Dear Hank: I refuse to sheepishly stand by and allow totalitarian, anti-Christian forces to advance uncontested to pillage our most precious liberties. Please send me the below for my gift to continue equipping fellow believers to stand intelligently and courageously against the mounting assaults on our most sacred freedoms.
Click here to get the free and downloadable Study Guide to Live Not By Lies.
The New York Times bestselling author of The Benedict Option draws on the wisdom of Christian survivors of Soviet persecution to warn American Christians of approaching dangers. For years, émigrés from the former Soviet Bloc have been telling Rod Dreher they see telltale signs of “soft” totalitarianism cropping up in America — something more Brave New World than Nineteen Eighty-Four. Identity politics are beginning to encroach on every aspect of life. Civil liberties are increasingly seen as a threat to “safety.” Progressives marginalize conservative, traditional Christians and other dissenters. Technology and consumerism hasten the possibility of a corporate surveillance state. And the pandemic, having put millions out of work, leaves our country especially vulnerable to demagogic manipulation.
In Live Not by Lies, Dreher amplifi es the alarm sounded by the brave men and women who fought totalitarianism. He explains how the totalitarianism facing us today is based less on overt violence and more on psychological manipulation. He tells the stories of modern-day dissidents — clergy, laity, martyrs, and confessors from the Soviet Union and the captive nations of Europe — who offer practical advice for how to identify and resist totalitarianism in our time. Following the model offered by a prophetic World War II-era pastor who prepared believers in his Eastern European country to endure the coming of communism, Live Not by Lies teaches American Christians a method for resistance:
• SEE: Acknowledge the reality of the situation.
• JUDGE: Assess reality in the light of what we as Christians know to be true.
• ACT: Take action to protect truth.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn famously said that one of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming totalitarianism can’t happen in their country. Many American Christians are making that mistake today, sleepwalking through the erosion of our freedoms. Live Not by Lies will wake them and equip them for the long resistance.
Churches as secular entertainment centers
“You cannot give what you do not possess. Too many of our churches function assecular entertainment centers with religious morals slapped on top, when they should be functioning as the living, breathing Body of Christ. Too many churches have succumbed to modernity, rejecting the wisdom of past ages, treating worship as a consumer activity, and allowing parishioners to function as unaccountable, atomized members. The sad truth is, when the world sees us, it often fails to see anything different from nonbelievers. Christians often talk about ‘reaching the culture’ without realizing that, having no distinct Christian culture of their own, they have been co-opted by the secular culture they wish to evangelize. Without a substantial Christian culture, it’s no wonder that our children are forgetting what it means to be Christian, and no surprise that we are not bringing in new converts.”
“By rediscovering the past, recovering liturgical worship and asceticism, centering our lives on the church
community, and tightening church discipline, we will, by God’s grace, again become the peculiar people we should have always been. The fruits of this focus on Christian formation will result not only in stronger Christians but in a new evangelism as the salt recovers its savor.”
Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD)
“MTD is colonizing existing Christian churches, destroying biblical Christianity from within, and replacing it with a pseudo-Christianity that is ‘only tenuously connected to the actual historical Christian tradition’….The problem with MTD, in both its progressive and its conservative versions, is that it’s mostly about improving one’s self-esteem and subjective happiness and getting along well with others. It has little to do with the Christianity of Scripture and tradition, which teaches repentance, self-sacrificial love, and purity of heart, and commends suffering — the Way of the Cross — as the pathway to God. Though superficially Christian, MTD is the natural religion of a culture that worships the Self and material comfort.”
Ryszard Legutko lived and suffered under communism for decades — and he fought in the Polish anti-communist movement to abolish it. Having lived for two decades under a liberal democracy, however, he has discovered that these two political systems have a lot more in common than one might think. They both stem from the same historical roots in early modernity, and accept similar prescriptions about history, society, religion, politics, culture, and human nature.
In The Demon in Democracy, Legutko explores the shared objectives between these two political systems, and explains how liberal democracy has over time lurched toward the same goals as communism, albeit without Soviet-style brutality.
Both systems, says Legutko, reduce human nature to that of the common man, who is led to believe himself liberated from the obligations of the past. Both the communist man and the liberal democratic man refuse to admit that there exists anything of value to which they have pledged their loyalty. And both systems refuse to undertake any critical evaluation of their ideological prejudices.
Christianity — the last great force
“By rejecting Christianity — after having marginalized the classical heritage — Europe, and indeed, the entire West not only slides into cultural aridity, a process noticeable for some time, but also falls under the smothering monopoly of one ideology whose uniformity is being cleverly concealed by the deafening rhetoric of diversity that has been pouring into people’s minds at all occasions and in all contexts.
Christianity is the last great force that offers a viable alternative to the tediousness of liberal-democratic anthropology. In this respect it is closer to the classical rather than the modern view of human nature. With Christianity being driven out of the main tract, the liberal-democratic man — unchallenged and totally secure in his rule — will become a sole master of today’s imagination, apodictically determining the boundaries of human nature and, at the very outset, disavowing everything that dares to reach beyond his narrow perspective. The only thing he will be capable of doing is occasional, albeit capricious generosity in tolerating some form of dissidence at the far peripheries of his empire. Without a strong competitor the liberal-democratic man will reign over human aspirations like a tyrant. There will be no one who would dare or be ready, in compliance with the existing rules, to call his reign into question; the rules that exist do not permit such extravagant acts, and a supposition that there might be other rules has long since been discarded as absurd.”
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