Ideals, Ideology, and Icons
- No longer shall your name be called Abram. But your name shall be Abraham, for I will make you the father of a multitude of nations. (Genesis 17:5)
Taking the gospel of Christ to all the nations has been the desire of God since the beginning when he spoke those words to Abraham. Most Sunday School students know that Abraham, by faith, became both progenitor father of all the nations as well as the spiritual blessing to many nations.
The word “nation” is translated as goy in the Biblical and modern Hebrew. In the Torah, goy, goyim, and its variants appear 560 times in reference to both the Israelites and the non-Israelite nations. Over time, nation—the word, etymologically evolved more politically as a concept in the modern era, than sociologically—as a people group or tribe. In plain truth, both testaments in the complete Bible reference nations in this way. But this definition then proceeded to change in the late eighteenth century.
The use of the word, “nationalism,” is first attributed to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, as most scholars will claim, in 1798.
In fact, he is credited as the founder of the modern doctrine of nationalism. This follows from his desire to produce social cohesion and the necessity of having a common culture in a society. Interestingly, this was a doctrine begun by Machiavelli, which was further elaborated by Alexis de Tocqueville and present-day theorists and practitioners of social capital, like the political scientist Robert Putnam and the English politician David Blunkett. (2)
Some have posited that Rousseau succeeded in developing a new doctrine of a civic religion, I.e., nationalism. But I would argue that, in spite of his defense for this new “religion” for a new place for Christianity this is, at best, a topic for debate. Regardless, I suspect the preceding brief etymology, is unlikely to have influenced the rationale found in the March, 2022, article, “Why aren’t we talking about the theology that drives white Christian nationalism?” by Rick Pidcock writing for “Baptist News Global”:
“Poll after poll and webinar after webinar lays out the data on white Christian nationalism. The facts of this threat to both democracy and faith are well-documented.”
“What’s missing from nearly every public discussion is the toxic theology that fuels white Christian nationalism. Behind the history, the sociology, the political realities, there is a theological problem.”
So, how did we get from nationalism, to Christian nationalism, to white Christian nationalism? And where do these assertions emanate?
To begin, there is no such thing as white Christian nationalism. This notion that there is, is not helping the cause of Christ, but is actually just the reverse: it causes only division and turmoil. Let’s take a moment or two to examine why.
Cultural Marxism developed out of the realization that the original manifestation of Marxist theory—dialectical materialism—was not succeeding as hoped. The problem for communists was the belief that everything was dependent upon property ownership. In America, the lower class, the young—even among the black population, were experiencing upward mobility unlike any other place and time on earth. By applying—wait for it—biblical principles like marriage, family, hard work, and a good education, people were thriving. For Marxist/collectivist ideology to succeed, a different approach was required.
I have shared how and by whom this different approach was initiated. From the late 1930s and on, thanks to the Frankfort School boys, Richard Cloward and Frances Piven, (pictured) and a host of other bad actors, all that was required was time to continue the advance. It’s referred to as the “long march through the institutions.” Of course there were those who could have thwarted it, but chose instead to pay little or no serious attention to what was happening.
So, let’s explore the question of why anyone would pursue such an ultimately evil ideology, and why so many would embrace it; robbing entire generations of hope, stability, and yes, even joy. It began with what sociologists and historians call the Modern Era.
The modern era, or modern age, actually began in the 16th century. Likely, its first appearance can be attributed to the epic Spanish novel, “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes. The protagonist, Alonso Quijano is a frugal older man—an hidalgo— who yearns for the life of a chivalrous knight. But his avid reading of knight’s tales ultimately drives him insane. The story reveals the metaphorical end of an ideal—the age of chivalry and the waning Spanish empire.
The modern age is now considered to be concluding. But its demise has been painfully long in coming. Some say the beginning of the end was 1945. Early modern, late modern, post-modern, post, post modern… you get the picture. We are in the death throes of the last stage. I can only say, it’s alternately exciting and alarming.
The ideals culminating with the Renaissance—idealism, began to be replaced with the rise of the ideologies. It wouldn’t be long before someone would want to address the loss of the ideal—and the cultural pain it produced, by concocting “fresh” solutions—answers if you will; usually without the ameliorating influence of the Christian Church. In fact, most critical thinkers and philosophers despised Christianity. You can only go so far with that, and so we have finally arrived.
t’s people like Mr. Pidcock, identifying as Christians, who assume the language, the guile, and the strategy of pushing cultural modernism—marxism of you please, and vilify true believers who love Jesus, and who can also love their country, by labeling this as “toxic theology.”
Beware, ideologues subsist and persist with this one horrifying and uniting feature: they believe what they believe, and nothing and no one will easily dissuade them from their monstrous goal to bring an insipid commonality to all of life on this earth. They will be triumphant or die trying. They will commit any form of coercion, force, and feature of their godless quest even if it means making everyone else die for it along with them. In their minds it’s all justified. They worship at the alter of the icons constructed from their ideology.
What would it require for such messengers of deceit to devolve into the horrible monsters that would murder, rape, and torture for their supposed beliefs? This analogy comes to mind. In my days in package design, I learned the formula for a perfect seal—like those of a blister pack—to properly work: heat, pressure, and dwell (time).
There is a lesson for Christians: as ideologues can and are be sealed tight, we are sealed as well—in our faith. Only this fact remains, the two are as far apart as the east is from the west.
These days are a pressure cooker, and no amount of piety, personal peace, or prosperity is any substitute for what will actually relieve the stress, and that is the Good News borne on the beautiful feet of those who believe, and the willingness to speak peace through strength.
With God, what do we have to fear? What do we have to lose?
- I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 NKJV)
2. Qvortrup, Mads. “The Political Philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau: The Impossibility of Reason.” Academic.Oup.Com, Dec. 2003, academic.oup.com/manchester-scholarship-online/book/18961/chapter-abstract/177319341?redirectedFrom=fulltext.