Christianity in the Crosshairs

The endgame for the militant left is the destruction of Christianity:

Those who hate the West and want to see its downfall also tend to hate Christianity and seek its demise as well. That is because Western Civilisation is in good measure the product of Christianity and the Judeo-Christian worldview. The secular left therefore hates both with an equal passion.

In the current round of anti-Western rioting and anarchy, churches have already been targeted. But in what is an alarming development, no less than three churches were damaged in a 24-hour period. They are:

  • San Gabriel Mission Church in San Gabriel, California
  • Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala, Florida
  • Faith Tabernacle Pentecostal Church in Elkmont, Alabama

And parishioners were inside the Florida church when it was set alight.

Of course it is not just in America where churches are under attack. One of the most famous and most beautiful church structures in the world is now again under Muslim rule. The opening and closing paragraphs of a new piece by Bruce Thornton are worth featuring on this:

Last week Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that on July 24 Hagia Sophia, for a thousand years one of Christendom’s most storied and significant churches, will once again become a mosque. So far, the remnant of established Christianity has been silent. But this affront to the faith that is one of the pillars upon which the West was founded reveals how damaging has been the historical amnesia and appeasing double standards that have compromised our response to the challenge of Islamic jihadism…

Accepting a double standard is always a sign of weakness, inferiority, and fear. We may think we’re just displaying our high-minded principles and cosmopolitanism, but our enemies know the score: We are displaying a civilizational failure of nerve, and a sordid materialism that will not let us risk our rich dolce vita lifestyle. Just like the current destruction of America’s history as expressed in statues and monuments, and just like the libelous revision of American history to legitimize an illiberal collectivist ideology and its impossible utopias, the shrugging off­­ — with a few exceptions like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo­­ — of Turkey’s conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque bespeaks a civilization that no longer is willing to defend and fight for its ideals, its history, its achievements, and its future. The word for that condition is “decline.”

The truth is, radical Western leftists are bedfellows with Muslims in their hatred of Christianity and the West. And we always knew it would not just be businesses, monuments and statues being targeted. Christian churches are also in the crosshairs.

No surprises here of course. This is always the way of the militant left, and we saw the same happen in the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and so on. Radical revolutions cannot succeed without eliminating the main competition: Christianity.

Two recent articles have both spoken to this reality and are worth bringing to your attention. First, Nathan Stone discusses “Why Rioters Will Eventually Turn Their Rage On Christianity If Not Stopped”. He notes how Christianity is integral to the West:

Christianity created specific institutions that we identify with the West, like hospitals and universities, but it did much more. Most importantly, it brought about the great fusion between faith and reason. Before Christianity, there had been tension between the two.

Greek philosophers, for example, often did not believe in the gods of Mount Olympus, whether we are talking about Plato and his World of the Forms, Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover, or the atheism of Epicurus. Christianity, seeing faith and reason both as gifts from God, united the two for the first time.

As Dr. Rodney Stark has argued, this allowed the West to become the epicenter of learning and science. Because God was Logos (reason) and perfect, His universe ran on immutable principles that could be discovered by men, using the reason God gave them.

Because Christianity teaches that all men are created by God, it ushered in a radical idea of equality not seen in the world before. And because every person is made in the image of God, all people are endowed with inalienable, natural rights, a strain of thinking first proposed by the later Scholastic philosophers.

And he highlights the fact that the left hate both:

Just a year ago, believing the radical left had such a goal would have sounded conspiratorial. Within the last four weeks, however, St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City was vandalized. Across from the White House, St. John’s Church was attacked twice. Neither church nor the statue was involved in any way or form with the deaths of George Floyd or Rayshard Brooks.

More recently, in the Polish city of Breda, a memorial to World War II Polish soldiers was vandalized with BLM graffiti. Never mind that the memorial features a replica of the Virgin Mary as a black woman, the soldiers the memorial heralds were fighting fascists, and Poland has no history of colonization anywhere.

The reason for the attacks becomes clearer when considering that Black Lives Matter and Antifa are Marxist organizations and Marxism is an enemy of Christianity. It has to be. An atheistic system that sees economic Hegelianism as god will have to consider all transcendent religions the enemy. It’s why the Soviet Union was an atheistic state, which replaced God with the Communist Party.

Another reason comes from the hatred Marxism holds for Western Civilization. The dream of Marxism is to eradicate Western civilization and replace it with itself; its reaction to the legitimate evils that have been committed by Occidentals is not reform but obliteration.

Marxism assumes that because the windows are dirty and cracked, the entire house must be demolished. We see this same hatred today in the insurrections occurring right now. There is no reason for mobs pulling down statues of Ulysses S. Grant or Hans Christian Heg or calling for statues of Abraham Lincoln as the Great Emancipator to be removed.

But if Western Civilization is evil, that means all the elements that went into creating Western Civilization must also be destroyed. That includes Christianity.

And Dwight Longenecker offers a broader brush view in his piece, “Why It Won’t Stop With Statues”. He speaks of the addiction to rage and bloodshed:

The French thinker Rene Girard has analyzed the dynamic of mob violence. He recognizes that the mob murder is always public. Members of the mob need to see the “justice” being done. Secondly, the violence must be perpetrated by the mob, not by an individual. This group action not only creates unity within the mob, but no one person is guilty of the violence. Because all are guilty, all are exonerated. Third, there will be blood. Almost always bloodshed is involved in the murder. It is as if a blood sacrifice is demanded by some dark god infesting the human heart. Finally, and most importantly, after the murder is accomplished the crowd experiences a collective surge of euphoria. They feel they have done something wonderful and good, and are filled with an almost supernatural excitement.

This dynamic is evident in ancient human sacrifices, the religious persecutions, witch hunts, lynchings of blacks and mob violence of all kinds in every place at certain times down through history. Why is it so pervasive and why does it rarely stop with statues?

The answer is in the strange euphoria the mob experiences once the violence is completed. It’s like a drug, and like all drugs it makes you feel amazingly terrific. It makes you feel all powerful. It makes you feel high. However, like any artificial stimulant, the effect wears off, and when it does you have to go back for more. When the discontent, misery and fear return you go back for another hit on the drug, only this time you need a bigger dose to get the same high.

This is why mob violence rarely ends with the breaking of images, nor will giving in to the mob stop the violence. Appeasing the mob will not stop the mayhem any more than giving free drugs to an addict will stop his addiction. It will not cure his addiction. It will make it worse. This is why violence is likely to escalate rather than go into decline and fade away.

I got a phone call earlier this morning from a friend who is just as worried about the culture wars as I am. He asked me if I thought America would undergo another civil war. I told him yes, but that it has already started. These are worrying times indeed.

And if you are a Christian, prepare for things to get even worse — much worse.

Afterword

See this brief, illuminating Tucker Carlson interview with Eric Metaxas:

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Originally published at CultureWatch.
Photo by Jenni Jones on Unsplash.

By |2020-07-15T19:02:51+10:00July 15th, 2020|Faith, Safety & Security, World|0 Comments

About the Author:

Bill Muehlenberg is married with three sons, and he is an apologist and ethicist in Melbourne, Australia. He has written several books and has numerous articles printed in most mainstream Australian newspapers, as well as being the main drafter of the Canberra Declaration. Bill has a BA with honours in philosophy (Wheaton College, Chicago), an MA with highest honours in theology (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Boston) and is currently completing a PhD in theology. He is a prolific author, and a much sought-after media commentator; he has been featured on most Australian television and radio current affairs programs. Bill teaches ethics, apologetics and theology at several Melbourne Bible Colleges. He has his own blog, CultureWatch, which features Christian commentary on the issues of the day.

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