Sunday, April 24, 2022

Deism: The Great Religious Reordering Of The West

The West is in the midst of the greatest religious reordering since Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in 1517. At the time that Luther asked those questions the church in Rome held totally domination over Christendom. Straying from declared orthodoxy could be and often was lethal. Once the fuse was lit in 1517, nothing could stop it. The end result was a massive schism in the Christian faith in the West rivaled only by the Great Schism between West and East in 1054. Some of Europe remained Roman Catholic while other parts became Protestant. What you were depended mostly on where you lived. Many of the political boundaries and wars in Europe can be directly traced to which religious tradition a nation followed.

In the United States we saw the first attempt to blend European ethnic and religious groups, mostly with success although it took a long time. My Polish father marrying my Irish mother caused some grumbling in both families but by the time I was a teen and young adult those ethnic differences didn't mean as much. Apart from recent immigrants you are hard-pressed to find an ethnically pure White person in America, most of us are a blend of various European ancestry. 

For most of the history of the United States, our people were marked by their religiosity if not their devotion. In general that public religiosity has been some form of cultural Christianity, Roman Catholic or Protestant. There have always been outliers, Eastern Orthodox in ethnic enclaves or the smaller sects like Quakers and the various Anabaptists such as Amish and Mennonites. Jews have been here for a long time in small numbers and Muslims have increasingly become part of the religious tapestry but mostly the religious conversation in America is culturally Christian. Easter and Christmas are big holidays with Christian connections (yes I know that there is some dispute over that). If you wanted to be President you usually had to show at least some level of public religious devotion. This chart shows the religious backgrounds of Presidents through 2009. 


Trump is listed elsewhere as a "Protestant" but I have always found his newfound religious faith very suspect. Of 46 U.S. Presidents only three have had no formal religious affiliation: Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. That is interesting in that two of the those are some of the most famous Presidents in our nation's history, having their own monuments and are featured on Mt. Rushmore. 

But a change is brewing in American religious landscape and it will deeply impact our public life. I saw this tweet the other day....


One million members probably equates to a few hundred thousand actual active members who attend church more than on Christmas and Easter. 

Mainline Christianity is nearly dead in America and yet that is the affiliation of most Americans, especially most Presidents, for most of our history. It played an enormous role in our political process. The Episcopal Church was once known as the Republican Party at prayer, that is the GOP was the East Coast, WASP, well to do party while the Democrats were the ethnic Catholic working class. 

Today things are completely different. In a recent post, The Dissident and the Christian, The Zman made this statement...

It is fair to say that this is the worst time for Christians and Christianity in the West since the Roman empire. In order to promote equality, liberal democracy has created protected classes of people who cannot be criticized. The other side of this are people who must me mocked and ridiculed. Christians were the first group placed in this category and remain the popular object of ridicule in the West. There is no prohibition against overt hatred of Christians in most Western countries.

But then he makes this point.

It is not all bad news for Christianity. The faithful are slowly realizing that for their faith to survive this age, it must live outside this age. Christians are reverting to what all persecuted minorities must do. They are learning to live in the shadows and think of themselves as the outsider. 

This is something I wrote about a lot on my old blog. The Christian faith is not really designed for comfort and power, it was in the beginning an outcast, persecuted faith. At some point the Christians stopped being the persecuted and took over the halls of power, in turning becoming the persecutor. Most of the Christian martyrs in Europe were murdered by others claiming to be Christians. The church in Europe and North America bears little resemblance to the church of the first few hundred years. However, as the marginally believing church members drift away and being a Christian carries with it some real social cost, what remains of the church will be far stronger. 

This can have a profound impact on the world of dissident politics. Again from The Zman...

This presents a challenge and an opportunity in dissident politics....

....there is a slow rapprochement between the secular dissidents and the growing number of dissident Christians. The former is coming to understand the defining role not just of belief but of structured rational belief. The latter is coming to terms with the reality of their situation. For the West to survive and resurrect itself after the horrors of liberal democracy, it will need a new set of core beliefs, based in the old ways shaped by the experience of the crisis.

