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OPINION| The End of Christianity and the Problem with Activism

G.K. Chesterton once said, “The problem of disbelieving in God is not that a man ends up believing nothing. Alas, it is much worse. He ends up believing anything.”

When someone says they have lost their faith, they end up holding to illogical givings that hang in mid-air, or are not based on solid foundations.

Worse still, they end up making those incoherent givings god. This is how man was made, man always has religious instincts he can never lose, no matter how much they try to suppress it.

Man is not just a moral being, he is also a being that rallies around a cause or an ideal, no matter how senseless or sensible that cause is. This is what gives man purpose. And this is exactly why religion is adhered to by many.

ACTIVISM

the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change. An activist is someone who is active in campaigning for change, normally on political or social issues. Activism is what activists do, that is, the methods they use in order to bring about change. Peace protesters and the right to protest.

It is an inherent part of being a person. And that is why when you take Christianity out, or religion in general, other things will be put in, and these things don’t even need to be identifiable. Because the religious instinct is insuppressible, even if the religion is. This is the God-complex every man has.

Those in the West have gone to war against religion in general and Christianity in particular and this is gradually spreading to Nigeria.

Christianity gave a footing, a foundation to the values we have or share. For instance, we know that we are to love others, even our enemies, be just, show mercy, etc, but we never know why we are to do these things. It is Christianity that gives a face to our activism or to the “why.” It is Christianity that gives meaning to our diversity, clamour for inclusion, social justice, call to honour all people, because it is the only religion says because man is made in God’s image, he has essential worth.

When a polar bear attacks a zebra, we don’t blame the bear for murder. But when a man takes the life of another man, we call for his arrest because to the bear, it needs to kill to eat and there is no law in the jungle against that. Because the bear has no moral standards to live up to. It was not made in God’s image, neither was its prey.

I once had an argument on Twitter with a Briton, and he was raving about how homosexuality is not wrong because science has proven there is homosexual tendencies in animals, especially those at the unicellular form of life.

I then asked him that should we because we are nothing other than higher animals, clap for our kids if they decide to kill and eat another person, since that is what lower animals do? I am still waiting for his response.

Certain virtues follow from knowing that we are made in God’s image and that when we sinned, God entered creation in the form of Christ to die and redeem man back to him. If one person is violating another, something is out of order and must be made right. If women are killing their unborn kids, something is out of order and must be made right. If a tribe or race feels it is better than another tribe or race, something is out of order and must be made right.

Christianity is that ideology that holds all these ideas together. But what happens when a society or a people rejects Christianity? Well, it does not necessarily reject the values or the virtues, therefore these values and virtues can become a new kind of religion.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton(1874-1936)

So today we have the religion of: social justice like Black Lives Matter; feminism which has evolved to see male man as evil; climate activism, etc. So now we have people rallying around a virtue they are going to defend. But because they have abandoned what connected that virtue to other virtues, the virtue is sort of suspended in mid-air, like a magic flowing object that demands worship and obedience.

This calls to mind what G. K Chesterton said in his 1908 book, Orthodoxy, which he wrote to address a problem he was beginning to see in his day:

The modern world is not evil; in some ways the modern world is far too good. It is full of wild and wasted virtues. When a religious scheme is shattered (as Christianity was shattered at the Reformation), it is not merely the vices that are let loose. The vices are, indeed, let loose, and they wander and do damage. But the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage. The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care for truth; and their truth is pitiless. Thus some humanitarians only care for pity; and their pity (I am sorry to say) is often untruthful.

People can fixate on justice and be ready to burn the world to the ground in pursuit of justice because justice is no longer connected to anything else.

People can fixate on love and become insanely stupid because their love is no longer connected to truth.

People can fixate on truth and become absolute monsters because ethics just is not something that can be proven scientifically.

You can see the impact of fixating on a single virtue even in the history of Christianity.

Even out here in the world, we see activists who push for their values by going naked to be heard. LGBTQ+ rallies(pride marches) and their activists who believe their depraved notion on human sexuality must be accepted by all, are a good example. In this case, they care only about being heard or who their preferred sexual orientations, no matter how ungodly, that it matters not if they immodest.

If all you care about is truth and you have the truth, what do you do if someone doesn’t agree with you?

Well, since loving your enemies and honouring people has been swept under the rug of your life’s mission, you might start slaughtering heretics in the name of God.

People did that after being commanded to love their enemies and to honour all people. So imagine what they’ll do once they have completed abandoned the one thing that ties these virtues together, and there is nothing left in their ideology that connects truth to love; or love to justice; or justice to truth.

Yet the more I think of it, the more I see that the only thing that drives most activists or activism is that insatiable taste to satisfy man’s natural longing for purpose or a cause, even if it is devoid of the divine. Not the desire to be holistic in our approach of life and its virtues. But this is where we err and this is my problem with activism.

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