is the USA already post-Christian?

One of the more astonishing phenomena of our times is the speed at which the United States is becoming a post-Christian nation.

Of course Christianity has been declining throughout the West for at least a couple of centuries. The decline has however been a gradual one. Until three decades ago it seemed like the United States was bucking the overall trend. In the 1980s the Religious Right still had immense political clout and this was based on the fact that conservative Christians (especially Evangelical Christians) really did form an enormous voting bloc. They had power and that power was based on numbers.

Since the 80s it seems to have been all downhill, at a very rapid pace.

It’s worth taking a look at Pew Research’s Religious Landscape Study. They did two very extensive surveys seven years apart, in 2007 and 2014. In that short time span the percentage of the American population identifying as Christians fell from 78% to 71%. It was not just a relative decline – the absolute numbers fell from 178 million to 173 million.

Mainline Protestants fell from 41 to 36 million. Evangelical Christians are holding their own in terms of absolute numbers but declining as a share of the population. Catholics have declined in both absolute and relative terms.

And this is in just seven years.

If you’re a Christian there are other even more disturbing trends in the survey. The number of people identifying as out-and-out atheists has jumped sharply. These are people who are not merely irreligious, but anti-religion. And the decline in Christian belief has been most dramatic among Millennials, and most dramatic of all among the younger Millennials.

Of course there are always problems with surveys such as this. If the US was still 71% Christian then everything that has happened in the past thirty years would have been impossible and incomprehensible. Obviously the vast majority of those who identify as Christian for the purpose of surveys are not Christian in any meaningful sense. That has almost certainly been the case for at least a century. The difficulty is to estimate how many of these people are genuine believers who actually practise their religion and it’s a formidable difficulty. It would also be useful to know not just how many supposed Christians are merely nominal Christians but how this compares to other religions.

It’s also possible that being a Christian doesn’t mean what it used to mean. We’ve seen the hierarchies of most churches become more and more liberal and secular in outlook but does this apply to the ordinary rank-and-file church members? While I would suspect that most members of the rank and file are considerably less liberal than their leaders I would also suspect that they are a lot more liberal than the general run of church-goers half a century ago. If the latter is true then the prospects for any genuine revival of Christianity are grim.

It’s also worth noting that the churches that have tried hardest to survive by compromising with liberalism are the ones that are dying out most quickly. I have very mixed feelings about the Evangelicals but they do seem to be doing significantly better than the other Christian churches.

There’s another interesting conclusion to be drawn from all this. There was a popular idea a while back that Christianity would survive simply because Christians have more children than secularists. That idea is clearly completely wrong. Christians almost certainly are having more children but a very large proportion of those children end up being secular liberals. This is a subject I addressed a while back in my post conservative delusions – the War of the Cradle.

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Catholic converts vs cradle Catholics

There’s an interesting post at A Political Refugee From the Global Village, Anthony Burgess on Catholic converts, on Catholic converts vs cradle Catholics. I’m not a Catholic so I’m not really in a position to have any kind of dogmatic opinion on this subject. I was intrigued though by the suggestion that cradle Catholics tended to react to Vatican II by shrugging their shoulders and accepting it, while Catholic converts like Evelyn Waugh saw it as an unmitigated disaster.

My instincts tell me that the Catholic converts were probably correct in this case.

Converts do seem to be generally speaking more zealous than those raised in a particular creed, whether that creed is a religion or a political ideology. Converts to communism back in the pre-World War 2 period tended to be very extreme, sometimes even to the extent of becoming Soviet spies. Were they more zealous than the so-called “red diaper” babies of the postwar period, who absorbed communism with their mother’s milk? I’m not quite sure.

Converts to cults and fads (such as veganism) are of course usually very gung-ho.

And social justice warriors are often converted to the cause at university so that might explain some of their fanaticism.

The various dissident right groups (alt-right, neo-reactionaries, whatever) are of course comprised entirely of converts, which might have interesting consequences.

Getting back to religion, perhaps one reason for the weakness of modern Christianity is that it’s just not making converts on a large scale any longer. Perhaps a religion needs the zeal of converts to keep it vital and alive?

unlocking the power of hate

Never underestimate the power of hatred. Or more specifically, never underestimate the positive effects of being hated.

Take the Jews. How on Earth could they have survived as a distinct ethnic/religious/cultural group through the 2,000 years of the Diaspora? The answer is simple. They survived by being hated.

The Jews maintained their own traditions and beliefs and ethnic identity because they were regarded as outsiders, and regarded with suspicion and dislike. Most of the time they weren’t actually persecuted or even hated but simply looked upon with suspicion. But there were times when they were actively hated and persecuted and this proved to be their salvation as a people. They were not only considered to be outsiders, they thought of themselves as outsiders.

This was a powerful incentive to avoid what was in fact the greatest threat to their survival – marrying outside their own community.

