Wednesday 24 June 2015

The engagement of Christian churches in modern 'ethical' policy debates is, I suspect, strongly counter-productive

When Christians appear in the major 'ethical' public debates of our time, they engage on the enemies ground, in a framework established by the enemy, and on the enemy's terms.

(The enemy being the mass media, as the primary fount and agent of the secular New Left agenda.)

I am thinking of the sexual revolution debates (extramarital sex combined with redefining marriage, abortion, redefining psychiatric sexual disorders as positive goods etc); and also the various 'medical' controversies on genetic testing and engineering, experiments on - and use of - human embryos and so forth.


What the public hears from Christianity on such matters is a bunch of knee-jerk fundamentalists who don't care about the sufferings of victims.

That is what they are hearing in all these instances, and that is all that they hear.

It is not what is being said, but it is what they hear.


There are two reasons for this - one superficial but significant, and the other one deeply significant and intractable.

The superficial one is that the mass media select, distort and lie about what Christians say, so as to paint them in the worst possible light.

The deeply significant reason is that even if Christians could get their true message across without the mass media filter - the general public still would not like it, indeed they would dislike it - because they are not Christians.

We live in a secular culture. Most people are not even nominal Christians,  most self-identified Christians are CHINOs (Christians in name only).

That is the problem, That is why there is a culture war.


So, really, what is the point in these Christian arguments in the public arena? If overall they are doing more harm than good? And surely that must be the right conclusion, given the way that the culture wars have gone?

So should Christians just give up?

Of course not. We should say no clearly and firmly, and reference it back to the fact that we are Christians; and make it clear that we will not cooperate with immorality, but will resist doing these bad things to the greatest extent of our power and will.

If - or when - the government (etc) tries to force us, we still won't do it unless really, really forced - and then only for so long as force is actively being applied. We will make things as difficult for them as possible, in as many ways as possible.

And we will continue to try to bring as many people as possible into Christianity - because that is the only way that anti-Christian policies can be fought: as they were successfully fought in the past.


There can be no real debate sans Christianity.

First Christianity, then we can have a real debate. 


The culture war can only (potentially) successfully be fought on Christian grounds, among Christians as it were - and that is where we should fight it: at the point where the culture impinges on Christians.

If there are not enough Christians, or they are too weak, then Christians might well lose.But really stubborn Christians (like the Amish wrt compulsory education) have pretty-much won some of these battles, even when in a tiny and powerless minority.

The culture war cannot be fought at its source, because the source is not Christian: conflicts against much larger and better armed forces should be fought by defending the citadel, not by set battles out on the open plain nor by attacking the enemy's castles.


[The other thing is that these debates are just so boring - aren't they? Any excuse not to engage in them is welcome.]


JP said...

conflicts against much larger and better armed forces should be fought by defending the citadel

How do you defend the citadel when the officers in our army - those who should be leading the defense - are traitors, actively aiding and abetting the enemy and opening the gates to the enemy?

Bruce Charlton said...

@JP - I madea similar point in Thought Prison

Characteristics of a new secular nationalism
Since the modern elite or ‘officer class’ is truly, madly, deeply politically correct; if a nationalism were to arise (which seems unlikely) it would need to originate from and be led by the tradesman class – or, to put it another way, the Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) class: that is to say a nationalism led by the Sergeants and Corporals; and not by the Majors and Captains.
All else being equal, under normal circumstances, an army led by Officers will be much more effective than an army led by NCOs.
But, it could be argued, these are not normal circumstances.
The modern situation in the West resembles that of a city under siege.
The city is threatened by an expanding parasite class (‘sturdy beggars’, or the ‘undeserving poor’ as GB Shaw termed them), by riots within and by the enemy without.
However, the Officers have become decadent.
The Officers find-uncouth, are-bored-by, scared-of, and have indeed come to loathe the NCOs and squaddies of their own city.
(Noblesse oblige is a thing of the past, and socialism has long-since rejected its working class roots in favour of a ‘rainbow coalition’ of parasitic, underclass and designated-victim groups.)
Periodically, groups of indigents approach the besieged city gates.
Some are hopeless cases - displaced peasants from the surrounding area; some are shrewd merchants and traders from here and there - keen to work hard and make some money; some are petty criminals - others are not-so-petty criminals: gangsters and assorted thugs, thieves and beggars.
And some of the indigents at the gate are enemy fifth columnists - who intend at some point in the future to inflict violence and mayhem to aid the besiegers and take-over the city.
But whoever the indigents are, and whatever their intention, the Officers invariably feel sorry for them (sorrier than they do for their own NCOs and squaddies, or for the indigenes of the city); and so always let them all come through the gates and into the city (because to do otherwise would be to commit the ultimate and unforgiveable sin of discrimination); and direct the NCOs to make sure the new arrivals are well taken care of - by allocating them a generous share of the NCO and squaddies’ rations and living quarters.
And within the cities own indigenous population are large mobs of sturdy vagrants who are either too feckless to be of any use, or simply refuse to help with the defense of the walls (the parasitic sturdy beggars and underclass).
These muggers, robbers, beggars and barflys roam around fighting, having parties and looting. The NCOs are not exactly forbidden to intervene, but will be harshly punished if they transgress any of the very strict (and continually changing) rules of engagement. So the underclass are left alone to do their business.
On orders from the Officers, these sturdy vagrants receive a daily dole of bread and beer – also taken from the NCO and squaddies’ supplies.
This situation of the Officers robbing the NCOs and squaddies to reward outsiders and vagrants is roughly (and in a purely materialist sense - which leaves-out the vital spiritual and religious dimension) the situation of the modern West.
Secular nationalism is (at minimum) an attempt to make effective the defense of the city - first to stop admitting, then to expel, outsiders, fifth columnists and parasites; and to suppress internal disorder.
But the Officers will not do this, and will indeed try to prevent it.
So, if the city has not fallen first (and that is a big 'if') then at some point, perhaps, there may be an NCO mutiny - and the army will be taken-over and run by the senior sergeants.
Because a city will be better defended by an army led by loyal NCOs, than by an army led by traitorous Officers.


Bruce Charlton said...

Continued -

If this kind of secular nationalism happens as a reaction against ‘the treason of the clerks’, then it would surely, necessarily, be accompanied by a powerful anti-Officer campaign - during which Officers would be purged from all significant positions of leadership - and replaced by Sergeants.
The outcome would be a pretty shambolic army, or society. Yet it would not have to be well-organized; only well-enough-organized to defeat the forces which oppose it.
If nothing else happens first, at some point in the cultural decline that is political correctness the point will be passed at which a nationalist NCO-led army will be more effective than an army led by anti-nationalist Officers.

Yet before this happens, it may well be that the city will fall to the enemy; and instead of being run by an NCO army of the indigenous population, the city will instead be taken-over by an Officer-led army of invaders.