Breakpoint recently interviewed Rod Dreher, who has written about the concept.
Click here for a brief commentary, and/or here for 1/2 hour interview with Dreher.
I appreciate Dreher and Breakpoint encouraging this conversation. I look forward to hearing from others about how Christians need to live according to a different standard than the "over-culture" that dominates our society. In the past we Christians in the USA--others will need to calibrate their own communities--have lived in a culture that was still clearly marked by a system of Christian ethics. Even the "evil" people in our culture acknowledged the morality of the mores they violated. "I know I should, but don't." What has changed in the past few years is that now the majority culture is looking at what could be called "traditional values," or what I would call, "values built on the left-overs of a Biblical worldview"--the standard by which the Cleaver family lived, or what what was more formally called "civic religion," and saying that is evil. I read somewhere a while back that it used to be that our neighbors didn't like Christians who take the Bible seriously because we talked about sin too much. Now the same culture looks at us and says "I don't like you because what you believe is sinful."
In The Closing of the American Mind, Allan Bloom spoke of students in the prestige colleges of the day as believing in only one virtue, openness. The young leaders who were being trained in the era Bloom spoke of have spawned the college, high-school, and elementary teachers who have shaped our world. As the mono-virtue of openness/acceptance has permeated our society, we have passed through the live-and-let-live phase to a new standard. It is not sufficient to give someone the freedom to do that to which I object, now I must fully embrace and rejoice in others expression of their freedom to do as they please. Not only must one obey Big Brother, one must love Big Brother. Since those of us who take the Bible seriously cannot be accept that which God's word rejects we are the evil ones.
The situation in which we find ourselves is not new. Christians in the Roman Empire were accused of being atheists.
As Christians became more numerous, and their beliefs more well known, the charges of immorality became harder to sustain. But one accusation is repeated time and time again- "Atheism"; rejection of the tutelary deities of their communities. This was a very serious matter; deities were believed to bring good fortune to a town, and slighting them might bring down their wrath. According to Tertullian: "If the Tiber reaches the walls, if the Nile does not rise to the fields, if the sky doesn’t move or the earth does, if there is famine, if there is, plague, the cry is at once: "The Christians to the lion!"" Outbreaks of persecution often coincided with natural disasters. Earthquakes in Asia in 152, and an outbreak of plague in Alexandria at the time of Origen, were blamed on the Christians. Around 270, Porphry blamed the plague in Rome on the fact that the temple of Aesculapius had been abandoned for the Christian churches. This sort of accusation was persistent; as late 419, Augustine wrote "The City of God" to prove that Christians hadn’t caused the fall of Rome by slighting the old gods. The charges of atheism and immorality help explain the hatred of the mob for Christians, evidenced in the pogroms in places such as Smyrna and Lyons. (http://www.theologian.org.uk/churchhistory/persecution.html)We are the new atheists. We reject the god of absolute autonomy. We can no longer live as if things haven't changed. They have.
Or, maybe not.