It strengthened their faith and it made their traditions seem very precious indeed.

Other cultural groups have benefited from being hated, although none so spectacularly as the Jews. For centuries the Irish Catholics maintained their faith and jealously preserved a distinctive cultural identity. The force that bound them together was the oppression they suffered at the hands of the English. Then in the latter part of the 20th century the English did something very terrible. They gave up oppressing the Irish. The Irish response was immediate. They abandoned their faith, they abandoned their identity and they set about committing national suicide. Within a few decades from now the Irish will have disappeared as a distinct people.

It’s not necessary to be oppressed to enjoy these benefits. Having an external enemy who hates you and wants to destroy you can be almost as good.

It’s worth taking a bit of a look at the history of Christianity. In its early centuries it suffered sporadic persecution at the hands of the Romans. These were boom times for Christianity.

By the 4th century AD Christianity was the official religion of the Empire but luckily there were still plenty of enemies. Most of Europe was still pagan. Even within the Empire paganism was down but not out. When the Empire in the West collapsed it was by no means certain that Christianity would triumph. The surviving Empire in the East had plenty of very real non-Christian enemies. And would soon have a new and very formidable enemy in the shape of Islam. Islam would even threaten the territories of the now-defunct western Empire.

For centuries to come Christianity would have real enemies and Christians with a taste for martyrdom could find endless opportunities for indulging that taste.

The boom times came to an end at the end of the seventeenth century. The Islamic threat to Europe was over. European Christianity had no viable enemies. And Christianity began its long slow decline.

The interesting bit is that the boom times might soon be back. Liberals (and I use liberals as shorthand for the globalist elites and their SJW foot soldiers) have hated Christianity for a long long time but up till now they’ve been content with harassment. This is clearly going to change, probably within the next decade. They’re going to move towards full-blown persecution.

This may be the salvation of Christianity. Being a persecuted minority once again might lead to a Christian revival. At the very least it should eliminate most of the mainstream churches, and that would be a very good thing indeed for Christianity.

Christianity and capitalism

Of all the enemies that have combined to bring about the downfall of Christianity in the West none has been more deadly or more relentless than capitalism. The fact is that it is impossible to imagine two systems more completely incompatible than Christianity and capitalism.

Capitalism is the most thoroughly materialistic ideology that can be conceived of. Capitalism is interested only in things that can be objectively measured, and in the capitalist system there is only one standard of measurement – money. More money is good. Less money is bad. This standard applies to people as well as things. A person’s success in life is measured by how much money he has. Nothing else is relevant.

The incompatibility between Christianity and capitalism should have been obvious from the start. And it was obvious to some Christians. Unfortunately most Christians chose to shut their eyes to the contradictions. Even worse, many American Christians convinced themselves that capitalism was Christian. This is why American Christianity has failed so spectacularly. American Christians have embraced an ideology that was always inevitably going to destroy them.

There is no room for morality in capitalism. You can’t measure morality in monetary terms so therefore morality has no validity. More seriously, morality interferes with profits. Profits are good. Therefore morality is bad.

The big mistake Christians (especially in the US) made in the culture wars was to think that they could fight moral issues as individual battles. They focused on specific attacks on Christian morality, such as abortion and homosexuality. They were certainly correct in seeing abortion and homosexuality as evils, but they failed to see the big picture. They failed to see that they weren’t dealing with isolated attacks on Christian sexual morality. They were dealing with a system, capitalism, that was hostile to all Christian morality and all Christian values. And they were dealing with a system that was not going to compromise. This became (or should have become) clear with the emergence of globalist capitalism. The globalist capitalists intended to remove every obstacle in their path.

A major potential obstacle was Christianity. The idea that money is the measure of the good was obviously in pretty serious conflict with Christian teachings. The idea that the only motivations anyone should have were the accumulation and spending of money was not exactly in harmony with Christianity.

Global capitalists today are intensely hostile to Christianity but even without this overt hostility capitalism would still have the effect of undermining and eventually destroying Christianity. It’s simply in the nature of capitalism.

American Christians made another catastrophic mistake. Back in the 50s they convinced themselves that the real enemy was communism. They became obsessed with the communist threat. This led them to a tragically mistaken conclusion. Since communism was bad, capitalism must be good. Since communism was ungodly, capitalism must be godly.

Communism was a threat, but it was never anywhere near as serious a threat as capitalism.

Christianity can survive under communism. Communists might not approve of Christianity but they have no absolute need to destroy it. It’s not really particularly incompatible with communism. On the other hand Christianity cannot survive under capitalism.

