The World is Reborn in Bethlehem

On the Eve of Christmas under the reckoning of our Orthodox brethren, we are pleased to offer a Guest Post by Mark Citadel:

At a time when Eastern Christianity celebrates Christmas (as per the Julian calendar), the importance of Christ’s birth is more often misunderstood than it is underemphasized. Indeed, for the true Christian who sees beneath the surface of what holidays have become, Easter (or Pascha) is far more important than Christmas, for it contains the recognition of action on the part of Christ to redeem mankind so that he may not perish from the Way. Whether this action is more fully defined by sacrifice or victory is irrelevant to the event’s significance as such. Events surrounding the death of Christ are adorned with symbolism, and areas of vagueness that have intrigued theological study for centuries. Yet of course without birth there is no death, and thus to ponder the Incarnation itself is necessary for a richer understanding of His final significance.Frithjof Schuon wrote on the nature of the risen Lord:

If the Incarnation has the significance of a “descent” of God, Christ is thus equivalent to the whole of creation, containing it in a way; he is a second creation, which purifies and “redeems” the first.

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Open Thread: Bright Lights Under the Shadow of the Hideous Strength

Orthospherean Dale Nelson commented on my recent post about That Hideous Strength:

Interested readers can find my old commentary on That Hideous Strength [at Bruce Charlton’s Notion Club Papers, Bright Lights Under the Shadow of the Hideous Strength: The St. Anne’s Household — and Our Own Households.] Printed, it runs to about 60 pages including its appendices. It could use some revision but I think there is a lot of good material in it. It was originally prepared as a paper for a Christian retreat in rural Wisconsin. If anyone reads it and would like to discuss it, could The Orthosphere host that discussion?

That Hideous Strength is indeed an inspiring work, and my paper provides some leads for further reading.

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Should the West Consider Christ’s Victory?

We are pleased to offer another guest post by blogger Mark Citadel.

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In Gustav Aulén’s 1931 book Christ the Victor, he writes, “the work of Christ is first and foremost a victory over the powers which hold mankind in bondage: sin, death, and the devil.”

Such a concept is unsurprisingly alien to most Western readers who have for so long been believers in a very different theory of atonement, that is, what exactly occurred at the metaphysical level during our Savior’s crucifixion. While Aulén’s theory would not have been at all controversial before the turn of the first millennium after Christ, when the east and west were divided, the western portion of the Occident was heavily influenced by the works of St. Anselm of Canterbury and his book Cur Deus Homo?, which was published in 1097. It’s important we understand what this model puts forth.

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Wm. Lewis on Lawrence Auster on Christian Vulnerability to Liberalism

In a comment here at the Orthosphere, Wm. Lewis quotes Lawrence Auster to great effect in responding to the claim made by some that Protestantism is the mother of Liberalism:

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Some commenters have observed, correctly, that formerly Protestant countries are in the vanguard of liberalism and its destruction of the West. This is due not to some defect within Protestantism; formerly Roman Catholic countries are also being destroyed by liberalism. We also see leaders within the Roman Catholic Church advancing liberal destruction (e.g., American bishops advocating open borders), so vulnerability to liberalism is unique neither to Protestantism nor to Roman Catholicism.

Whence this weakness to liberalism? Any number of factors could be cited, but one of the most important is the inherent risk, as Lawrence Auster put it, of Christian society: Continue reading

Will We Ever See the End of the Liberal College Professor?

A guest post by Richard Cocks:

There is a pathology responsible for many seemingly unrelated problems besetting higher education: liberalism. Once we understand the liberal mindset, we can identify the cause of the problems and what can be done about it.

One problem involves standards. Less and less is expected of students. So many different things contribute to this that it may be regarded as ‘over-determined;’ i.e., any one of these things might be enough to have the same result. The liberal mind, however, doesn’t even have the necessary tools to address the problem. For many liberals the idea of a canon itof great works is anathema. It is seen as elitist. The canon typically gets replaced with books regarded as politically, not literarily, worthy – designed to highlight issues of gender, class and race. Thus, students are not primarily being asked to understand difficult, challenging books that provide a source of cultural literacy, but mostly to parrot back the liberal political views of their teachers.

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The Puritan question

A guest post by commenter JMSmith:

In an interesting post, Foseti returns to the Puritan Question, and affirms that “one key tenet” of Neoreaction is that Progressivism is a “nontheistic Christian sect.”  No doubt there is much to be gained by understanding Progressivism as a messianic movement, and much to be regretted in the fact that Progressive chiliasts were so long cosseted in the cradle of Christian culture, but Progressivism is not a nontheistic Christian sect.  It is that old skin-changer Gnosticism, now divested of Christian symbols, acting under a new guise suited to the sensibilities of nontheistic men and women.

I suggest that the real Puritan Question is, what exactly is Puritanism?  To frame the question in Aristotelian terms, we should ask, which attributes are essential to Puritanism, and which are accidental?  And then, more specifically, we should ask, whether Christianity (however loosely defined) is one of these essential attributes, or whether it was only accidentally, contingently, and temporarily associated with this essentially alien spiritual tendency?

