June 16, 2024

Should Christians Engage In the Culture War?

Prayer is the language by Leland Francisco

America has been changing for quite some time—as does everything.  Since the Supreme Court rulings of last week, which were not surprises but reminders of the fact that what believers think should be obvious not always is, many believers have taken to the Internet to proclaim this is the end.  Many have suggested preparing for persecution, girding up for an inevitable wave of attacks on religious institutions and free speech.

However, there’s another set of believers and culture warriors that have decided that this has all the markings of a war—a war that we have to decide to either roll over and submit to the will of those that would go against traditional/Biblical teaching or to stand up and oppose it.

We Are In A Battle

Daniel Greenfield wants us to have No Truce With the Left:

You can’t accommodate the left on social issues. You can’t accommodate it on fiscal issues. You can’t do it. Period.

The left exists to destroy you. It does not seek to co-exist with you. Its existence would lose all meaning. Any common ground will be used to temporarily achieve a goal before the useful idiots are kicked to the curb and denounced as bigots who are holding back progress.

The purpose of power is power. The left is not seeking to achieve a set of policy goals before kicking back and having a beer. The policy goals are means of destroying societies, nations and peoples before taking over. If you allow it a policy goal, it will ram that goal down your throat. It will implement it as abusively as it can possibly can before it moves on to the next battle.

It’s not about gay marriage. It’s not about cakes. It’s about power.

More fundamentally it’s about the difference in human nature between the people who want to be left alone and those who want power over others.
You can’t work out a truce with tyrants. You can give in or stand up to them. There’s nothing else.  [Hat tip: Vox Day]

And to some extent I don’t believe that any believer doesn’t recognize the battle that is before them.  Long standing mores and traditions are being taken down before our eyes—whether it’s the change in the legal definition of marriage, removing 10 Commandments Statues, telling Christians to only practice their faith inside their churches or other more local events, things have not trended in the God-Honoring traditions of the past, and the activities seem like skirmishes as part of a larger campaign to remove religion—code name for Christianity—from influencing or shaming those that partake in sin.

So What Are We To Do About it?

Just like at the time of the Revolutionary War, there are two camps that attempt to tell Christians how Christ would behave and how we should behave as the government all around us changes.

Submit To the Government

Just like the Tories of old, there are some that are set to weather the storm, hoping to ride out the coming chaos and submit to the God-given authority except when they ask us to violate God’s law.  These people are preparing to be persecuted and practicing their stern faces praying that they will be able to face persecution like many in the 3rd world have to today.

For these people, the same-sex marriage ruling signaled the end, and they view the decline as unwinnable and therefore not worth fighting in any practical terms because they’ve lost.  And who can blame them?  They followed the rules, got amendments to state constitutions passed, voted for the people that said that they would represent them and put people on courts that would uphold their beliefs, and it all failed.

Now they argue for detachment.  A refocus on the spiritual and to disengage from the government that is destined for the dustbin of history (as all governments except for Christ’s are eventually going to be).  They’re talking in terms of what governments will come next and what will happen in the interim.

In essence, they’ve given up.  They may vote in elections, but they’re now going to focus on other things.

Gird Up for the Battle

This group of individuals have decided that they will go down fighting.  It seemed to begin in a movement now called GamerGate.  A journalist was found to have insider ties with the gaming industry that was biasing her reporting.  The flare-up occurred where game designers started to stand up for the rights to make the games they wanted to make, which is only a problem to those that expect that games should meet some arbitrary societal norms—whether it’s the number of females, what clothing they wear, how the racial balance is, and other social issues.

The battle opened up another front on the side of Science Fiction in a clash over the Hugos and the banning of a lifetime member of the Science Fiction Writers of America over a tweet on the SFWAAuthors twitter account promoting a blog post which some took offense to.  This lead to higher participation in the Hugo Awards presented by the SFWA, in which those that had previously not been allowed to participate managed to dominate the categories.  This lead to two different groups of authors attempting to get works they favored placed onto the Hugo ballot by purchasing memberships to WorldCon in order to vote in that annual convention’s Hugo awards selection.

While this is not Christian in nature (some Christians are participating, but the movement in and of itself is not Christian), these people believe that it’s best to fight back against the social justice tyranny they see being forced upon them.

This is not the extent of all that’s going on—my summary just skims the surface!—but this is the contrast.  These people believe that they are taking on those that would continue to push the “progressive” line further eroding traditional values.  While they too are very negative on the outlook of the country, they do not believe in going down without a fight, and desire that those in the first camp would join them to reassert their dominance.

What Should We Do?

What haunts me is the martyrs of old.  Granted, they didn’t live in a Democratic-Republic founded on religious freedom, but lived in monarchy—one that believed that he was a god!—or in a land where the Roman Catholic church ruled.  They were burned at the stake as human torches, crucified and stoned, and while many on the Internet will say that people that are intolerant should be silenced, no public deaths have been called for—yet.

