As a New Dark Age Descends Upon the West
The Judeo-Christian worldview was perhaps the most important element in the rise of Western civilisation. Other factors can be mentioned, but without the biblical worldview and its impact, the West as we know it would never have arisen. Many scholars and experts have spoken to this.
As just one example, American sociologist Rodney Stark has written a number of important volumes on these themes. Consider his seminal 2005 volume, The Victory of Reason. In it he says, “The success of the West, including the rise of science, rested entirely on religious foundations, and the people who brought it about were devout Christians.” He continues:
“To sum up: the rise of the West was based on four primary victories of reason. The first was the development of faith in progress within Christian theology. The second victory was the way that faith in progress translated into technical and organizational innovations, many of them fostered by monastic estates. The third was that, thanks to Christian theology, reason informed both political philosophy and practice to the extent that responsive states, sustaining a substantial degree of personal freedom, appeared in medieval Europe. The final victory involved the application of reason to commerce, resulting in the development of capitalism within the safe havens provided by responsive states. These were the victories by which the West was won.”
But the obverse of all this is also true. As Christianity goes, so too does Western culture. As we declare war on the very foundations of the West, we should not be surprised to see the West teetering on the brink. We have renounced our Christian heritage and are now surprised to see the whole thing falling to bits.
It is as C.S. Lewis once remarked, “We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.” We cannot expect the West to prosper and succeed when we are so busy kicking out from underneath it its very support system.
But the reversal of this whole process does differ in one fundamental respect. While it takes centuries, if not millennia, to develop a great civilisation, it takes but a moment to destroy it. As Sir Winston Churchill put it, “To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.”
Historians such as Will Durant could state this truth in this way: “From barbarism to civilization requires a century; from civilization to barbarism needs but a day.” And great literary figures could also bemoan this decline. As T. S. Eliot so powerfully warned back in 1948:
“If Christianity goes, the whole of our culture goes. Then you must start painfully again, and you cannot put on a new culture ready made. You must wait for the grass to grow to feed the sheep to give the wool out of which your new coat will be made. You must pass through many centuries of barbarism. We should not live to see the new culture, nor would our great-great-great-grandchildren: and if we did, not one of us would be happy in it.”
I mention all this because – if nothing else – my website is one long chronicle of the West’s slow but certain decline. Hundreds of articles here document this fundamental truth: when you attack Christianity, you attack the West which developed from it.
While most Western countries have been involved in this cultural suicide, one certainly has been leading the way. I refer to Britain, once known as Great Britain. Dozens of articles on this site have documented the war against faith there, and the slow slide into oblivion of the once great nation.
I am not alone of course in bewailing this major collapse of a nation. Just in today’s English press appeared an article which is well worth taking note of. The nation’s Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, has warned about this very matter. The title to the article runs as follows: “Chief Rabbi: Equality laws leading to new Mayflower exodus”.
The article begins this way: “New equality laws are forcing religious people to flee the country because they are being denied the freedom to live in accordance with their beliefs, the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, has warned. The Orthodox Jewish leader claimed that anti-discrimination policies had fuelled an ‘erosion of religious liberty’ in Britain that was leading to a new ‘Mayflower’, a reference to the flight of the persecuted Pilgrim Fathers to America in the 17th century.
“His comments follow growing alarm from leading religious figures over the increasing influence of equality laws. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, has called on the Prime Minister to review equality legislation amid concerns that religious freedoms and Britain’s Christian heritage are under threat.
“Speaking to the House of Commons public administration select committee, Lord Sacks said there was ‘no doubt’ numbers of religious believers in Britain were ‘extraordinarily’ low. He continued: ‘I share a real concern that the attempt to impose the current prevailing template of equality and discrimination on religious organisations is an erosion of religious liberty. We are beginning to move back to where we came in in the 17th century – a whole lot of people on the Mayflower leaving to find religious freedom elsewhere’.”
Much of this war against faith has come from quite small but quite vocal and active minority lobby groups, such as the radical feminists and homosexuals. The article continues, “Recent months have seen a series of clashes of rights reach the courts as a result of equality legislation which was introduced under Labour and designed to prevent discrimination on the grounds of religion or sexuality. Roman Catholic adoption agencies have closed because they cannot reconcile the requirements under the new laws with their belief that children should not be placed with gay couples.”
How ironic that a few short centuries ago Englishmen had been forced to flee their own nation to escape persecution and find some religious freedom. Now it seems it is happening all over again. The secular left jihad against faith and family values has been extremely powerful and quite successful.
