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Let the chattering classes sneer – Christianity still shapes our hearts and minds


Why the steady erosion of distinctive Western culture or national identity? Universities are gradually ousting the traditional Western canon produced by those noxious ‘dead white males’. Vote-hungry politicians eager to acknowledge Eid and Diwali are yet reluctant to put anything more distinctive than ‘Happy Holidays’ on their Christmas cards. Flying the flag of St George gives rise to suspicion that you are a fascist.

The Brexit vote was anathema to the elites for a straightforward reason: the globalist project promoted by those eager to extend their authority requires porous frontiers and weak national cultures if their multinational corporations are to flourish. A borderless multicultural society is less likely to resist the free movement of people which keeps wages down and workers weak.

Resistance to the steady erosion of Western culture by the anti-national, anti-cultural, anti-traditionalist thrust of globalisation and its secular elites requires an understanding and appreciation of our own identity, culture, customs, traditions and religion, and a determined effort to recover their place in national life.

If social conservatism is anything it is a movement of redemption, motivated by a desire to recognise and recover the traditions and principles which made the West the primary source for social, political, scientific and cultural advance in the world. Social conservatives are not merely nostalgic for a lost past: we wish to maintain and see flourish that culture which is an unsurpassed foundation for human development and creativity.

Other cultures have their merits, but none has produced the combination of respect for individual liberty, the rule of law and desire to develop creation which we find in the West. Islam has respect for law, but at the price of individual liberty. Buddhism has respect for all life, and a great incuriosity for scientific development.

Western civilisation, in which Britain has played a major part, is rooted in a uniquely classical and Christian vision of the world. Our literature, music, art, technology, science and politics have all been nurtured from these roots. They have shaped our overall vision of life and what it means to be human.

Although rejecting the Christianity in which he was raised, Jordan Peterson recognises the formative influence of Christianity in Western civilisation. In his book 12 Rules for Life he says: ‘The Bible is, for better or worse, the foundational document of western civilization . . . Its careful, respectful study can reveal things to us about what we believe and how we do and should act that can be discovered in almost no other manner’ (page 104).

Despite the progressive celebration of everything non-Western, we should remember who it was who built the modern world. Without the much-derided dead white males there would be little in modern Western civilisation worth celebrating. We would still be walking everywhere in home-made boots and our life expectancy would make seventeen a suitable age for a mid-life crisis.

We are where we are as a civilisation because of the incredible things previous generations in the West have produced and created: a society without equal. Others recognise this: why else would a stream of people from the Middle East and Africa risk their lives trying to break into Europe? They know we have produced something very much better than anything they have built at home.

The Marxist cultural long march claims to have displaced Christianity as a culture-shaping force. Progressives should remember that you can’t enjoy the fruit after you have cut down the tree.

Christianity may be rejected by the progressive opinion-formers, but it has not been displaced in the minds and hearts of the people, and it still influences them. A recent poll conducted by Pew Research indicates that in Western Europe there is a significant link between Christianity and social attitudes.

Practising and non-practising Christians (those who self-identify as Christians, but infrequently attend church services) still make up the biggest share of the population across the region. If we include the many social conservative atheists and agnostics who acknowledge the importance of Christianity as a continuing cultural force, we find a substantial majority.

Pew Research also found this was more than a ‘tick in the box at census time’ attachment. Christian identity is an influential and meaningful marker for the majority of Europeans. ‘Christians as a whole in Western Europe tend to express higher levels of nationalist sentiment . . . at all levels of religious observance, these views are more common among Christians than among religiously unaffiliated people in Europe.’

The elites in politics, universities, business and the media who downplay or ignore the place of Christianity in the West are refusing to acknowledge the uncomfortable views of the majority of the people. Europe has seen the rise of populist parties because professional politicians are unwilling to respond to their concerns about the destruction of traditional principles and values.

Fiscal probity in government, security of borders, protection of the family, marriage and the right to life: these are all issues which concern everyday people but are avoided or downplayed by politicians unless forced. Few professional politicians, especially in the supposedly Conservative Party, are prepared to invite the scorn of the media.

Attempts to speak of and apply the Christian values in public life will inevitably produce sneers and derision from the chattering classes. So what? If politicians hesitate at the prospect of being labelled ‘phobic’ by someone with a 2:2 in contemporary dance theory they don’t deserve a vote.

And if we hesitate to speak out in defence of our culture we don’t deserve a social renaissance. Whilst there is no national political party at present willing to uphold traditional Christianity-based society we can support those individuals who are. We can speak out amongst our friends and neighbours. We can recommend TCW and other publications. We can refuse to shut up when we are told. Go on, be naughty and enjoy yourselves.

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Dr Campbell Campbell-Jack
Dr Campbell Campbell-Jack
Campbell is a retired Presbyterian minister who lives in Stirlingshire. He blogs at A Grain of Sand.

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