31 December 2011

Constantine Can't Rescue Britain- 3

Unity, the essence of Sacralism

Sadly, Britain has not abandoned the Sacral model, instead largely substituting a Secular Sacralism...oh yes, it's quite possible. Secular Sacralism is nothing more than the seeking of a secular unity, a secular utopia. Sacralism casts society in theological terms. With secularism it's a closed universe rejecting the idea of revelation, so it's not theology in a proper sense. But even secularism must account for metaphysical issues like ethics.

It has a creation narrative, an eschatology (the goal) and a soteriology (how to get there)... secularism is perfectly able to shape its own ideas in this regard. The key is all Sacralisms are committed to forging a social unity. There can be diversity within the Unity, but everyone MUST embrace certain values and goals.

As Christians, we don't want any type of Sacral society, apart from the Church itself.
Much of Europe though secular, toned this way down after the World Wars. It was still there, but most of society was pretty disgusted with all the Unity-schools, worldviews that present a comprehensive social agenda...Fascism, Communism, even some forms of Capitalism and Imperialism.  Nationalism often the main vehicle, the main unifier allowing Sacralism to work even fell somewhat into disfavour.

No small irony....Europe itself sort of became the new vision, though now put to the test....no one is quite sure what Europe really means and politically the European Union (the EU) is in danger of collapse. Germany more or less sits on the fiscal throne and is in a position (through the Euro) to dominate the politics of the EU, especially the states that are struggling. Everyone's head is spinning and they must now face a real existential crisis. If the EU was created to make sure the World Wars could not happen again...and to undo the type of harm wrought by Germany....how is it that 67 years later, Germany is poised to claim the position of ascendancy? They're asking themselves, were all the post-war plans and machinations, decades of diplomacy and planning, for this? A German victory? Admittedly not the Third Reich, but who would have signed on to a project that decades later would give Germany power over other European nations?

The demographic and social changes in Europe are driving some (the Right) to re-embrace and enhance the Sacral vision. Today's Right in Europe means immigrants MUST accept things like homosexual rights, religious pluralism and so forth. It's a mix of good and bad, but it turns very ugly in places like Germany where the Unity-doctrine (though not identified in this way, that's what's happening) has reached the point where they are cracking down on people like home schoolers. They don't want social nonconformity, a sub-class rejecting the Unified vision of their Secular Sacralism. They're afraid of Islamists and now after the shooting in Norway, all governments are afraid of violent extremism from the Right.

Christians in the United States decry this, but again as I've written elsewhere...if they had control I don't believe they would allow anti-Christian and anti-Constantinian groups to home school or private school their children. Suddenly they would see the threat to the Unity very clearly and take similar action.

Even with the collapse of European Sacralism in 1945, Europe is still searching for the Unity, something early America was not conscious of and interestingly was despised by European observers for its disjointed and disunited society. At the time the Disunity was embraced by the Church. Even Sacralist institutions like the Presbyterian Church actually changed their Confessions to recognize the new reality. An uncomfortable reality for both Sacralist historians and strict subscriptionists. The words changed, but once political power and the vision of Empire caught on...the ideas took root once more.

Multiculturalism a threat to Sacralism, a friend to Two Kingdom theology

Can Multiculturalism be the basis for a new Sacralism? Yes and no. It depends what is meant by this. Generally speaking for obvious reasons multi-culturalism is anti-unity...and thus anti-sacral. But for some Secular Sacralists (trying to build a Brave New Utopia) they use multiculturalism as a tool (a tactic) to deconstruct competing Sacralisms. They might appeal to Muslims and Hindus present in the culture as a way of softening Christian Sacralism, but in the end they will also war against the Muslims and Hindus. It's all a matter of timing. Given the chance they will work at deconstructing the traditional values those cultures still hold, that's their overall goal. If asked they plainly would overturn the patriarchal structures and traditional values of all religion dominated cultures. But they're not going to do it in the face of unrest, or if there is the possibility that their actions might be perceived as being in concord with the agenda of Christian Sacralism. The camps are in competition, they don't want to help another system.

This back and forth is probably a bit more pertinent in the United States where there is a real struggle. In Britain, secularism has been in the ascendancy for some time. Cameron may wish to turn back the clock. He might see the present crisis as a point of entry for a new social agenda, or he may be testing the waters, or even trying to stir the pot a bit...to see if others will start to speak and get the ball rolling as it were.

Some on the political Right would blame the immigrants for the fall of Christian Sacralism, especially in a society like Britain. True, Christian Sacralism has been dulled. Why? For the reasons mentioned above in some cases, but often, its pragmatism, an attempt to assuage a growing threat of social unrest.

The immigrants themselves cannot be blamed for either secularization or the collapse of morality in society. More often than not they represent a more conservative social morality than most Westerners. Hooligans, drunkenness, and anti-social behaviour cannot be attributed to hijab wearing Muslims and Shiva loving Brahmins. That is it can't be attributed to their culture. If Muslim youth have turned to anti-social behaviour, either hooliganism or even extremism, it's not because they're emulating Muslim values, it's because they've been disenfranchised, disengaged from society. Rejected, they (practically speaking) embrace a criminal ethic. Law has no meaning. From their perspective it doesn't aid or protect them, it only persecutes them...for some breaking the law is as much about defiance and non-conformity as it is about theft or vandalism. Though living in English neighbourhoods they feel like they're Out-laws. Not necessarily criminals, but not invested in the society, part of its structure, it's law...its administration.

For those like the Florida Family Association that believe all Islam is violent and extremist don't know their history or geography very well. Using similar arguments it could be said Christianity is violent, extremist and certainly guilty of a multitude of wars. If the Islamic world has become more radicalized in the recent generation...we would be fools to not ask why? Why is Salafism gaining ground in Sufi societies? To draw a Christian parallel...it's like Quakers and Mennonites turning into Timothy McVeigh's, and Jerry Boykin's. This happens for a reason. It's a reaction to something. It needs to be investigated and discussed honestly...something Christian Sacralism is ideologically opposed to.

Secular Sacralism is trying to invest these socially conservative immigrants into society, and then later eradicate all aspects of their religion which clash with secular values. Christian Sacralism antagonizes them and wants to keep them outside of the social framework. The only way they can become invested is to abandon their Islam or Hinduism and take their place as model minorities.

Admittedly, forming a true composite multicultural society by necessity changes  a culture. It's understandable that Nationalists balk at this. It's understandable that lost people are distraught at the thought. But why would Christians be bothered? What drives the anxiety? Should it really matter to us? Has the Church misunderstood its place and relation to society? Has the Church made an idol out of culture?

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