Unfortunately Christians have made yet another strategic error, getting distracted by the social justice nonsense. Again they’re wasting their energies and failing to see the big picture. They’re putting themselves in a no-win situation. If they oppose the SJWs they’ll be painted by the media as nasty meanies. If they support the SJWs they’ll simply look weak and pathetic, and showing weakness to SJWs is a fatal mistake. Christians should focus on the real enemy, the globalist capitalists. Defeat them and the social justice nonsense will simply evaporate.

conservative delusions – the War of the Cradle

Conservatives like to think that liberals live in a world of fantasy and theory while conservatives are hard-headed realists. Unfortunately that’s only partly true. Conservatives cling to all sorts of delusions. One of the most persistent is the War of the Cradle delusion.

The idea is that conservatives must triumph in the end because they have more children than leftists. A variation is that Christianity must triumph because Christians have more children than atheists.

Unfortunately there’s a huge flaw in this argument. Liberals don’t need to have children. They know they’re going to get the children of conservatives and Christians. Conservatives and Christians still don’t really get this. Once their kids go to school they’re lost. You might delay things by home-schooling but not every conservative and/or Christian home schools. It doesn’t matter anyay, because once their kids to to university, even if they’ve been home-schooled, they’re lost. They’ll turn into blue-haired freaks screetching about social justice. And no matter what you do, if your kids are exposed to mass media and/or social media you’re going to lose them.

It’s no good thinking you can get around the problem by sending your children to a Christian school, or a Christian college. Many of these are worse than state schools, and even more infected by social justice ideology.

Let’s say that for every fifty children born to liberal parents there are a hundred born to conservative and/or Christian parents. Of those hundred children liberals only to need capture thirty. If they do that then out of the total of 150 children born 80 will end up as liberals and liberals will continue to win the numbers game. In reality they’re more likely to capture more than 30 of the hundred kids, so the liberals end up even further ahead.

That’s how liberals reproduce. It’s a very effective reproductive strategy. It’s why they’re winning.

Of course homosexuals reproduce in the same manner, which is one of the reasons why they’re so extraordinarily interested in children and the education system. You’d think that the education system would be of no interest to people who can’t have children but you’d be wrong. They’re very interested indeed. The schools are where the next generation of homosexuals will come from.

Conservatives and Christians surrendered control of the schools and universities to liberals at least half a century ago. That’s when the Culture War was lost.

the case for Christian Wahhabism

You might think that for an atheist I’m a bit obsessed with Christianity. And you’re probably right. The thing is I really do believe that secularism is a dead end. I believe that the greatest enemy that the West has ever faced is liberalism and I don’t see any way to fight liberalism by purely secular means.

The only secular alternatives to liberalism that ever seemed viable were communism and fascism. They weren’t terribly pleasant and they certainly don’t look viable any longer.

The only way to combat liberalism is, I believe, some kind of religion. There are several alternatives but most seem very unpromising, or unpalatable, or both. The least unpalatable alternative would be a revival of Christianity. The question is, is such a revival possible?

It’s instructive to take a look at the history of Islam over the past hundred years. A hundred years ago nobody took Islam seriously. The Ottoman Empire seemed to be tottering towards destruction and the universal view in Europe was that quite naturally the European great powers would carve up the corpse of that empire between them. The idea of Muslims putting up any kind of resistance seemed too fantastic even to consider. And in fact when the Ottoman Empire did collapse most of it was carved up by the great powers. The European powers pursued a policy towards the Middle East that was cynical, hypocritical, vicious, short-sighted and foolish. After the Second World War the Americans naturally assumed that the Middle East would be within their sphere of influence, and they proceeded to pursue policies that were even more cynical, hypocritical, vicious, short-sighted and foolish.

Much to the surprise of the great powers there was a reaction within the Islamic world. In fact there were two responses. One was the growth of Arab nationalism, but the Americans were determined to put a stop to that. The other response was the explosive growth of a new kind of Islam – the kind of militant radical Islam with which we are now familiar. This didn’t really exist to any great extent a hundred years ago. Wahhabism existed but was confined almost entirely to what is now Saudi Arabia. The spectacular growth of movements like the Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabism was a response to what many Muslims saw as an existential threat.

There’s no question that the West in the 21st century faces an existential threat at least as serious as that facing Islam in the 20th century. Christianity as it currently exists is not going to be any help. In fact mainstream organised Christianity is part of the problem, not part of the solution. It is merely secular liberalism with a feelgood gloss. It’s a more emotional, more effeminate, secular liberalism.

Of course I am aware that Not All Christians Are Like That. Of course there is still a very small minority who still follow the teachings of actual Christianity, and a small number of Christians who are still prepared to fight for their faith. However the sad truth is that most of the people who currently identify as Christians are secular liberals, and globalist SJWs.