Just now here in Australia an Englishman is finding himself being banned from one place after another, simply because he does not hold to the common wisdom on climate change. I have documented Lord Monckton’s woes elsewhere:
All over the Western world basic freedoms such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of conscience are being undermined, eroded, and trampled underfoot. With most of the West engaged in this war against faith, family and life, our only choice – if we must flee – is to go to the developing world where it may be much easier to live with Christian values and convictions.
The West, it seems, is descending into a new dark ages. May God have mercy on it – and on us.
25 Replies to “As a New Dark Age Descends Upon the West”
Thank-you for an excellent, if sobering article.
It reminds me of the speech Archbishop Chaput gave in Slovakia urging us to learn from the example of Christians under totalitarian governments. To quote him, “We live in a time when the Church is called to be a believing community of resistance. We need to call things by their true names. We need to fight the evils we see. And most importantly, we must not delude ourselves into thinking that by going along with the voices of secularism and de-Christianization we can somehow mitigate or change things. Only the Truth can set men free. We need to be apostles of Jesus Christ and the Truth he incarnates.” (http://www.archden.org/index.cfm/ID/4396) I recommend the entire speech for those concerned by the increasing attacks on Christianity (and Judaism) by the powers that be.
Many thanks for that Mishka. Great stuff.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Thanks for this post. I have just stumbled upon this site. What great work! I will be coming back time and time again.
Matt Viney, Brisbane
How appropriate that you write this today (July 1st) as the Greens take control of Australia.
Welcome on board. Blessings,
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Actually as I wrote this article I had forgotten all about the Greens. Yes you are quite right. Another nail in Australia’s and the West’s coffin.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
I must admit I’m having trouble with these attacks, such hopelessness overcomes me. Maybe I’m thinking, I’m only a mechanic and I haven’t had years of debating teams
and a good intellect. Maybe I’m just not clever enough to hear these disturbing trends that have formed and are forming people that visit and comment on this truly necessary site. I would just like to say thanks to the following people who have helped me. Although I don’t know them personally, the comments they have said over the months have helped me and my family.
Murray R. Adamthwaite
Thanks Bill! Great site. I too stumbled on your site–thanks to the folks at Ex-Gay Watch! I’m currently half-way through Michael J. Brown’s “A Queer Thing Happened to America.”
I hadn’t heard of Lord Monckton before, but I can see why the global-warming crowd is afraid to debate him. He’s completely disarming–funny, charming, witty–everything Al Gore, et al. are not.
Thanks for running the race, fighting the fight, keeping the faith!
Jonathan Edwards, USA
I’m afraid you’re right. It’s so sad seeing where my country is headed.
At least, Life (a pro-life charity) has been included for the first time ever on a government pregnancy advisory panel. They’re a minority voice, but finally there is a pro-life view represented there.
Looking at this speech by one of our Ministers, I do wonder what is going on – and how long before we women have to cover our hair!
There is good stuff happening. Really. And good solid Biblical churches and godly men and women. But it’s harder all the time. (And it feels all uncomfortable when the popular view is that right is wrong and wrong is right! More and more these days I feel like an outsider!)
Sue Dallibar, England
Making, building and restoring men (and women) from the devastation of sin (and the effects of trespasses against us) is God’s specialty! It is what the Church was intended for to tell the Good News and to facilitate Christ’s redemption and healing. It has to be done intentionally and with understanding of the spiritual and soul (mind/will/emotions) dysfunctions that are present.
People in the West are often the barely-walking wounded – almost half are dealing with addictions and divorce, at least a third have suffered abuse. Many have the bloodguilt, and wounds of abortion. Many did not grow up in a two parent home, or a healthy loving church and know nothing about Scripture or healthy relationships. Many have dabbled in the occult, pornography, promiscuity, internet gambling and drugs.
Fishers of men today need to learn how to clean and prep (for baptism and confirmation) fish that have been swimming in very toxic waters. The Early Church had the same problems dealing with pagans who came to Christ. They often spent a couple of years of preparation through instruction, renunciations, training and mentoring in prayer and the new Way of Truth, Love and Life.
Fortunately, as sin increases, grace increases even more. (Romans 5:20). Ministries are being raised up to meet these needs.
In the US, we are seeing a big rise in Christian ministries to those with issues stemming from sin and abuse: addictions, identity disorders, etc.
