A Helpful Reminder

In my life I have heard plenty of Christians complain about what was in the Old Testament. They complain of the violence, the treatment of people, especially women, and the overall awfulness of the law and on and on. What I have explained to many of them is this: those were pagan times- awfulness is to be expected.

Most don’t get it. I don’t think it is because they are incapable; rather, I think most don’t want to really process what it all means. It demands too much of them, especially giving up on comfortable notions of how things are, or should be.

Which brings me to the main point of this post, and the reminder I try to keep in my mind all the time now:

America is a pagan country.

[And by extension, so is the whole of the West.]

When something horrific happens here, we shouldn’t be surprised. That kind of behavior is to be expected of pagans. Which is what the vast, overwhelming majority of Americans are.

Sure, the majority of the country might identify as Christian. But their everyday actions show them to be anything but disciples of Christ. The percentage of actual Christians, and I use that term very broadly, is probably in the low single digits.

My experience has been that some people (folks sincerely trying to be Christians) will not get this.

Others will get it on a surface level. They will know it is the case, but have trouble really grasping the full extent of what that means.

Only a handful will be able to appreciate the full magnitude of what living in a pagan country entails.

Unfortunately, I think that as events move forward, more and more people will end up in that latter camp. The cruel instructor that is reality has many harsh lessons in store for all of us in the years ahead.

However, I think we can do ourselves a service by keeping that reminder in place. We can prepare ourselves for what is to come, if only mentally.

 

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15 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Churchianity, Civilization, Red Pill, The Church

15 responses to “A Helpful Reminder

  1. Ame

    James 1:13 “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

    James is speaking to Believers here, but the concept is the same. what has been conceived must give birth.

  2. fuzziewuzziebear

    It is off topic, but, in reading the first paragraph, it reminded me that people can only see things through the lens of their contemporary view. An historical movie will tell you more about when it was made than the time period portrayed.
    As for your conclusion that we live in pagan times, it does cut to the heart of it. However, I don’t think there is anything that runs parallel to what we are experiencing.

  3. It is true that they were pagan times, or rather pre-Christian times. But this is a worse reply than saying nothing, because it encourages the false belief that our moral level is higher today. Rather, our moral level is lower than that of the Hebrews and the pagans. We shame ourselves if we try to excuse the patriarchs the times they lived in: instead, we should defend them as far excelling us morally. The violence and the treatment of women were all far, far superior to modern morals and laws. That’s the real battlefield here.

  4. I think that people forget that God condemned all of humanity to death back in the garden of Eden for sin. With God being holy and being offended by our sin, I find it amazing that He doesn’t wipe us all out for our sin. So, God’s command to the Israelites to eliminate certain tribes seems small potatoes to me. They were under the sentence of death anyway and it’s God’s prerogative to decide when the deaths will occur and in what manner.

  5. MK

    Good post. One thing I believe you didn’t touch on enough? How most self-described American Christians (and I mean the ones who take their religion fairly seriously ) are almost worst, light years away from what historical Christians believed and lived out. It’s a completely different religion. People claim “Christ” but that’s a different person, reinvented to match modern times. MTD (Moralistic Therapeutic Deism) is probably the best description I’ve seen of American Christianity. Even the folk who read the bible regularly? Aren’t much better. They just ignore what they don’t like and misinterpret the rest to fit their lifestyle. On very key lifestyle issues, the nature of sin, obedience, everything.

    But nobody is immune. I read the early Church and Saints to try and escape from modern sensibilities, and read the Scriptures the same way, but it’s hard. Requires constant effort.

  6. Novaseeker

    To a certain degree it has always been likely that the majority of people who claimed to be Christian were not actually Christian. I don’t think that’s new.

    What is new, however, is that the culture is now turning against Christianity. That is something we haven’t had since the time of early Church. It’s not that the culture was “Christian” — that overstates it substantially and distorts it. But it was a culture that (1) saw itself as being in some way tied to Christianity, even if extremely imperfectly and (2) did not therefore see Christianity and its traditional moral values as being fundamentally inimical to itself and therefore “other” and even “evil and immoral”. This is what we are facing, and it is new — or at least very old, and something we haven’t faced for well over a millenium — which in effect means that most Christians, including most clergy, are not equipped to face it.

    I honestly think what we are going to see in the coming years and decade(s) is the marginalization of traditional Christian values in American Protestant Christianity. So something calling itself Christianity will continue to be the majority religion, at least in the US, for a while still, but the values of this Christianity will become conformed more or less completely to the values of the culture — tolerance for diversity of all kinds, acceptance and affirmation of acts and lifestyles which traditional Christian values consider sinful, conflation of grace with self-esteem and feeling good, and so on. The basic elements of the emergent culture will be baptized and brought into Christianity and will become the dominant form of Christianity in the US. Traditional believers will be marginalized as haters, bigots, hidebound throwbacks — misguided at best and evil, deeply immoral people at worst. This is what is coming, and it means that any of us who are traditional believers, whether we are Protestants or not, are going to be impacted by it, because they will not only marginalize traditional Protestant believers.

