As I previously mentioned on Instagram, if Christians ever want to regain political influence in the world, we will need to start in the realm of culture. This thought occurred to me as I was listening to an episode of the New Discourses podcast by academic and author James Lindsay, who has become an outspoken critic of the modern Left’s march toward Marxism. In episode 16, Lindsay focuses on Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci, who realized that for Marxism to win politically communists would first need to undermine the cultural hegemony of the West, which for over a millennium was held to together by the Christian faith.
And this is exactly what has been done, as Christianity has been cast aside in the West in favor of secular humanism and Marxist theory is implemented in institution after institution at its expense.
Lindsay also argues that the original economic struggle emphasized by Marx has been discarded by modern Marxists in favor of an identity-based class struggle with a heavy emphasis on ethnic and sexual minorities. This mindset is now embedded everywhere in Western Culture, from comic-books to professional sports and in all levels of the public education system. And just like Gramsci predicted, Marxist political theory is now entrenched in the governments of the West as well.
This is why I say that there is no current political solution, because the political system that we have now is so compromised that the established methods for participating in it are all but theater. Any political position to the right of Mitt Romney is seen as coming straight out of 1930’s Germany and the only reason he is no longer demonized is that he stood up and yelled “Orange Man Bad!”
None of this is to say that traditional Christians and others on the Right should stick our heads in the sand or sit by idly and pretend nothing is happening while hoping for a divine miracle to rescue us. Some might point to Christ’s proclamation that He didn’t come to set up an earthly kingdom, but nowhere did He say that His followers should abstain from getting involved in political affairs in their own lands. Even Saint Paul embraced the political system and took his case all the way to Emperor in Rome, demanding to be tried as a Roman citizen.
Of course, there are other actions outside the voting booth that constitute political actions. But this is a dangerous path and once a man steps foot on that path he cannot turn back.
But it is clear, that at this moment in time, our political power is limited, and how we got here was by losing the culture.
So, the next question becomes, how do we win back the culture? But that isn’t the question we should be asking- we should be asking how we lost the culture in the first place. And the answer to that is because we lost our appeal.
The truth of the matter is that modern Christianity simply isn’t that appealing to the world. There are many reasons for this.
- The vast array of Christian denominations and beliefs- For over a thousand-years, there was one Christian church with a core set of beliefs. That all changed in 1054 AD with the split of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, even further worsened with the Protestant Reformation of the 1500s. Now, we have thousands of denominations, each claiming that their particular brand of the faith is the proper one. Unbelievers are certainly skeptical of a faith that can’t even get its message straight.
- In addition to abandoning the authority of a central church, the Reformation discarded thousands of years of tradition and ritual that are vital to the core aspects of Christian theology and worship. Most Protestants fail to understand the rich meaning behind how a believer is directed to worship God, focusing solely on developing their faith as some type of internal monologue with God centered on cycles of sin and atonement. Protestant Christian worship is now focused on music meant to stir one’s emotions and a motivational sales pitch disguised as a sermon.
- The late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries saw traditional Christian views of the nature of the world come into conflict with modern science and the faith as a whole did a poor job defending itself. From this period comes the split between fundamentalist and modernist interpretations of scripture, with the latter group following a downward trajectory into more liberal views on the faith. Those who hold traditional views on creation, gender, sex, and even medicine is seen as backwards, uneducated, and even bigoted, and the social pressure against them is intense.
- Most Protestant denominations tend to focus on a soft feminine version of the Christian faith, centered on the emotional aspect of God’s relationship to creation. Men aren’t necessarily excited by this, and modern churches make little effort to connect with men on their terms.
- Finally, Christianity has failed a great deal in its outreach to the world’s lost and oppressed people. In the early days of the Church, the religion thrived on recruiting the persecuted at the bottom of the social ladder to fill its ranks. Since coming to power, Christians have not always done the greatest job bringing the message of the Gospel to the people. At times, we’ve even brought genocide, slavery, and oppression to the world, and while the history behind those events is complicated, it’s fair to say that the ugly parts of Christian history are used against the faith.
This list isn’t necessarily exhaustive but consists of what I see as some of the main contributors to Christianity losing the culture wars. As in any battle, the enemy has a say, and the demonic forces of the world certainly have had tremendous influence in history. But so much of this is self-inflicted due to division and corruption within the church over time. In future essays I’ll address how we change some of these issues, but for now, the first acknowledgement that Christians need to make is that in order to affect the culture around us, we must first address our own.