Pastors are being trained at Fuller University to help themselves and other people through longterm recovery: http://www.fullerinstitute.org/
There are two new ministries here in Florida that are aimed toward men who missed having the kind of examples of fathering and pastoring they needed to feel secure in their roles as men, husbands, fathers, males. These ministries provide men and boys with worship, Bible study, healthy brotherly and fatherly Christian love, honest talk, accountability, fellowship, adventure and just plain ful with healthy men to heal and build their masculine identity. (Return to Glory – http://www.return-to-glory.com/ and Fraternus – http://www.fraternus.net/)
Other ministries here are:
Celebrate Recovery begun at Saddleback in California, a recovery ministry for men, women, teens, children – http://www.celebraterecovery.com.au/
Tallahassee Healing Prayer Ministry (www.tallahasseehealingprayer.org/) which is overseen and staffed by trained Catholic and protestant prayer ministries and its statement of faith was written by a Catholic priest and a Methodist pastor. This ministry helps with the house-cleaning (renouncing occult, sexual sin, etc.) and healing from sin.
Our crisis pregnancy centers also have post-abortion healing classes.
These ministries could serve as ministry models for other Western churches that are faced with a nation (and church) full of severely broken people. We have to become a James 5:16 church in order to make a difference and walk in Christ together to the end.
The fields are white for the harvest. However, a simple altar call and a typical Sunday School class curriculum is not enough to save and disciple the church when so much baggage, deep wounds, bloodguilt, addictions to substances, behaviors like pornography, promiscuity, gambling, and other life-destructive habits of thought, word and deed are present.
Thanks be to God for the impossible He is able to do and for the wonderful changes He is making in human hearts….changes only His redeeming love and power can achieve.
Thanks for this great site, Bill Muehlenberg. I so appreciate your clear uncompromised thinking and writing.
See “The Need For A Militant Conservatism”
This is as much true for Oz as for the US
“Gays, a tiny fraction of the population, have been organized and militant. This is true of the left in general. Unions are barely ten percent of the workforce, but (aside from the recent exception of Wisconsin) they almost always get what they want, because they are always ready to strike, demonstrate, protest, intimidate politicians, and threaten violence. Blacks are a mere thirteen percent of the population, but they have practiced the arts of militant organizing, bloc voting, public rioting, and suing everybody in sight for the last fifty years. Consequently, they are given preferential treatment in hiring and university admissions, they are overrepresented in advertising campaigns, they have their own caucus in the House of Representatives, and they have received hundreds of billions in Federal aid programs. It is just about impossible to speak ill of blacks in a nation that supposedly guarantees free speech, no matter what the black-on-white crime rate is, the black homicide rate is, the black dropout rate is, or how many blacks are born out of wedlock and raised in single-parent homes. Blacks and gays are given special legal protection by “hate crimes” legislation that is almost never applied on behalf of white victims of black perpetrators or straight victims of gay perpetrators.
The combined numbers of gays, blacks, unions, and other groups comprising the left fail to outnumber conservatives. Yet conservatives have suffered defeat after defeat on almost every major issue for decades. Conservatives have been disorganized and passive, while leftists have been militant and united in their fifty-year quest to destroy every single traditional, bourgeois norm and value in American life — while smugly enjoying the security and economic prosperity that was created by those very same bourgeois norms and values.
Leftists have a nearly religious, cult-like devotion to their cause that conservatives don’t. They control the K-12 public-school curriculum. They have purged conservatives from the universities and from Hollywood; they patronize leftist businesses and contribute to leftist causes; they refuse to associate with conservatives socially or vote for them. They hire fellow leftists and fire conservatives. They have co-opted the power of government to give themselves preferential treatment by law and access to tax dollars paid into government coffers by the conservatives they despise. Conservatives have stupidly accepted all of this without retaliating.”
Bill, is the slide of the west into darkness “inevitable”? I mean, has it been prophecied either in the Word of God or after new testament times by godly men? As far as I know, both Jonathan Edwards and Smith Wiggelsworth have prophecied revivals in “the
Southland of the Holy Spirit, Jonathan Edwards even before it had been settled by Britain. I believe that 2 Chron 7:14 is still a promise, a call today
Daniel, I understand your reaction of depression to the information of all these terrible trends, which no doubt are true and worrying. However, the promis of Jesus remains that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the revelation of who He is, the Christ, the son of the Living God. which is in fact the foundation of the Church. That is where our focus surely is and must be. Looking around to see what bad things are happening is necessary at times but it will surely spur us on to run faster and more efficiently towards the LIght, Christ Jesus who is our goal.
