I came across a tweet from Mike Cernovich a few weeks ago, which declares the failure of Christianity to maintain a sane culture and suggests a modified version of Islam to fill the void:
Christianity has given us a country where 11 year olds dance for adult men who throw dollars on the stage.
Christianity gave us a church that molested children and sold out their flock (Covington) to the left.
A moderated form of Islam is probably the West’s only hope. https://t.co/kwwUsAdsfU
— Mike Cernovich ?? ???? (@Cernovich) January 27, 2019
I’m not sure how seriously Cernovich intends his thesis. There’s an element of showmanship to what he does, and he just released a new documentary. So this may have been an instance of being deliberately provocative for the sake of publicity. But however seriously it was intended, it’s worth pondering, for it contains one great truth and one great error.
The truth is that Christians really have failed the West.
To be sure, Cernovich blamed Christianity rather than Christians, but in a Tweet, I’m willing to count that as imprecision rather than error. There is no problem with Christ’s teachings or His institutions, but there is a problem with many of us who follow those teachings and participate in those institutions. And it’s not that we have been too Christian, but rather that we have not been Christian enough.
The errors in which Christians have been involved are legion. , but none of these errors are taught by Christianity. Far too many Christians fell under the sway of Theological Liberalism, whose sole purpose was to baptize the Spirit of the Age, but this has always been a blatant heresy. Western Christians abandoned patriarchy in favor of feminism, but there’s nothing in the Bible that demanded we make such a change (and quite a bit to the contrary). We embraced multiculturalism over nationalism, but this is a misunderstanding regarding the different roles of the Church and Civil Government.
But errors are always legion–for Satan is always working against us. The singular trap into which Western Christians have fallen that facilitates all these individual problems is simple worldliness. We are terrified of speaking up because we don’t want the world to think less of us. We don’t want to be one of the those Christians. So we’re always quick to nod understandingly along with every old perversion reinvented by Satan to signal that we’re not really against people who call evil good and good evil. And we’re just as quick to throw our fellows under the world’s bus for peccadilloes as insignificant as not liking the way they smirk. In short, Christians in the West have embraced a moderated form of Christianity to the detriment of both our churches and our civilization.
But that leads us into Cernovich’s great falsehood: That a moderated form of Islam can somehow save the West. There are two problems with this idea–both of them insurmountable.
The first: What exactly is supposed to moderate Islam? The same degenerate cultural forces that moderated Christianity? The problem with deliberately corroding principles and zeal is that the acid never really stops dissolving exactly when you want it to. If Islam is so strong as to be immune to such forces, then it cannot be moderated. If it is so weak as to be corroded by them, then it’ll end up in the same place as Christianity.
But could Islam be moderated by something more internal to itself? Perhaps, but then “moderation” is going to take on an entirely alien meaning to Westerners. When we think of Christianity becoming more moderate, we think of things like ending the Crusades and Inquisitions, refraining from burning heretics at the stake, and other expressions that ultimately amount to a decoupling of church institutions from government institutions.
These things were able to happen from within Christianity itself because we have always had a measure of distinction between ecclesial purpose & authority and civil purpose & authority. Whether it’s Jesus saying “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s”, Augustine’s City of God & City of Man, Luther’s Two Kingdoms, or even Rome’s doctrine of the Two Swords, we have always had some variation on distinguishing the Church from civil government. We argue over the details–things like how distinct should they really be, where/how do they intersect, and whether it was really a good idea to give up on blasphemy laws–but the distinction is always there.
Islam has no such internal distinction. It is both a religion and a political ideology at the same time. From its very inception, it has never made much distinction between civil and religious authority–only between Dar al Islam and Dar al Harb (the House of Islam and the House of War.) The whole purpose of the religion is to, by any means necessary, bring the entire world under the universal Sharia given by Muhammad, which is just as much a civil law as a ceremonial and moral law. Heck, The day of judgment is supposed to come when they finally succeed in effectively conquering the entire world. There might be internal ways of moderating that, but it’s never going to be the kind of thing that Westerners would recognize as “moderate.”
And that’s really the second insurmountable problem with saving the West by means of a moderated form of Islam: Islam is not in any way, shape, or form Western. The West could be replaced by a moderated form of Islam (and it will be if we’re not careful) but it could never be saved by it. There is no hope there–only the despair of resigning oneself to oblivion.
It’s not a moderated form of Islam that the West needs, but an unmoderated form of Christianity. The West needs Christians to stop submitting themselves to the Spirit of the Age and begin serving Christ again according to his Word.
Some would object to this, saying that Christianity is a religion, not a civil government–that the Church’s purpose was never to bolster the West or any other human civilization. Rather, She transcends the various kingdoms that rise and fall and outlasts every one of them. This is all true, but it is no real objection to my point.
Under the influence of secularism, Western Christians have voluntarily divested themselves of their religion while participating in civil institutions. We let ourselves be convinced to leave Christ at the door of the Church when we leave so that he doesn’t interfere with the way we govern ourselves and one-another. That was never part of Christ’s teachings. If one’s god doesn’t impact the way he raises his children, the way he votes, the politics he pursues, or the way he lives in public, then its either because his god commanded it so or because the believer subordinated his supposed god to the higher god of the state. Since Christ has never commanded the former, then Christians who recuse Christ from civilization have done the latter. The lie that we must be secularist to be truly faithful is just one more shameful error on our pile.
A nation in which Christianity forges the identity of its people can reasonably be called a Christian nation even though Christianity transcends that nation. To be sure, America cannot reasonably call herself that at the moment, but she could again–provided that her Christian citizens begin fulfilling their vocations faithfully. The West’s only hope is a form of Christianity unmoderated by Satan’s temptations of full bellies, false piety, and worldly glory. It’s past time for Christians to decide which master they truly serve.