By WCS Headmaster Dr. Roger Erdvig
Every so often, a book comes along that is so important, timely, and insightful that it demands a wide reading right away. Live Not By Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents is just such a book.
We all agree that 2020 and the first weeks of 2021 have been most unsettling and disturbing. We’ve seen cultural change accelerate like an avalanche, and it is hard to make sense of what’s happening and to discern what to do.
In Live Not By Lies, author Rod Dreher provides the analysis we need to orient ourselves to our new realities, and he begins by issuing a clear warning: America has, over the last few decades, been primed for a new form of totalitarianism.
According to Hannah Arendt, a well-known scholar of totalitarianism, “a totalitarian society is one in which an ideology seeks to displace all prior traditions and institutions, with the goal of bringing all aspects of society under control of that ideology” (Dreher, 2020, p. 7). Think communism, fascism, and now--militant secularism.
From the overt attacks against traditional institutions and the Christian worldview to the increasing pattern of individuals falling victim to the cancel culture, America is being consumed by a new totalitarianism. This form of totalitarianism is not enforced by tanks and guns as has been the case throughout history. This "softer" totalitarianism advances through university campuses, the entertainment industry, and corporate America as social justice warriors squelch free speech and exert tremendous social and market pressure to conform all aspects of life to an antagonistic, anti-Christian, and untrue worldview.
Thankfully, Live Not By Lies does not leave us to despair in the face of times that eerily resemble Imperial Russia before the Communist Revolution of the early 1900s. Though Dreher does unpack many unhappy parallels between contemporary America and pre-Communist Russia, he also offers strategies to thrive in such an environment—strategies that are consistent with how people of Biblical faith have always flourished in hard times:
Certainly, we are progressing towards a more difficult time in which to live out our faith and to maintain and grow distinctively Christian institutions. But, this is not anything different from what Christ warned us of when Paul wrote that “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (ESV, II Timothy 3:12 & 13).
Read Live Not By Lies as soon as you can. Better yet, read it together with your family and discuss it with others who want to understand the times and live rightly.
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