    Therefore the way that this will take place is, I think, important. There will be great pressure for Christians to apostatize into the new non-Christian religion (millions have already done so, of course, as MK points out). The ones who resist this pressure will be marginalized by the apostates and it will be very ugly, I expect, “inside” of what the overall secularizing culture considers “Christianity”. That is, I expect that the culture as a whole will largely let this fight play out inside Christianity as long as the traditionalists do not get the upper hand — which I do not expect — in which case the secular environment will intervene in some way. This means is important, really, because it will “Christian” against Christian — something which has happened before of course but something which few Christians, even of traditional bents, are expecting.

  7. Ame

    very, very interesting. i already see this … a lot.

    minor example: yoga pants. HUGE controversy for a good while among (at least female) Christians. i would see women write, “I am a Christian, and God told me *not* to wear yoga pants!” … and then other women would write, “I am a Christian and God told me it is *okay* to wear yoga pants!”

    other examples where i’ve seen Christians strongly divided (and warring against each other / strongly judging one another): bathing suits, movies, the extent to which women are involved, alcohol, skirts/pants, schooling … .

  8. Lost Patrol

    What I have explained to many of them is this: those were pagan times- awfulness is to be expected.

    And…these are pagan times-awfulness is to be expected (to track with IB’s rejoinder). As theasdgamer indicates, people are going to go by the wayside. Perhaps surprisingly large (massive) numbers of people.

    This is an excellent post and comments. A storm is coming and is already here. Nova explains the details that, as Ame says we can see unfolding right now. MK says nobody is immune and this will become increasingly clear. The Protestants are leading the waywardness, with some formerly highly conservative denominations already about to crash and burn, while others are being slower and more circumspect about bringing in a new moral relativism; but even among my RCC friends and relations the cracks are expanding. They are at odds over birth control, homosexuality, pre-marital sex, etc; as well as yoga pants and the rest of the pop culture too.

    @Novaseeker
    I expect that the culture as a whole will largely let this fight play out inside Christianity as long as the traditionalists do not get the upper hand

    Whether it’s shopping bible verses or the catechism as needed, it feels like this stage of the game is underway.

  9. Novaseeker

    @Ame —

    Yes, those kinds of skirmishes have been happening already. I think the difference between them, on the one hand, and the SSM issue, on the other, is that while the differences you’re mentioning there are very divisive and cause a lot of rancor, they generally haven’t resulted so far in people disowning each other as morally capable Christians — at least not to any large degree. People may think these are personal acts of some immorality (immodesty and so on), or that the critics are guilty of self-righteousness and prudishness and so on, but these are a different order of magnitude from what the accusation is about SSM: the failure to affirm the equal status of a SSM to your own, and not just civilly, but morally/spiritually/righteously, is going to be treated the same way that publically refusing to affirm a marriage between people of two different races. That is — it isn’t going to be a divisive yet tolerated difference of personal practice and moral opinion, but an opinion which is monstrous, evil and profoundly un-Christian at its very core, and therefore one not subject to any kind of modus vivendi whatsoever.

    This is why this specific issue is different and is almost the perfect cultural wedge/bludgeon to try to stamp out traditional Christian morals on sex once and for all. I realize that this is a peripheral issue to what we discuss in these parts of the internet (and I also do not discuss it much here), but the issue will find one even if one does not want to discuss it, really, because one will be required to affirm. One won’t be able to hide on this issue, because there will be same sex couples affirmed by the church in the church itself, serving in ministry and so on, fully integrated into the church. One will either affirm by one’s presence, or one will leave, but the leavers are going to be very marginalized by the non-leavers in the broader culture, both inside Christianity and outside it. This will be more intense than the divisions that took place regarding ordination of gay people in some churches, as divisive as those were, because marriage is more visceral and alive to everyone in the culture, Christian and not, than ordination is, and we just underwent a complete transformation in the broader culture about this specific issue (whereas the broader culture couldn’t care less which church ordains gays (other than as political fodder to use against the traditionalist wing in the culture overall), and the Christians fighting over the issue knew that). Comparisons to Fred Phelps won’t take very long to be made, as much as they may represent hyperbole in fact.

    This is where the willingness to be somewhat apart and somewhat less dependent on mainstream social and economic elements will become increasingly important, including church life, in the years ahead. We will have to learn to endure this, to be anti-fragile about this, and quickly.

