There are various reasons why the secular left seems to win so many battles, while their opponents are not doing so well. Obviously in the West today the mainstream media is by and large well onside with the various secular left agendas. That is because most people in the MSM are secular lefties.
And that is not by accident. The secular left has long known that in order to capture a culture, you have to take over its institutions of power and influence. So the cultural Marxists have targeted the media, politics, education, the arts, and even the churches for quite some time now.
And they have been very successful in doing this. Whereas one hundred years ago most of these institutions in the West basically shared the Judeo-Christian worldview, today almost all of them basically share the secular humanist worldview.
And again, this did not just happen, but it was deliberately brought about. The activists knew that if they were to win, they would have to be in the struggle for the long haul, and they would have to focus on the big picture. They had to see the bigger issues, and they had to be willing to work at it for as long as was necessary.
And because of that they have been scoring one victory after another. But when it comes to the culture wars and the bigger ideological wars, those representing conservative and Christian values have done far less well in this regard. They have not really looked at the bigger picture, and they have not focused on the longer term.
Too often they simply lurch from one crisis to another. They will react to the latest threat and mount a rear-guard action, but they have done so very little offensive work or preventative work. Thus each new attack they are forced to defend against, be it the so-called safe schools programs, the war against marriage, the porno plague, and so on.
And it is quite right that they respond to these attacks of course, and sometimes it is just the nature of the beast to be so often in defensive mode, with a relentless string of attacks coming from the other side. But they are launching their attacks from a position of strength: by and large they have already completed the long march through the institutions, and have captured the culture.
The very thing cultural Marxists like Antonio Gramsci agitated for and promoted has been wildly successful. By capturing the culture, they can now pretty easily win the various political fights. As Chuck Colson and others have rightly said, politics is downstream from culture.
So if we are not winning the broader battle for culture, and if we are not winning the bigger battle of ideas, then we will keep losing the political fights, be it over marriage or what have you. And this goes back to the fact that most conservatives and most Christians have not thought in terms of the bigger picture, nor have they been prepared to engage in the longer term.
And there are various reasons why this has been the case. Many Christians for example think politics and culture are the devil’s tools, and we should not be involved in either. Or they think we should just save souls and evangelise and not worry about transforming society. Or they think we are in the last days and it is a waste of time working for the long haul in the world around us.
Elsewhere I have argued why we should reject such faulty and unbiblical thinking. But here I am just offering a few brief reasons why we are always behind the eight ball, and always playing catch-up ball. The truth is, we do not know when exactly Christ will return, and Jesus told us to occupy till he comes. We should be working in every area of life, not surrendering everything God has made to the other side.
We keep losing by default because we are not even in the contest most times. We have relinquished our responsibility to be salt and light, and then complain as we see more and more secularisation, immorality, and anti-Christian agendas being implemented. Well duh, much of this is our fault. We are not even involved in these battles, yet we wonder why we keep losing.
Thus our schools, our media, our arts, our social and cultural institutions are all pretty much captured by the radicals. We handed it to them on a silver platter, and now we are trying to stem the tide. But to keep mixing metaphors, the horse has already bolted.
Sure, we still fight where and when we can. We still fight the lousy sexualisation of our children, the wholescale slaughter of the unborn, the destruction of marriage and family, etc. But if we want to get serious about all this, we really must look at the longer term and really think in terms of the bigger picture.
Of course we redouble our efforts to evangelise. Of course we redouble our effort to pray and engage in spiritual warfare. But we must also start thinking about the culture, and start getting proactive here. If the Lord should tarry, there is so much that can and should be done.
Seeking to engage the culture alone will not solve all our problems. Seeking to engage politics alone will not solve all our problems. Seeking to pray only while refusing to put feet to our prayers will not solve all our problems. We must do all these things.
We must pray more and we must work more. It is not one or the other but both. The other side has known how effective it is to do the hard work of capturing a culture, and we need to learn from them – or learn from our own past. The truth is, at one point Christians were also world changers and culture shapers.
But we have largely given all that away. And now we wonder why things are in such a mess. But if the other side can be so dedicated and committed in their attempts to remake the world into their own image, then how much more people who claim to be disciples of Christ?
We read about the early church that they turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6). But today most believers can’t even turn off their TV. No wonder we are getting nowhere. The first answer to all this is get on our faces before God and repent of our apathy, our carelessness and our compromise.
Then we need to go back and study some church history. We have so many wonderful examples of world changers and history makers. We need more of these champions today, whether a Wilberforce or a Booth or a Kuyper, etc. They all thought in terms of the long haul and the big picture.
We can no longer go about life with a blasé, business-as-usual approach. We live in extraordinary times so we need extraordinary men and women to stand up and be counted. I love what one American culture warrior, Melissa Moschella, said a few years ago:
Perhaps there are times and places in the history of the world in which it is possible to go through life as just an ordinary, good person – a faithful spouse, a loving parent, a concerned citizen, a regular church-goer, an honest and industrious professional – leading a normal, quiet life, not making waves or standing out in any way. Perhaps. But the United States of America in the year 2014 is not one of those times and places. Rather, in our contemporary society, the only way to be good is to be heroic. Failing to act with heroism inevitably makes us complicit in grave evils.
Can I get an amen to that one?