Conservatives are currently playing defense in American society. Draconian COVID-19 lockdowns, an overzealous justice system taking political prisoners, multinational corporations and the CIA forcing a woke alphabet of nonsensical drivel down our throats — the list goes on. To use some Twitter lexicon: Conservatives are down bad.
As has been historically wont to happen when your movement faces such a dismal losing streak, we are seeing a cadre of well-educated, intelligent, and able (but marginalized) outcasts and nihilists spilling much ink bemoaning the loss of American (read: Christian) morals and values as if there’s nothing to be done about it. In the midst of the current rift growing between “establishment” conservatives and “nationalist” ones, there’s a deeper division groaning and cracking under the surface — specifically, between red-pilled Christian optimists who see Christ’s return as a glorious victory, and black-pilled, non-Christian pessimists who encourage the decline of the regime to bring about a new structural order.
The Weimar Republic had Oswald Spengler, Il Duce’s Italy had Julius Evola, and post-Christian America is no exception, with its cast of Ivy league-educated, Nietschze-reading, misfit characters dedicated to the acceleration of perceived American decline.
As Christians, we are called to steer clear of earthly tribalism not founded in the instructions of God’s word (Rom 16:17; 1 Cor 12:25; Jude 1:19). Unfortunately, an unnerving trend is afoot to pull well-meaning Christians drawn by great architecture, aesthetics, and fitness-posting (among other things) into the dark underbelly of post-Christian, right-wing philosophy. None of these cultural preferences on their own are bad, but in the same way that sex, owning property, and other objects are not inherently sinful — we are (Rom 5:12, 1 John 1:8-10, Isa 59:2). Precisely because we see many of the same problems as those in the post-Christian right, complacent Christians can find it all too easy to slide into the same pit of spiritual anarchy, lawlessness, and darkness.
To find evidence of this, the reader needs do no more than prowl various cocktail parties, cheap bars, and congressional offices in Washington to encounter a deeply-held pessimism among America’s ruling elite. The pattern is obvious to anyone who lives here — creating an online cult-following around posting architecture turns to believing beauty solves all problems, leading to you exiling yourself from normal society, which breeds self-hatred for not being elegant or symmetrical enough because it’s “bad optics.”
There is no better example of this moral solicitude to vanity than the people who pine for marriage for an aesthetic or strategic purpose, not because it is ordained by God as a picture of Christ and his bride, the church (Gen 1:28, Rev 19:7, Eph 5:25-27).
There exists, however, a darker and more malicious form of post-Christian political thought that followers of Christ would do well not only to avoid, but emphatically to reject. It is a defeatism that brings with it a casual disregard for Christian, Western, and American history in return for a “win at all costs” mentality. Taking this destructive ideology to its logical conclusion, it is not out of the realm of possibility to see a post-Christian right enthusiastically supporting the herding of enthusiastic Christians into derelict prisons. Nor would it be hard to imagine a right-wing cancel culture (appropriated from Saul Alinsky’s leftist tactics) employed against believing leaders of institutions who adopt an incrementalist approach to cultural change, one that is contrary to strategies of the post-Christian right and the nation it hopes to build.
At the risk of sounding alarmist, all of the aforementioned are entirely plausible as the terminus of a right-of-center political ideology that not only denies the existence of God, but also spits in His face.
Matthew Rose covers this problem brilliantly in his new book A World After Liberalism: Philosophers of the Radical Right, in which he concludes (emphasis mine:)
The thinkers of the radical right speak an alluring language. Where liberalism offers security and comfort, they promise adventure and conflict. Although the struggle they envision is so far imaginary, it does not matter: they have a sounder view of human needs and deeper awareness of human possibilities. No serious account of political life can be built solely on our needs for life, liberty, and property. For we desire more than small pleasures in the routines of life. We also seek great challenges in the face of death. And here, Christianity speaks another and no less demanding language. (A World After Liberalism: Philosophers of the Radical Right, p. 157)
What specifically, then, should Christians do to combat an anti-God Left that dominates every aspect of our public, social, and professional spheres without turning to the post-Christian right that worships Nietzsche, Freud, et. al.?
Firstly, continually repent and turn to Christ. Acts 3:19 says simply: “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out.” The glorification and worship of, and submission to, the Lord should be the sober-minded goal of every believing Christian.
Secondly, tattoo the divinely-inspired words Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 3:1-5 on your heart. No man can speak clearer or as resoundingly as this:
The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore, an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?
While this charge from Paul in 1 Timothy is an instruction for how leaders in the church ought to act, these are the very virtues that should shape every Christian leader, whether at the level of the family or the nation.
The Founders believed this, and so should we.
George Washington: “While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished Character of [a] Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished Character of [a] Christian.” The Writings of Washington, pp. 342-343
Patrick Henry: “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. ” The Trumpet Voice of Freedom, p. iii
Third, and lastly, we need to earnestly and steadfastly reject the accelerationist, destructive ideology of a post-Christian Right and stand firm on the hope and promise that the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ gives freely (Rev 21:24, Heb 11:16).
Philippians 3:20 says “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” meaning that regardless of who wins or steals the next election, God’s enemies will be crushed underneath His heel at the second coming of Jesus Christ.
There is no reason to despair, to fret, to harbor anxieties, or to “black-pill.”
“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere” (2 Cor 2:14).
*Image Credit: Unsplash