  10. Ame

    Novaseeker,

    your analysis is very intriguing to me, and this is all very personal to me. my ex-in-laws are retired from full-time ministry and drew some very distinguishable lines that made me ‘heathen’ and them ‘godly.’ it wasn’t anywhere near the level of same-sex relationships, but it was harsh. and it led to the downfall of our marriage b/c they were so critical they made their son (my husband) choose between them and me – not directly so, but intensely passive-aggressively so. since his death, they are trying to use his estate (of which they have full control) to manipulate our two daughters. i am so grateful and proud of my girls as both have walked away from considerable money so as to not become ensnared in their net. i have no doubt i am hated even more than i was as they believe i am leading my daughters ‘astray.’

    in the midst of this i determined many years ago to separate God and the bible from ‘organized church’ and ‘church people’ so my daughters wouldn’t equate the two. by the grace of God my daughters do not, and so they are able to have strong, foundational relationships with God while not being engaged with the organized church.

    also … another family-of-origin member is very involved in the SS support within the church. i have stayed far from it, but there is the strong under-current that they are a-okay with God because they believe they are.

    i also have family members who have fully justified their past by saying God has not only forgiven them but has remembered their sin no more – it’s as ‘far as the east is from the west,’ so everyone else should, too, including those they harmed. they believe there is no room for a need to regain respect or trust because God has forgiven and forgotten.

    the petty stuff, like yoga pants, becomes critically and judgementally divisive among women and within women’s groups. it becomes a dare – i dare you to disagree with what GOD told me was okay. this draws all the focus off God and His Holy Word … laying the foundation for bigger stuff. (women and the herd plays HUGE here).

    i also see a lot of women writing of SSA and choosing sides – all in the name of God.

    this may all stay within the Christian community, but God will not be mocked. the bible is also clear that God is not limited in His resources to stamp out wickedness – even using evil people to take out those who say they believe.

    as always, we live in ‘interesting times.’ what is conceived will always give birth following some sort of gestational period of time. yet, God has and is willing to abort the full consequences of our sin when we repent and turn from our wicked ways and honor Him. life also has a way of separating the sheep from the wolves in sheeps clothing. those who truly believe will not be able to not believe, and their faith will become stronger as God enables them to remain strong and faithful. the path leading to Life will always be narrow and there will always be few who find it, and the path leading to Destruction will always be wide and well traveled. the older i get, the more painful this is to watch.

  11. Nkn

    You left out that there were human hybrids and other abominations in the OT which lead to the flood and later to the Israelites cleansing the promise land. Read the news, it is full of scientific achievements. Christ said that as the days of Noah so should the end be. He did not mean just sin. The OT, Jude and Rob Skiba on youtube helps.

  12. Novaseeker

    Ame —

    I think you’re quite right that this kind of thing has been underway in many ways for some time. There will be more challenges ahead, I think, for all of us.

  13. MK

    I guess I somewhat welcome the fake “cultural unity” mask slipping. America has been a great run but post 1970 we are living on borrowed time. Tne newer, solidifying lines are easier to navigate as a family for us.

    Ame: bathing suits, movies, alcohol, skirts/pants, schooling
    Flash points, yes. But family size/birth control, media/TV, phones, SAHM, sit-down-from-scratch-meals, & divorce? These seem more delineating.

    Ame: God told me it is *okay* to wear yoga pants!
    This Sunday: 2 lithe girls in yoga pants dead ahead of me to receive the body, blood, soul, & divinity of Jesus. Should we be grateful? At least God must be telling only the attractive girls to wear yoga pants.

  14. Ame

    MK,
    “Ame: bathing suits, movies, alcohol, skirts/pants, schooling
    Flash points, yes. But family size/birth control, media/TV, phones, SAHM, sit-down-from-scratch-meals, & divorce? These seem more delineating.”

    ummm … yes 🙂 … and i’ve experienced something with all of those.

    i’ve cooked from scratch all my life. interesting how many friends of my daughters grew up in homes where this was not common. made homemade pizza once – homemade crust, sauce – and this one sweet girl just couldn’t eat it/didn’t like it. it wasn’t delivered or frozen. another time i was talking with a working mom about things i did with food for our family, and she told me that a working mom would never have time to do all that. she’s probably right.

    “Ame: God told me it is *okay* to wear yoga pants!
    This Sunday: 2 lithe girls in yoga pants dead ahead of me to receive the body, blood, soul, & divinity of Jesus. Should we be grateful? At least God must be telling only the attractive girls to wear yoga pants.”

    Ha!
    Seriously … what people wear to church sometimes. i actually have some strong opinions about a lot of that but it’s not worth getting into b/c it never changes anyone’s mind and only causes another hot argument that’s pointless. the ‘purity culture’ backfired and swung the pendulum far in the opposite direction. apparently people have a difficult time finding ‘balance.’

  15. Pagans gonna Pag’.

    Donal, at first I was going to disagree with you. Until you said this:

    “When something horrific happens here, we shouldn’t be surprised. That kind of behavior is to be expected of pagans. Which is what the vast, overwhelming majority of Americans are.”

    I have seen this time and time again. I have some friends who know each other from a homeschool Science team we were in. One of the fathers, a Protestant Trad-Con, is always getting in Facebook arguments with one of the young women, who was raised in a Unitarian-Universalist family. They argue about abortion. And the father is constantly saying that “Women just need to keep their pants on.” Unitarian girl constantly rejects that. Mr. Trad-Con just doesn’t understand that chastity is a fruit of the Spirit. It’s not something we can expect in pagans. Even in Christians we can only expect it because of the transforming work of Christ. If we expect pagans to act like Christians, and then make policies based on that expectation, we are going to have problems.

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