So, thank you very much, Bruce and please keep the good job for those of us who comment and for those of us who only read.

Bruce Charlton said...

Note to commenters - some of you seem to suppose that when I write posts such as the above this is because I personally am in a state in or near despair.

But, as of this writing, nothing could be further from the truth.

If you want a hint of my prevailing (although obviously not un-interrupted) state of mind then you could get an idea by reading Thomas Traherne's Centuries of Meditations.

Thus I am, and have been for some while, exceedingly hope-full and filled with grateful joy

- and I am *also* (orthogonally) very pessimistic about the future of Christianity *in this world* and over the coming weeks, months, years and decades.

However, my pessimism is NOT a product of despair, because (and I would not wish to tempt fate, because anything might happen at any time to test this) I am exceedingly fortunate in having been gifted (of late) with an abundance of joyous hope.

Adam G. said...

David, create beauty. Principally through family and friends and worship. Rejoice in the truth; it rings like a trumpet. Grow a garden. Smile.

It is true that we are surrounded by lunacy. By like a sane person in the Jerusalem of AD 70 or in the Paris Commune, our besiegers are themselves besieged.

Bonald said...

I've noticed this too. The Orthosphere fairly quickly reached around one thousand hits per day and has stayed at that level ever since, except for a couple of blips when a post was referred to by a higher traffic blog. Such events remind us how small our readership is compared even to secular nonliberal blogs and prove that most readers if exposed to us once will not feel the need to come back. The majority of our natural audience seems to have already found us. I am surprised to find that even fewer people seem to be interested in Christian reaction than secular reaction. After all, there are a lot of at least nominal Christians out there, and one would think that having one's religion be so openly hated by liberalism would push some of them in our direction. We also seem to be unable to influence more mainstream conservative writers, even to get them to argue against us or defend themselves from criticism from the right.

Of course, there's always the possibility that my colleagues and I just aren't doing a very good job of making our case compelling or interesting, but the fact that your traffic is not too much higher indicates to me that we're not far from the ceiling.

We haven't been around long enough to be able to gauge how the number of people willing to entertain Christian reactionary arguments is changing with time, but your impression that it's decreasing rapidly is distressingly plausible.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Bonald - "After all, there are a lot of at least nominal Christians out there, and one would think that having one's religion be so openly hated by liberalism would push some of them in our direction. "

Yes - it is exactly this kind of 'dog that does not bark' thing which makes me more worried than anything else in the world - it seems to imply that denial of spontaneous common sense which seems such a profound and hard-to-remedy form of (as always self-chosen) damnation -

When we can't even rely-on people selfishly to 'look after number one', then we know we are in deep deep trouble.

Adam G. said...

"there are a lot of at least nominal Christians out there,"

For a long time Americanization in this country worked like this: the elite institutions and cultural organs all taught that being American was unquestionably good and looked down on people or groups who were un-American in their race or ethnicity or religion. The result was that groups that were un-American in some ways worked extra hard to prove their Americanness in other ways (Mormons, Catholics, and immigrants, e.g.). A few fringe types fought back, but the real critics of Americanism were mostly insiders.

Liberalism works the same way. It is the dominant orthodoxy. So people who are already under a cloud for being Christian work extra hard to prove that they still belong.

Man is a social animal. It is very hard to face up to the fact that your herd is corrupt.

Adam G. said...

Another consideration is that the orthosphere is pretty intellectual. Most people, including most Christians, aren't. That right there severely limits our reach.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Adam - True enough - but I think the vague and only partially-formed hope (not expectation: but hope) was that a vigorous Christian blogosphere might play some role in evangelizing the elites - in helping trigger a Great Awakening among intellectuals which might provide a (net) positive top-down influence reverse and to counteract the (net) negative top-down influence of most of the past 200 years in the West.

Brett Stevens said...

@Bonald & @Bruce

It is for this reason I advocate a general direction of conservative values.

People need to take little steps, first toward practicality, then toward "the good, the beautiful and the true," then toward an awareness of what evil is, and finally toward a transcendent viewpoint.

The Orthosphere has already reached those that agree with it. Conservatism however is like a path, and once one embarks upon it, other things become clear. Before that point, one is not ready to understand them.

I think people believe they are looking out for number one. They perceive number one as their physical body in the immediate sense of comfort, desires, and feelings/sensations. They are yet unaware of the notion that ideas and actions have consequences, and we can maximize life beyond what is merely offered through convenience.

J. B. said...

Disappointing but not surprising. Like you, I am "pessimistic about the future of Christianity in this world and over the coming weeks, months, years and decades." But I hold out hope for a 'creative minority' of very dedicated Christians - even if it is as small as little circles of friends.

On that note, I have recently started blogging here:

Trying to be "a real Christian blogger." Much of what I write is inspired by, or even directly responding to, your writing, Dr. Charlton. So thank you!

Rich said...

Thanks as always, Bruce.

I've said it before but, I'd hate to miss an opportunity to say it again. Your writing is the primary driver behind my return to Christ. You have truly changed my life and quite possibly saved my soul. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Adam G. said...

The reason of man, like man himself, is timid and cautious when left alone, and acquires firmness and confidence in proportion to the number with which it is associated.
-James Madison

The Sanity Inspector said...

Points taken, but consider that blogging itself is in decline, as the audience for blogs consolidates around the big sites, and the small ones' traffic withers. Also other platforms are edging out blogs. No need to feel especially singled out.

Felipe said...

"I am surprised to find that even fewer people seem to be interested in Christian reaction than secular reaction."

Could you be specific about which secular reaction exactly you are talking about? Maybe some links?

Bruce Charlton said...

@F - Secular reaction means Secular Right/ Neo-reactionaries/ Dark Enlightenment/ Menious Moldbug-ites and the like.

Blue_Grandma said...

I am new to this blog, having been directed here by a post on my FB page. There are no letters after my name, and nothing more than an Associate Degree in English on my resume. But I deeply appreciate the ideas, concepts and insights I am receiving by being here. As a member of CJCLDS, I find your study and conclusions marvelously refreshing, as well as very thought-provoking. Thank you for your intellectual honesty and faith in Jesus Christ.