01 January 2012

Constantine Can't Rescue Britain- 4

As Christians we've been taught to loathe multi-culturalism. Rather we should be all for such pluralistic understandings of society. Don't confuse theological pluralism which is to deny Christ with social pluralism. Many who are critical of what I'm saying make this error, sometimes deliberately, accusing Christians who argue for social pluralism of denying the exclusivity of Christ.

 Since the Kingdom of Christ is not of this world and we the citizens of the Kingdom must by necessity also dwell in earthly kingdoms the only type of society we would desire is one tolerant of pluralism, one committed to being composite rather than unified. This is the exact opposite position most Christians hold to these days.

Composite multi-cultural societies are more likely to eschew nationalism and be committed to both free speech and the free exercise of religion. Yes, the Muslims have their mosques, and the Hindus their temples.

Don't let any group (including Constantinians) concentrate power.

The World Wars put the United States on an expressway, a fast-track toward seeking a new social unity, a mandatory component for an imperial vision. For more than a hundred years America had been schizophrenic, a land of individualistic, anti-institutional, isolationist pioneers coupled with the purveyors of Manifest Destiny. The World Wars guaranteed the imperial vision would triumph and in time the Imperial Unity would swallow up the old values, mythologize them and incorporate them into the Sacral narrative.

One example, we end up with the modern phenomenon of ideologically individualistic anti-institutional people from Appalachia going off to fight in Imperial wars and consequently destroy other people's individualism and impose institutions on them...and because of the propaganda power of the narrative, they see no moral conflict, no irony in this.

Secular Sacralism has of course failed. Thankfully they all do, some just faster than others. In Europe issues like population density and immigration have accelerated the decline and pushed segments of society to the breaking point.

What vision will they now offer? Cameron wants a return to the values of Christendom. There will be few takers. It won't work anyway. Perhaps it can collectivize social energy and pour it into other activities?...public works like cathedrals? Wars like the Crusades? I doubt it very much.

So what's my answer? I don't have one. At least not a social model or tactic I can point to. Morality has to be rooted in something. Cameron wants it to be Christianity. Well, you can have something that's kind of like Christianity....minus the Holy Spirit, thus a counterfeit. Why would we want that?

The old Roman Republic had a stern morality, a work ethic, a non-materialist ideology. Hard times concretized this. But like the Puritans who warned of riches, their ideology made them rich, and fallen man never being content wants more...whether it's a shining city on a hill or one on seven hills...makes little difference. The stern frugality and ethic of Marcus Aurelius, Cincinnatus, or the two Cato’s, will always turn into the decadence of a Caligula, Nero, or Commodus.

As parents we can try to pass on our wisdom to our children. God willing they will get some of it. But in the end, some things have to be lived to be learned. Permissiveness, materialism, and gluttony may make a parent feel like they're doing well for their children, but they might as well fill their ears with lead. Your wise counsels will fall on deaf ears. In your zeal to make their lives better than what you had, you've made them unable to grasp the why or how.

Who said we should want our children's lives to be easy? There's a touching scene in The Education of Little Tree. The protagonist gives a poor sharecropper's little daughter a pair of moccasins. The father rejects the gift and beats his daughter. The grandfather talks about how the sharecropper knows he will be poor and knows the danger of his children wanting things. He talks about another farmer who beat his daughters for looking at a Sears catalog...wanting things they can't have. It's like he was beating the desire, the covetousness out of them.

I'm hardly saying I'm going to whip my children for wanting things, but there are many things in our culture today that even if I have the money...I don't want them to have. We constantly talk about the difference between need and want, necessity and desire. I don't think we're supposed to have it easy. There are times when it would sure be nice if things we're a bit easier, but I don't think as Christians we should be gauging success or even contentment by the world's standards. If we adopt the world's standards and then couple that with our own life-wisdom and think our children will be 18 year olds with that same formula, we're only kidding ourselves.

The so-called Greatest Generation (WWII and the Depression) did just that, and it has a reaped a whirlwind.

A practical solution....hard times. When American housewives think granite counter tops are a stupid waste, three bathrooms is insane, and kids having a television in their room is decadent...then society will have changed. An infusion of gluttonous imperial Christendom will not bring this about...it will take hard times to do that. Christian values will weather the storms a lot better, but in the United States, wanting the McMansion, four cars, a boat, and the $5 daily coffee are not viewed as being in conflict with Christian values...in fact the 'Christian' economic system brought this into being.

The problem is hard times...can be quite dangerous. But like it or not, I think we'll see them before this next generation has passed.

Am I insane? Why wouldn't I want society to return to Christian values?

Because there's no such thing. True Christian values and morality cannot be taught by state schools, nor can it be taught in unbelieving homes. Instead we'll have something like Christian values...a hollow shell.

At best you will have a society that has a form of godliness but denies the power thereof. Is that desirable or is that something we're supposed to turn away from?


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