These martyrs had to have survived with networks and pockets of hiding and resistance, but they didn’t take up arms—that I’m aware of—to fight the foe.  They still proclaimed the faith and worked in the background to see souls saved and their faith purified.

I then think of the Revolutionary War, and though all the colonists were facing oppression, only some chose to fight while others chose the sidelines.  While we may differ on whether the American Revolution was something that fits in with our understanding of Romans 13, those that fought secured the liberties that we have enjoyed these 200+ years.

Because of this, I believe that as believers we need to be making a difference in our culture both on the small and large scale.  It should be known to all where believers stand—it is not time for equivocation.  All of Rome knew the Christians followed Christ, not Caesar.  This is what made them such a threat.  This is not a time for Christians to go silent and acquiesce to the new culture.  Like righteous Lot, we need to stand apart and not give in to the culture.

We should also use this time to start making a difference in the lives around us.  The power of the cross is not a political power, but a power that redeems men and reconciles them to Christ.  We need to be working at sharing the Gospel and prayer.

It’s God that can change hearts and He can win battles against insurmountable odds.

Image: Prayer is the Language by Leland Francisco

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15 thoughts on “Should Christians Engage In the Culture War?

  1. Error: ” the Hugo Awards presented by the SFWA, in which those that had previously not been allowed to participate managed to dominate the categories.”

    ANYONE who buys a supporting membership has *always* been allowed to participate in the nominating and voting process. A lot of people just didn’t know about it till this all blew up. That’s not the fault of the people who administer the Hugos. The websites for all the Worldcons state this info pretty clearly.

    Also, the objection by the “liberals” has been to compiling a SLATE of candidates and asking people to vote the slate, not that people voted for the “wrong” things. There are 5 finalists in the categories. If 250 people nomiate a SLATE of 5 items, then it nullifies the votes of other people.

    If the people who nominated the slate had actually read the things they voted and really thought they were the best, fine. But honestly, some of the nominated stuff was pure crap.

    1. I guess the problem I had was with the term “participate.” My impression from what I’ve read on the topic was that people felt shut out of the process– either because they didn’t know how to participate or that the there was a feeling that they were overlooked. So while they could participate by buying membership to WorldCon and voting (like many did this year), many didn’t or didn’t organize themselves like they felt others did. I will attempt to clarify this in the post above. I appreciate the feedback!

  2. SFWA has nothing to do with the Hugo Awards, which are a fan-voted honor presented by members of the annual World Science Fiction Convention. SFWA is a professional organization for science fiction and fantasy writers and presents its own awards, the Nebulas.

    If you expect to be taken at all seriously maybe you should do a minute or two of research to get even the most basic of facts straight.

  3. Hi! Your post was included in the latest File770 round-up on all things Hugos 2015 related, and you might wind up getting some feedback on it.

    I just want to correct a few misconceptions in this paragraph:

    The battle opened up another front on the side of Science Fiction in a clash over the Hugos and the banning of a lifetime member of the Science Fiction Writers of America over a tweet on the SFWAAuthors twitter account promoting a blog post which some took offense to(1). This(2) lead to higher participation in the Hugo Awards presented by the SFWA(3), in which those that had previously not been allowed to participate(4) managed to dominate the categories.

    (1) To be precise, this blog post over which Theodore Beale’s SFWA membership was revoked asserted, among other equally pleasant things, that a black science fiction author was a “half-savage” and “not equally human” by virtue of the color of her skin, and that people like her (i.e. black) were incapable of sustaining a civilization. Saying “some took offense” to it would be like saying some fish choose to breathe water. Even so, the post’s author was ousted from SFWA not for expressing racist ideas or even for attacking a fellow SFWA member, but for using an official SFWA channel (the SFWAAuthors twitter handle) to promote that blog post.

    Here is a reasonable summary of that situation, courtesy of SFWA member Jim C. Hines:


    (2) To say that Beale’s ousting from SFWA led to this year’s higher participation in the Hugo Award process is to elide several important factors, including the contributions of Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen to the Sad Puppy slate efforts. To give an accurate representation would take a blog post in and of itself; thankfully, there are good ones already written. Here is Philip Sandifer examining the various motivations expressed by the various players in the Sad Puppy/Rabid Puppy Hugos 2015 situation:


    (3) The Hugo Awards are not, in fact, presented by SFWA. The Hugo Awards are voted on by the membership of the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) and awarded by, and during, World Con.

    (SFWA administer their own awards: the Nebulas.)

    (4) There is no one who was “previously not allowed to participate” in the Hugos. Anyone may nominate works and creators for Hugo Awards, and vote on the Hugo Awards, who is a member of WSFS. Anyone may become a member of WSFS by purchasing an attending or supporting membership to World Con. Many people were not aware of this, despite it being spelled out clearly on the World Con web page, but that’s not the same as “not allowed.”