Sybille, I appreciate your passion for healing, I just believe there is a way to prevent a lot of broken lives in the first place. As they say, a fence at the top of the cliff would be better than the ambulance at the bottom. I know, because i am one of the victims, of ungodly civil laws, though I don’t like to use that word much, because I know in the end I am responsible for what I did, but had I been born only 20 years earlier when divorce was still illegal I could have saved myself and others a lot of heart ache. Even rebellion thinks twice when it is faced withpainful consequences. The law is the school master that brings people to Christ. I see that as an important function of civil law and am therefore working very hard to restore our judeo Christian foundations in this country. Not only will this earthly life be made more harmonious, peaceful, prosperous, under the influence of godly government, but the preaching of the eternal gospel would be protected and promoted, be readily available and could be increasingly effective in a society that shows proud affection for and understanding of its Christian heritage.
In one sense nothing is inevitable. But in another sense we can say that men without God will inevitably keep sinking lower and lower. And unless God by his grace breaks in and sends revival, then things are bleak indeed. But I believe God is not yet finished with the West, as I state in this article: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2011/06/23/wilders-holland-and-hope/
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Surely the key passage to the Daily Telegraph article is this:
‘Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, called on the Chief Rabbi to withdraw his “foolish” statement and apologise for suggesting that his religion is not allowed to flourish in Britain. “If by religious freedom the Chief Rabbi means religious privilege, it is clear that he would be happier in some kind of theocracy,” he said. “Rather than fleeing this country, he should thank his God that he lives here and knows that he and his people are safe and free to practice their religion within the law. “The equality laws that he disparages are a wonderful achievement and something that most people – including many Jews – welcome as progressive, just and long overdue.’
Here we have the clearest statement of belief,that we can have from the secularists and cultural Marxists , that, like gods, they live as autonomous beings freed from the superstition of religion. The theocracy of secularism is the worship of himself and his lower instincts, a religion as old as man himself.
Our consumerist society, whose appetites for the transcendent can never be assuaged, desperate to break out of the deterministic box, is forced to make a leap into idolatry, narcissism, virtual reality, compensatory obsessions, comfort or stimulation, distraction and nihilistic acts of violence that will blot out the pain of man’s existential isolation and absurdity.
The laws against blasphemy in Britain were repealed in 2008, but they have been replaced by oppressive blasphemy against homosexuality, For the last decade Pink legislation has gone into overdrive to effectively silenced the whole of the British Nation.
Please read and see for yourself the shape of this new religion, called secularism. We in Britain are doomed to drink this bitter poison to its last dregs. Unless God intervenes.
David Skinner, UK
Maybe it is time for Christians to up sticks and take their skills to the developing nations and help them become strong bastians of freedom and godly progress.
I communicate with friends in Australia, especially out in the sticks, and I forget that for them the gay tsunami has not yet hit. But it will. This war is global: there is nowhere to run. We have no choice but to stand and fight where we are.
David Skinner, UK
Mishka, I believe that your article takes us right to the heart of the matter and that is that gay and secular idolatry does not believe in the sanctity of human life but see it as a commodity.
Crimes against humanity are predicated by a belief in human dignity and that human beings are not commodities but valuable in their own rights because they are made in the image of God. This takes us back to Genesis.
Like wise marriage is good in its own right and is not a commodity but a value in its own right because it images the relationship of the God head and the image of Christ’s relationship with the Church.
Thus we cannot argue against homosexuality on utilitarian grounds alone, because there are many people for whom the consequences of indulging in gay tastes, ie., promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases and paedophilia mean not a fig. We live in a time when many of our family members, friends, colleagues and neighbours are prepared to sacrifice their own children or parents on altar of work, prestige, status, material wealth, comfort and personal peace. We cannot side step telling people about the cross of Jesus, because in declaring war on what it means to be human, our protagonists have declared war on God.
David Skinner, UK
The darkness of this era will only be defeated through a return to Christian discipleship through mentoring, accountability and true and faithful individual and corporate worship and study/ingestion of Scripture.
Generations have learned the ways of darkness and must re-learn the Way of Love, Truth and Life in Christ Who is the Light of the World.