If Christianity is to play a part in defending the West it will have to reinvent itself the way Islam did. It is significant that Wahhabism started as a movement to purge Islam of what were considered to be un-Islamic innovations. A viable Christian revivalism requires a similarly ruthless purging of non-Christian innovations, and that means it must be purged of liberalism. Purged thoroughly and completely. No compromise is possible with liberalism. No compromise at all. A pre-Enlightenment Christianity is what is needed. I do not believe that any existing mainstream Christian church can be reformed sufficiently to be able to play a useful role. A new Christianity will have to be built, from scratch. The existing churches need to be consigned to the scrap heap. They are too thoroughly infested with liberal ideas to be saved.

The new Christianity will need to be a radical militant Christianity, somewhat on the lines of radical militant Islam. Many Christians (and many on the right) are not going to like the idea of learning from Islam. They are also going to be reluctant to abandon many of their cherished liberal ideals, ideals that they often do not recognise as the liberal poison that they are (I enumerated many of these ideals in a previous post on conservatives and Christians defending liberal ideals).

The struggle against liberalism is a war, and it’s a war to the death. It’s about time we accepted that reality. A Christian wahhabism may be our one slim chance of survival.

in praise of patriarchy

A commenter at The Knight and Drummer recently accused me of wanting to restore patriarchy. I have to say that I plead guilty as charged. I do indeed want to restore patriarchy.

Until western society decided to commit suicide all human societies had been patriarchal. I know that feminist scholars (and I always chuckle at the concept of feminist scholarship) make claims for certain societies in the dim dark past having being matriarchies, and for a handful of remote tribes being matriarchal until modern times. In virtually every case this is nothing but wishful thinking on the part of woolly-minded academics. Successful societies have always been patriarchies.

I define a patriarchy as a society which accept two things – that men and women are profoundly different and have different social roles to play, and that final authority must rest with men. It’s important to remember that you can’t have one without the other. If men surrender their authority traditional sex roles will be overturned. If traditional sex roles are not respected men’s authority will vanish. If either of those things happen then that society is doomed.

Very few people today are prepared to nail their colours to the mast and embrace patriarchy. Most self-defined conservatives (including most so-called social conservatives and traditionalists) have surrendered completely to feminism. All mainstream conservative parties have made the same surrender, as have all mainstream Christian churches (with the possible exception of the Orthodox churches). Some of these “conservatives” will bleat about feminism having gone too far but in fact they are happy to accept 90% of the feminist agenda. If you’re a conservative and you believe in “equality” or “fairness” or “justice” then you’re a feminist and you’re part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

The fact is that we have all been so thoroughly indoctrinated by feminism that we think that admitting to being a supporter of patriarchy is a bit like admitting to being a member of the Ku Klux Klan. This is of course arrant nonsense. Patriarchy is not only the only workable way to run a society, it is also the only system that is capable of making both men and women happy.

But what exactly are the ramifications of accepting patriarchy?

Obviously we need to ask what place, if any, women should have in political life. Female leaders have always been disastrous. Of course we also need to reconsider the whole question of representative democracy, a system that guarantees corrupt, vicious and inefficient government. It’s not a question of whether women should be allowed to vote. It’s a question of whether voting is a good idea, for anyone. Every time the franchise has been extended the system has become more unworkable and more corrupt.

Secondly, women should accept the authority of their fathers, and after marriage they should accept the authority of their husbands. This is what women actually want. Women despise men who allow themselves to be dominated by women. The thought of having sex with such men nauseates them. Women have always sought men who can protect them and that implies authority. It’s a matter of biological reality. Fairness doesn’t come into it. Biological reality isn’t interested in fairness. Reality isn’t interested in fairness. Reality just is.

Thirdly, we need to carefully consider whether higher education for women is really a good idea. Of course we also need to think about higher education in general – we need to slash the number of university students overall by at least 80%. We need doctors and engineers. We don’t need gender studies majors or film studies majors or any similar nonsense. We also don’t need the absurd number of lawyers being churned out by our universities.

And unfortunately it’s the nonsensical courses to which women are attracted, and all these courses do is to make women angry and confused. If you have any doubts about this, try having a conversation with a female student doing one of these courses – they are incapable of doing anything other than getting angry and mouthing slogans that they don’t even understand. Their ignorance is exceeded only by their arrogance.

Of course by now all true conservatives are wringing their hands in horror that anyone would dare to express such wicked forbidden sentiments. But as I tried to point out to the commenter mentioned earlier, patriarchy is coming whether we like it or not. Within a few decades western Europe will be Islamic and it will be patriarchal. There aren’t going to be any gender studies courses taught. There isn’t going to be any feminism.

The irony of course is that women, and feminists in particular, have created the situation that is going to lead inevitably to the resurgence of patriarchy, of one form or another. Feminists have weakened our civilisation  to the point where invaders can simply walk in and take over. Which is exactly what they are going to do. Feminists can celebrate their triumph over Christian patriarchy but their celebrations are likely to be short-lived. Patriarchy will reassert itself one way or another because there is no viable alternative.