    (Contrast this with the Nebulas, where only full SFWA members may vote, and becoming a full SFWA member requires that a writer meet certain publication criteria. Or with the Locus awards, where anyone may vote for free but Locus subscribers’ votes weigh more.)

    Now, those who put together the Sad Puppy and Rabid Puppy slates of nominees have said they did it because they were “denied a seat at the table,” but as far as anyone can tell, this seems to mean “got nominated for a Hugo but didn’t ultimately win”. It is puzzling.

    In any case, thank you for reading this. I encourage you and all your readers who consider yourselves fans of science fiction and fantasy to become involved in the Hugos. Voting runs through the end of July, and anyone can become a supporting member of World Con 2015 and the WSFS to vote, and to qualify to nominate works for the 2016 Hugos when the nominating window opens. Thank you!

    1. I appreciate the time you took to reply and how your reply helps flush out both sides of this issue. Obviously both groups are representing things in their own way. I wasn’t attempting to be exhaustive in my explanation, as my readers are more prone to politics and religion than they are to the details of Science Fiction and Gaming. My overall point is that there is a feeling by many believers that the culture is quickly changing and they do not have the ability or tools to affect it– and some wonder if they should or should not based on their beliefs. I was simply trying to lay out the different sides that are doing what some would suggest a Christian would do and go from there.

      Again, thank you for your time!

  4. Hi! You were linked by File770, a now obsessively-read blog focusing on the Hugos, so you may get some new readers wandering in. I don’t have any issues with most of your post, but I need to respond to your characterization of Gamergate. It’s a little bit…incomplete?

    Back in 2013, an independent game designer (not a journalist) named Zoe Quinn designed a text-based free game called Depression Quest. Depression Quest was a new style of text-based game, so it got written up in a lot of places, including a rave review in The New Yorker. A year later, Zoe Quinn later broke up with her boyfriend at the time, who then decided to get revenge by typing up an obsessive 13,000-word post about the end of their relationship. Someone posted the post on the forum 8chan (her boyfriend has denied doing this, but he certainly participated in the discussion threads), and a bunch of angry 8chan posters started harassing and threatening Zoe Quinn. And continued to do so. For at least six months.

    Shortly after Ms. Quinn and her boyfriend broke up, she started dating a guy who at one point BEFORE they started dating had posted a “list of 50 games to watch for” that Depression Quest had been on. That’s it, by the way: that’s the extent of the “ethics in journalism.” Quinn is a designer, not a journalist, and her game got rave reviews, legitimately, in all kinds of places.

    There’s more about the 8chan start of harassment here:


    Some point after the internet harassment started, Anita Sarkeesan, an independent blogger who does fairly mild-mannered video blogs about tropes in game design and things to consider when designing games, got dragged into this, and Brianna Wu, an outspoken game designer who was sticking up for Quinn online also got harassed to the extent that she also had to stop living in her home for several months.

    I’m a regular churchgoer, as are many of my friends, and all of us are disgusted by gamergate, as are many on all political sides. You do the rest of your post a disservice in lumping it in with other fights in the culture wars. This is something entirely different–it’s organized harassment escalating into terrorism, triggered and designed by a diabolical ex-boyfriend.

    There was a freelance journalist named Leigh Alexander who wrote an online piece called “Gamers Are Over” which is one person, on the internet, venting.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to help us learn more on gamergate. Obviously there are two sides and a lot of “No True Scotsman” arguments being presented by both sides. The overall post was more of an attempt to discuss whether Christians should fight or submit when it comes to culture wars, and some on both on the gamergate side and with the Hugo awards choose to fashion themselves as warriors fighting the culture– and they have had some degree of success (by their own definition, of course).

      I’m glad you regularly go to church, as well as many of your friends, and I pray that your faith may grow.

  5. Good one. Thought provoking. I am so ready to let the men go 1 Cor. 16:13 with this culture: “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” As far as individuals go…it’s hard for me to not want mercy and equate all sins the same (he who is without sin cast the first stone)…but at the same time, these kinds of rulings spell HUGE ramifications for religious liberty for my children’s future. What a pivotal place we are in history! Thanks for the spin on gamergate and SFWA and the Hugos, I had to go educate myself and stumbled on Vox Day again, it’s been awhile since I read there. Whew!

    1. I’ve read so much about Christians taking so many different sides when it comes to this topic of whether to engage in the culture wars. I was having lunch the other day with someone who was crafting a letter to the editor on a local issue.

      My wife made a good comment that we need to make sure that we tend to our own house, which I agree that it’s a whole lot easier to fight the enemy “out there” than what is happening inside our own churches.

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