04 August 2011
Sacralism and the state of things Part 2- Of course the Norway killer was a Christian...at least the way Sacralism defines it
There are strong Romantic sentiments reigning within Christian circles today. They glory in the heritage of Christendom, the West.
Upon closer examination they would truly find that much of what they love is really not ancient but only as old as the 19th century. And the 'Christian' culture they venerate was naught but a veneer and one easily broken in the 20th century by a variety of forces. The 21st century is proving to be an era of payback and backlash. The people (the lost) who for so long were oppressed by this power...which both secularism and Sacralism wrongly define as Christian... are rising up and we're entering into an era of retribution and reprisal. Obviously the homosexuals are leading the charge at the moment. It will pass, but not anytime soon.
The early Christians recognized homosexuality to be an abominable sin and though it was prevalent in their society felt no need to assert themselves politically to that end. I realize they wouldn't have a venue to do so until Constantine, but you don't find anything like, "when we're in charge, we're going to clean up the Roman Empire." Not at all. In fact it was worse then. You had several Roman Emperors who were openly homosexual or at least openly bisexual. And yes, they used tax money to promote not only their bloody destructive wars but to promote the pagan and imperial cults, and in some cases to subsidize perverse art, like Hadrian putting up statues of his homosexual partner all over the empire. Imagine that today. While this is also part of the Western heritage, they will disavow this era because it was pre-Constantine. The problem is historically and socially you can't disavow it. The Constantinian, Carolingian, and in fact the whole story of the West rests heavily on Greco-Roman heritage...you can't start the clock in the 4th century. You can't ignore the millennium prior to late antiquity....it's all part of the story. Art, music, architecture, concepts of state and kingship, law and war all went through processes of 'christian' sacralization, but this process was heavily dependent on the pagan sacralization which preceded it. Christendom is not pure, not Christian, it never was nor can it ever be.
One will find even the Romanticized Middle Ages were not very pure and there were things going on in the 18th century that were pretty shocking even by today's standards. The Bourbon Court and the aristocracy in general (Protestants included) often led pretty debauched lives. There were social forces at work that led to revival of morality in the 19th century. Not necessarily Christian, it operated within a Constantinian framework and was riddled with double-standard and hypocrisy.
They romanticize these days by fawning over 19th century authors like Jane Austen. Aside from the fact that Austen and others like her focus mostly on the aristocratic class given to leisure, they often miss that these authors were subtly critiquing the social systems of their day. And even when it is not overt on the part of the author, a discerning Christian should be able to read these books and determine...the Christianity of that day was a travesty not something to be celebrated. I've written about these things in earlier posts.
While Austen is worthy of consideration, these same Sacralists are less keen to read Dickens or Hardy....writers that were critiquing the society of their day, exposing these double-standards and injustices...often protected by the Christian establishment. Were they anti-Christian? Sure. But one wonders if they ever even encountered true Christianity. They lived in a world in which it was omnipresent, but could scarcely be found. The life of the average person (which Austen wasn't writing about) was often unpleasant. Sacralists want to ignore that....as they do with the poor and other unpleasant social issues today...and instead focus on High Tea, picnics, and trips to the seashore....and of course the proverbial ball.
Were those days more polite? Certainly. And that's what we need right?...a return to godly society to restore manners. Wilberforce's dream. However it just doesn't hold water. Many other peoples have produced societies that are respectful and well-mannered while having absolutely nothing to do with Christianity. The Romans, Chinese, Japanese, even modern and very secular Europe are more polite and respectful than our Christian America. I always think of the Olympics. The American athletes are loud, brazen, obnoxious, crowding the camera yelling, "Number one baby!" while athletes from other countries are restrained and respectful.
Ever heard of Imperial Hubris, or the social gluttony it produces? Empire isn't very Christian and hardly produces Christian virtue. And while the British of the Regency and Victorian eras were very polite to each other...if the other happened to be a member of their class....they were expanding their empire through bloodshed around the globe. I'm sure Indians, Malaysians, Kenyans, and ahem...Colonial Americans were not terribly impressed with their polite society. That's not an endorsement for revolution, rather a comment on the veneer like quality of Christian Sacralist society. All Sacralisms produce this. Confucianism and Roman Republicanism produced very orderly and respectful societies...that were also filled with brutality at home and abroad and riddled with hypocrisy and double standard.
Sacralism doesn't breed politeness. If it does, it's under threat. You will love your neighbour or else.....
Now the killer in Norway is certainly no Christian Fundamentalist. That was an unfortunate statement made by a police official that the media was obligated to accurately quote. But they have quickly distanced themselves from it acknowledging that it's not accurate to call this rather secular man a Fundamentalist.
But is he Christian in some sense?
Evangelicals have been quick to stress that he's not. No personal relationship with Christ, doesn't attend Church etc....
And of course they're right. He's not Christian at all.
But wait a minute. How is it then that Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and so many other figures from the past are reckoned Christian? What's the criteria? They were...Western. They stood for Western values. And thus by Sacralist definitions...they're Christian.
But Breivik the Norwegian killer isn't?