My answer is, obviously, that the association was accidental.

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Humanitarian Humbug and Hostility

A guest post by commenter JMSmith:

When we say that Western Civilization is post-Christian, we do not mean that Christianity has become irrelevant.  It will not be irrelevant so long as we continue to be defined in a vital way by our answers to the decisive question that Jesus posed to his disciples: “whom say ye that I am?”  To this question three basic answers are possible.  There is the orthodox Christian answer that he is the Son of the triune God, there is the infidel answer that he was a silver-tongued grifter, and there is the humanitarian answer that he was an exemplary human being and harbinger of what all men will one day become.  We are post-Christian because the first answer is not so popular as it once was, but also because the question itself remains vital and decisive.

Today the humanitarian answer is the most respectable, and quite possibly the most popular.  It avoids the offensive nastiness of the infidel answer and the metaphysical mysteries of the orthodox answer, so it appeals to people who aspire to be nice and normal.   Moreover, it carries the flattering implication that these nice and normal people are also more than a little Christ-like.  The question is, are they Christian?

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Christians Did Not Build “The Cathedral”

A guest post by commenter JMSmith:

If you are a conservative Christian, you have no doubt been assailed with the allegation that your religion leans to the left. This has been said by godless leftists, who wish to set you marching under the red banner, and this has been said by godless rightists, who wish to convert you, or purge you, or maybe just pull your nose. And because there are some trace elements of truth in this allegation, your may be tempted to believe what these mountebanks say.

You shouldn’t.

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Is It Possible to Discriminate and Still Be a Christian?

This is a guest post by regular commenter Finn McCool

This very question has been percolating in my mind for many years now. I am a middle-aged man and I have never heard a sermon preached in any church which did not at least tacitly affirm the standard liberal view; i.e. that all discrimination is sinful. You may be wondering if I have any standing that would qualify me to speak on such a delicate subject. Well, I can tell you that I am an ordained presbyter, with orders in one of the conservative “alphabet soup” Anglican groups (e.g. ACC, ACNA, APCK, REC, etc.). I have an M. A. in Theology from a conservative, evangelical seminary, and I have been employed as a Bible instructor in a small Christian high school for close to ten years. I teach the Bible for a living, and in working through the scriptures I am daily reminded that the Triune God of the Bible is far tougher than the Unitarian god in whom “we trust” as Americans.

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Testing Among the Far Right’s Theories

A guest post by commenter Bill:

Various strands of the far right are divided on both normative matters (what is the good) and positive matters (what is happening/ how does the world work). Consider specifically positive theories of US elite behavior. Why does our evil elite behave as it does?

Furthermore, consider not proximal, instrumental causes but distal, more final causes. Saying “people talk and do nonsense about gay marriage, sluts, secular materialism, etc because it is high status to do so” is true. But it’s like saying “that wall exists because a carpenter cut, positioned, and drove nails into two-by-fours in just such a way.” And, let us tease out predictions, so that one can test among theories.

The more respectable part of the far right sees its conflict with modernity as a conflict of ideas within an ethno-cultural space which is not essentially contested. Modernity is what HBD types might call a meme disease or mind virus. Bad ideas have leaked into the Western elite mind, taken it over, and ruthlessly replicated themselves. That these ideas have differential effects on different sub-populations is incidental. Interesting, perhaps; relevant, perhaps, but not central. The ideas are central.

The less respectable part of the far right sees its conflict with modernity as a conflict with people/cultures. The world is made up of ethno-cultural groupings who are inevitably in a struggle with one another. Modernity, meaning the ideas of modernity, is, for this strain of the right, just a weapon which the currently ascendant ethno-cultural group happens to be using to great effect against the currently subjugated ethno-cultural groups.

I can’t resist quoting the Illinois Nazis from the Blues Brothers: “The Jew is using the Black … against you!!” Not all people-centric rightists believe this exact thing, but this is the kind of thing they believe. Contrast this with the idea-centric rightist view that progressives are caught in a delusional thought-pattern called “liberal creationism.”

On to our prediction-generating question: Whither progressives’ solicitous attitudes towards blacks as progressives’ power continues to grow?

On the idea-centric view of progressivism, we should see these attitudes harden, expand, and be promoted more forcefully as progressives’ power waxes. These ideas are, evidently, central for them. Furthermore, the rebellion of non-elite whites has been the big impediment to their expression—the courts’ giving up on school busing, for example, was synchronous with Reagan’s victory in the early 80s. As non-elite whites lose power, so progressives gain the ability to put these ideas more into force.

On the people-centric view of progressivism, we should see these attitudes end. Blacks have been a useful hammer for destroying two rival ethno-cultural groupings: Southern whites and urban Catholics. As rigor mortis settles in to those groupings and as they additionally become irrelevant in electoral calculus, hitting them becomes pointless and costly. Even better, there is now a much more congenial brown hammer which can be deployed. So, the black hammer gets put down.

So, when the day comes when progressives are so powerful that they will never again need big black turnout to win in FL and the rust belt, we shall see which prediction is bourn out. What year? 2030 maybe? By 2050 for sure.