It takes dedication, time and practice to overcome the habits, hang-ups and hurts that poor parenting, cultural climate created intentionally by people with agendas operating in government, schools and media have implanted into our souls. Worship is the first line of spiritual warfare and the place where God’s healing and deliverance takes place. Early prayers of Exorcism of John Chrysostom and St. Basil are remarkable documents of almost unadulterated praise and worship of God. As we enter His Presence, open our hearts, focus on and love God, He imparts (downloads) Himself to us and transforms us…day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. Worship is also a place of refuge and rest, of refueling and redirection. It is the One Thing Necessary. Luke 10:42
I think David Skinner’s last comment sums it up “our protagonists have declared war on God”. However, I am seeing some evidence among my leftist friends (with whom I am at a crossroads) and news reports that people in England and USA are waking up to the disastrous unforeseen consequences of the nightmare scenario we are sleepwalking into. Thanks for this article and all the above contributions which attempt to draw together the many strands that make up the problem. Forewarned is forearmed.
Rachel Smith, UK
To Daniel Kempton, I see you mention my comments on past posts as having been a help to you and your family – Daniel, I am very touched by this and see it as a great honour to be acknowledged in this way. You often wonder if your posts encourage those who read them and your comment is an answer to something I have often wondered about but will need not wonder about any longer. In fact your acknowledgement will only now spur me on to greater heights. As for you being “only a mechanic”, never look upon yourself like this – to those who might look upon you like this, I would say to them – try fixing one of these modern day cars by yourself and see how far you get – you have a very important part to play Daniel and never ever be concerned about not being “clever” enough to hear things – you do not have to be clever to hear – it’s what you do about what you hear, that is the important part. God has looked after you by bringing you to this site as Bill is one of the most important people writing articles for our time so you are in good hands as to being informed. All the best mate and just keep on letting God guide you each day.
Hate to be pessimistic, but truth is many times unpleasant. Living in the West, the loneliness of the Christian worldview for a thinker, a spectator of life, a philosopher I suppose, borders on despair. What can thrive in such a culture? The material, technological, and organizational progress blinds the masses to regress in things that truly matter. What sort of character does the West create? What kind of person, what kind of desires do they encourage? What virtues does it encourage? A culture that promotes sexual anarchy has no right to call itself civilized in the proper sense. The question is, where do we turn to? American and Western cultural hegemony through the mass media is destroying the very fabric of traditional societies, societies whether Christian or not, based on natural law and common sense, i.e conservative principles.
“The Benedict Option”
Oxford Catholic Philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre wrote an excellent book demonstrating that it might be too late for the West to recover, that like the times of Roman civilizational decline, the only option for people of good will is to gather in Christian communities separating themselves from the nihilistic mainstream culture. This was lead by Benedict of Nursia, the 5th-century founder of Western monasticism, the man most responsible for preserving European Christian culture through the Dark Ages. Observation tends to confirm my view. There is no recovery, it has gone too far in moral depravity. So called Christians are mostly lukewarm. Only God can save us.
Read this excellent article very relevant to the topic under discussion.
STAT CRUX DUM VOLVITUR ORBIS
Julian, even if it is too late for the west, for those of us who have put our continuing trust into the saving grace and power of the Lord Jesus Christ, though we mourn for those who have chosen the way of death, we ourselves and those who will continue to respond to the Holy spirit there is an open door, a way out. As David Skinner pointed out earlier, it is the message of the cross that will save people, chiefly for eternity, but the fall-out will be felt in this life. I guess in our desperation to help people respond to the gospel, we have sometimes resorted to pragmatism in order to show people the tangible benefits of Christianity. This has tarnished and compromised the gospel and I myself am guilty of having done so. But as C.S. Lewis has said in “Man or Rabbit”, “If Christianity is true then every honest man would want to follow it even if it doesn’t give him any help at all”. That is quite a challenge under which I have buckled many times and continue to ask the Lord to help me stand up under. Heb 12:1-4 sums it up I think.
It’s funny you know, just when I’m at the end my trying, praying – re-assembling my emotions- Being positive – reading Gods word etc etc and about to give and think there’s No hope for the church, something happened.
God in his infinite wisdom has in the last 4 days placed me in 2 different church committees.
They both want – and mind you from 2 different churches – me to help them take the church to the people rather than the usual, get them in the building scenario.
I’m in shock.
Daniel, remember when I said in my last post addressed to you above that you have an important part to play? Looks like that part has just shown up, now let God lead you and see the result!
Steve, thanks for the kind words and encouragement.