Tuesday 8 July 2014

Christian aspirations - micro-living


The previous posting about Christian theocracy highlights how vanishingly-unlikely such a thing is - which means that therefore Christians will continue for the present to inhabit a secular Leftist society, until it collapses  - which it inevitably shall, from whatever combination of suicide and self-loathing and assisted or passively-accepted take-over by whatever (non-Christian) group that is able to muster the will and organization.

(With, no doubt, Christians being blamed for the collapse. Christians are at the bottom of the pecking order in the blame game. Leftists blame Christians for everything bad that happened in the past and for opposing the sexual revolution in the present. Secular neo-reactionaries and Dark Enlightenment types blame Christianity for Leftism.)

But, here and now, how can a Christian live in a society where bad is labelled as good; where ungliness is promoted as art, as beautiful; where virtue is vilified as evil; where hatred is regarded as tolerance; where gross lying, spin and falsehoods are mandatory beliefs and there are severe punishments for speaking or writing truths?

How can a Christian live? Only in some kind of micro-life - only in some kind of internal exile - only by a profound psychological detachment from the mainstream - only be accepting powerlessness and low status; because the price of power and status is active and frequent endorsement of lies, ugliness and vice.

Christianity is now counter-cultural; and like all real counter-cultures, that means it is small, weak, precarious - and appears dumb, crazy or wicked to the mass majority culture.

To dwell, mentally and physically, inside such a culture is an exercise in micro-living.



Anonymous said...

To me there are strong parallels between the Roman society early Christians lived in and western society today. An undisputed military and cultural hegemon, with the upper classes consumed by hedonism and sexual perversion and the lower classes beaten down and exploited.

The Roman Empire should have lasted forever, but it didn't, because it was rotten. Apart from dying of its own rot it was overthrown from below by people seeking meaning and value in a new way of life.

Official Christianity is part of the problem but unofficial Christianity may yet provide people with an existential alternative.

Bruce Charlton said...

@dl - I'm afraid I don't see the parallel.

The Christians grew exponentially (partly by conversion, but substantially by superior reproductive success) to take-over the Roman Empire with Constantine - after which the capital was relocated to the newly built capital of Constantinople - where the Empire survived for another 1000 years.

Rodney Stark has pointed out that the growth of Mormonism closely parallels the early growth of Christianity both numerically and in terms of mechanism - but this time in a much more populous world - so it is hard to imagine Mormons taking over "the US Empire" from weight of numbers in 120 years.

Or maybe it isn't too hard to imagine (if the Empire is still going) - since the Mormon elite doubles in size each generation (about four children per woman), while the non-Mormon elite halves (about one child per woman).

knifecatcher said...

If another great war should devastate civilization, the destruction of cities, dissemination of poverty and the disgrace of science may leave the church, as in 476 AD, the sole hope and guide for those who survive the cataclysm.
-Will Durant

Bernard Brandtt said...

Perhaps a synonym for "micro-living" would be "monasticism".

In the West, groups consciously got together, under leaders such as Ss. Augustine or Benedict, to live such lives outside of the purview of the corrupt leadership of the time.

And in the Egyptian East, monks would live alone for most of the week, only to gather on the Lord's day to worship together. I suspect that the Eastern model might be adapted to modern lay life.

We might have to.

Mark Citadel said...

In the event of a future catastrophe (which we seem to be spiraling towards), I see a real possibility of the USA dissolving. Mormons have their geographical location, so they would probably be for secession and self-government.

Nicholas Fulford said...

Try the monastic or isolated community approach. The first worked for Thomas Merton, and the second works for the Amish.

There are more alternatives than staying jacked into the cultural Matrix - your choice.

Bruce Charlton said...

wrt monasticism, a few years ago I used to think this might emerge - and explored the parallels with the dark ages.

But in actual fact, it isn't happening in The West - probably because the parallel between our situation and the decline of the Western Roman Empire is not valid.

Monasticism has been thriving in Russia and Romania - but there it is supported by the Orthodox state - which is different.

George Goerlich said...

"We are living in an un-Christian society, in a new paganism. The temptation today for the clergy is to adapt to the new world to the new paganism, to be collaborationists. We are in a similar situation to the first centuries, when the majority of the society was pagan, and Christianity was discriminated against."