For me as a former Christian who still deeply believes in a Creator, this gives me a lot of hope. 

I still see far too much religious squabbling among the dissident right, especially on Gab where you can still call someone a faggot. Many Deus Volt Christians scorn the "pagan unbelievers" on the dissident right while some of those who are more like me on the spectrum of faith distinct from organized religion, whether deists or pagans or agnostics, call dissident Christians slurs like "Christ-cucks". It is incredibly counter-productive and I assume many of those who are doing this are either Leftists with sock puppet accounts or Feds. 

Without the support of the powers that be in society, *actual* Christians are going to be out in wilderness. They will find many other marginalized dissident groups out there. They will have a choice to either be willing to accept our differences and work together for the survival of our people or see themselves wiped out, often by non-Whites who claim to be of the same faith.

In no way am I suggesting that dissident Christians compromise their faith, simply to recognize that our people must band together if we are to survive the great winnowing that is coming. As a people we share a common enemy and for the sake of our people we must work together despite our differences. The great religious reordering of the West makes this a priority for the future.
 

10 comments:

  1. Thoughtful post, and I concur. Thank you.

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  2. One big problem has been that the church has become of this world. That's at least a part of the decline. Who needs to go to church to have LGBT+ crammed down their throats?

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    1. That has been true for much longer than the current situation, I would and have argued that it went astray when the church yoked itself to the state under Constantine.

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  3. It is true, as you cite, that the "mainline Protestant church" is doing a fast disappearing act. I don't think, however, that we're seeing the actual Church, the communion of all believers in Jesus, get smaller. I think, as one of my heroes, C.S. Lewis, suggested, that what we're seeing is just how small the real Church always has been.

    If what I believe is true, that poor puny little real Church is maintained by the power of God, and will abide to the end. Underground and ridiculed, for sure; and actual persecution -- the sort that sheds blood, not just costs jobs -- is probably coming soon. But, as the Lord told Paul, "My power is perfected in weakness."

    I do volunteer work with a group of retired geezer guys like me who are mostly Catholics; and handful of us are Protestant. And what I see is that the Catholics who are most deeply Catholic and the Protestants who are most thoroughly convinced of their position get along with each other just fine. It's the pretend-believers, whose "religion" is just that -- fundamentally a cultural thing -- who despise each other, and, in some circumstances, maybe kill each other.

    Bottom line: we're seeing the Church stripped of the cultural types. And what's left will have a very large overlap with the dissident right. Both are accustomed to swimming against the current.

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    1. That is all true. The "visible" church has never been a very representative picture of the actual church. Even as a pastor I ran into a lot of people who were Christian in name only, even if they attended church every week.

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    2. Wheat/Chaffee...sifting required...
      As a later in life convert to Christ, I'm painfully aware of my personal, human sin nature, and struggle daily, if not often hourly...minute-ly...second-ly and *know* only by Grace, that I've got a better future than this pitiful worldly life...

      Always knew there was a Creator, but it took Him to flip the switch and really reveal Himself to me in no uncertain terms...i believe in that moment i went from knowing a bit about. Him to *knowing* Him on a level that i can no longer hide from or deny...
      I believe most people suffer due to a normalcy bias in the Church, going thru the motions because they really haven't seen their own depths of dark depravity, and therefore don't really appreciate what He has to offer...

      I'm still interested in chatting these things over with ya whenever you get a chance...

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    3. Richard Gilbert... I can't seem to manage to post here w/o it going anonymous...

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  4. The Church has been disemboweled by government over reach. Preaching about politics was banned decades ago. Since then we have managed to use the separation powers to fully eject Christian beliefs from our government and our economy. It is no wonder that this government and economy have turned sour under the tutelage of the unholy deniers of Christ. If you think it was by accident you are not paying enough attention.

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    1. I doubt anyone reading here doesn't understand that this was not an accident.

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  5. We’ll give land to the niggers and the chinks, but we don’t want the IRISH…

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