One Evangelical leader rightly said...he's not a Christian, he's a European Nationalist.
That's accurate. That's what Breivik is. He defines Christianity in terms of a cultural tradition. The kingdom is defined in terms of civilization. And like the Crusader, the Templar he desires to be in his manifesto, he believes it's right to take up the sword to defend and build the kingdom through bloodshed. That's the Sacralist-defined kingdom, not the Kingdom of Christ.
But now crossing the sea we find many American 'christians' who seem to define the kingdom in the same way Breivik does. In fact they too praise the same things, even the same Crusaders.
But then when they're presented with an example of kingdom building via bloodshed they are very quick to distance themselves from it. Why? Don't they realize what Breivik did in Oslo and on the island is no different than what the knights of the 1st Crusade did when they entered Jerusalem? It sick but rather savvy of him to recognize the nature of the problem as defines it. His issue isn't so much with the brown people...but the traitors who let them in and betrayed the Western heritage.
Isn't most of the American Christian Right's anger directed at those on the 'left' rather than the actual Mexicans or Muslims they despise? Just as Manichaean was the label applied to all that was heretical, evil, and anti-social in the Middle Ages...doesn't the label of 'Liberal' fill the same role today?
These Sacralist christians seem just as keen to promote Nationalism and War. If Breivik is a European Nationalist, and not a Christian than what should we think of....
Chuck Colson, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, Cal Thomas, Albert Mohler, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, Jim DeMint, George Bush, Gary North, and so many more?
Because if Breivik is not a Christian, I'm not sure where that leaves these folks. Because to lesser and greater degrees they stand for, promote, and fight for the same things that Breivik was willing to kill for. And let's be honest the folks on this list have no problem with bloodshed for the 'holy nation' and its 'holy cause'....they just want it sanitized. Men in flag adorned uniforms, men pressing buttons from high altitude, etc....as if that somehow legitimizes it or makes it less evil. Apparently a suit of plate mail and a shield with a cross on it made Medieval wars legitimate...even good.
Violence is the prerogative of the state they would say, not the individual. But if the states actions are based on heresy, then those who approve it and validate are just as guilty as the 'legitimate' individual who commits the act. In Christian terms Breivik is a heretic...an ultra-nationalist, correct? That de-legitimizes his actions. But if the state embraced his same heresy and he put a 'legitimate' uniform on....is it then okay?
It seems like there were some men at Nuremberg who also thought this way.
The Right is on the rise both in Europe and the United States. They can whine all they want, but the Obama presidency has been pure gold for the Right Wing in the United States. They have scare-mongered and the uncertainty and fear has proved very lucrative for Right-wing authors and gun sales.
They don't stand for the things Breivik stands for. Really? Take a look at this link....I stumbled on this blasphemous and evil website while visiting Gary DeMar's 'American Vision' website. For those unfamiliar with it, he's a popular Theonomist and like others of that stripe they often mask what their true doctrine and intentions are. DeMar himself and others affiliated with him have produced numerous books, many of which are quite popular among Christian homeschoolers. I was quite surprised one day to see his books on government on the kitchen table of a relative of mine who at the time homeschooled. If my Arminian Dispensationalist relative knew that DeMar was a Theonomic Postmillennialist, she probably wouldn't have been very keen to use his materials but they do an excellent job promoting their works, without disclosing what they're about and really believe, and consequently over the past 30 years have virtually taken over Evangelical circles. Francis Schaeffer did a fantastic job. He definitely inspired a generation to take action.
Take a look around the link and tell me that this site and American Vision which linked to it aren't cut from the same fascist cloth that we see with Breivik.
Not everyone is fully initiated into the intricacies and nuances of their theology, but Dominionism is now the default theology of the Evangelical mind. Or as one put it recently....Transformationalism is the New Orthodoxy.
It's true. If you don't stand for it, you will quickly find yourself outside the Church. Don't be surprised if you find yourself with no local church...it will only worsen until people start to wake up to this.
Some on the left have identified Dominion Theology as fascist and accused prominent Christian leaders of this tendency. They're correct. Breivik simply acted out the ramifications of their message. The fact that his actions were based on a secular worldview doesn't matter. Sacralism is all about form anyway. Breivik understands this. The issue to him is not about the 'personal relationship' with God...it's about the form of civilization, Civil Religion.
He praises Geert Wilders in Holland who many identify as a fascist. If you listen to Wilders he sounds very much like a young Austrian did about ninety years ago named Adolf Hitler. Just substitute Muslim for Jew and it's pretty similar. The very popular Christian Radio Programme CrossTalk often hosted by the very respected Christian Nationalist Ingrid Schlueter praises Wilders and considers him to be some kind of martyr for the Christian Remnant in Europe.
I'm not insinuating that CrossTalk or Gary DeMar want to go on a murderous rampage, but I am suggesting their ideas largely coincide with what is rightly identified as Fascism in Europe. For the most part these people have deceived themselves and are blind to what they are doing. They certainly don't want to promote murder...but it won't be too surprising when someone takes action based on the logical conclusions of the 'vision' they promote.