“There always is this fallacious belief: ‘It would not be the same here; such things are impossible.’ Alas, all the evil of the twentieth century is possible everywhere on earth.” —Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
I’d love to make this letter optimistic. But my commitment to reality necessarily constrains my optimism.
And I’d love to tell you that at long last we’re winning our culture wars. But informed and knowledgeable readers might rightly suspect that I was having a psychotic episode.
You see, the culture wars have largely been lost. Strident protests to the contrary are based on denial, ignorance, or wishful thinking, not on observable and verifiable facts.
Although countless Christians remain clueless as to the chilling threats that now face us, it’s time for a massive wakeup call.
In fact, menacing storm clouds on the horizon suggest that we’re in for mounting persecution by an increasingly totalitarian state that would rejoice not only in the disappearance of Christians, but the demise of all religion.
For those whose instinctive reflex to such assertions is to claim, “It couldn’t happen here,” I’d refer them to Solzhenitsyn’s quote above.
The simple and painful truth is that evil in the form of totalitarian impulses never takes a vacation, and there is nothing that precludes the horrors of history repeating themselves. Naïve notions that twenty-first-century America is somehow exempt from this evil reveal a dangerous obliviousness to the ideological cancers that are eating away at our freedoms and our future at this very moment.
That’s why I’ll encourage you to get and read — ‘study’ might be a better word — a book that might be as important as any you’ll read this year or for years to come.
While I’ve linked excerpts by clicking here in the description section, a few comments are in order. First, Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents, by Rod Dreher, does more than just describe the current siege on our freedoms, it reveals the powerful forces at work in totalitarian efforts to eradicate any voice that seeks to counter a mindless ‘woke’ agenda.
Dreher alerts us to the fact that a progressive and profoundly anti-Christian militancy is steadily overtaking society, “empowered by unprecedented technological capabilities to surveil private life.” He disturbingly notes that now “there is virtually nowhere to hide.” (Trust me, you’ll find the scope of these capabilities chilling.)
Furthermore, he reminds us that this stealth attack is so insidious that it will be missed (until it’s too late) by millions too cocooned in their current realities to perceive the threat:
“The old, hard totalitarianism had a vision for the world that required the eradication of Christianity. The new, softer totalitarianism does, too, and we are not equipped to resist its sneakier attack.”
As he explains in Live Not by Lies, Dreher shows how this totalitarian virus has encountered a cultural immune system now radically and dangerously compromised. Decades of systematic erosion to the pillars of Christian faith have resulted in the pervasive “triumph of the therapeutic”:
“Christian resistance on a large scale to the anti-culture has been fruitless, and is likely to be for the foreseeable future. Why? Because the spirit of the therapeutic has conquered the churches as well — even those populated by Christians who identify as conservatives. Relatively few contemporary Christians are prepared to suffer for the faith, because the therapeutic society that has formed them denies the purpose of suffering in the first place, and the idea of bearing pain for the sake of truth seems ridiculous.”
Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in the decadent and now epidemic form of faith labeled Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, “the general belief that God exists, and wants nothing more from us than to be nice and to be happy.”
In short, where a robust immune system grounded in biblical truth would quickly detect and seek to repel the diseased ideas currently attacking our culture, our present multiple cultural and intellectual morbidities have now more than met their match in these relentless assaults.
But Dreher isn’t one to merely insightfully analyze and then lament the forces now eroding our freedoms and threatening Christianity. The subtitle of his book, “A Manual for Christian Dissidents,” makes clear that he is providing a powerful prescription for Christians to live with hope and joy in the midst of greater persecutions that are on the horizon.
As Dreher has written elsewhere, current trends may not spell the end of the world, but they do spell the end of a world:
“The light of Christianity is flickering out all over the West. There are people alive today who may live to see the effective death of Christianity within our civilization. By God’s mercy, the faith may continue to flourish in the Global South and China, but barring a dramatic reversal of current trends, it will all but disappear entirely from Europe and North America. This may not be the end of the world, but it is the end of a world, and only the willfully blind would deny it. For a long time we have downplayed or ignored the signs. Now the floodwaters are upon us — and we are not ready.”
Because future generations will most certainly and severely suffer from any blindness, denial, silence, or inaction on our behalf, I’m praying that thousands of Christians will read Live Not by Lies. My prayer is that they’ll wake up, stand up, and speak up whenever and wherever they can to let growing numbers of our totalitarian opponents know that we will not go quietly and submissively into a new Dark Age.
Please take a moment to scan the the following link in the description section for more on Live Not by Lies and related resources.
Then I’ll ask you to do all you can through a generous gift to acquire these vital resources and strengthen all of CRI’s outreaches in the process. Our voices and values must be loud and clear during these perilous times, and the consequences of silence and inaction are unthinkable.
As Dreher poignantly notes in Live Not by Lies, “Christians today must understand that, fundamentally, they aren’t resisting a different politics but rather what is effectively a rival religion.”
Please know that your partnership is making a real difference, not only in individual lives but to the very future of civilization as we have known it.
…because Truth matters, and Life matters more,
In the midst of this menacing totalitarianism, I pray that growing numbers of Christians will commit to being relentless agents of change for the power of truth!