The true purpose of Matthew Rose’s book is to create a caricature of the “Radical Right” and argue that the “Radical Right” is reactionary and anti-Christian and because of this it is “anti-Semitic. In this respect, there is plenty of material to work with because it is true that there has always been a deep anti-Christian current or tendency in these circles. Just look at our comment section.
There are people who are inspired by writers like Friedrich Nietzsche or Francis Parker Yockey or Julius Evola. There are atheists and pagans who identify with the “Radical Right.” There are Odinists and Apollonians who hate Christianity. The truth though is that there is broad agreement within the “Radical Right” on the reality of race and its importance, but there has always been considerable disagreement on religion. In fact, the polls show that the vast majority of White Americans who still have some degree of racial consciousness are Christians and support for wokeness is strongly correlated with atheism.
“But in criticizing Christianity, the radical right comes from a radically different perspective, one so opposed to dominant assumptions as to be incompatible with them. To understand these thinkers’ angle of vision, and to perceive Christianity as they do, requires more than intellectual curiosity. It requires the ability to see modern society and to read secular arguments from a potentially disorienting vantage point. To state their views succinctly, if also crudely: the radical right critique Christianity for nurturing individual freedom, not suppressing it; for undermining human inequalities, not upholding them; for being rationalistic, not irrational; for its openness, not its exclusivity; for being apolitical, not political; and for living up to its ideals, not betraying them. What is shocking about these formulations is that they invert the conventional terms of intellectual discussion. They accuse Christianity of being the cause of modern values it is often blamed for impeding or rejecting.”
This is not my critique of Christianity.
The truth is that the conquest and settlement of the New World was justified by Christianity. This was true of both Protestants and Catholics. Christianity fueled European expansion. By the early 20th century, virtually the entire globe was dominated by Western Christian imperial powers.
It was also Christians who created the very language of racialism that we take for granted today. The Portuguese and the Spanish were the first to develop modern racial theories which were picked up by the Dutch, the English and the French. All European powers attempted to convert the heathens to Christianity and only gradually developed racial consciousness through experience with them in the process. A sense of whiteness only became important in this colonial setting of racial tension and conflict.
It was Christians who justified slavery on the basis of the Bible and presided over the trans-Atlantic slave trade for centuries. Human rights theories were only developed centuries later. Originally, barbarians and heathens had no rights or status under European international law. The Caribbean, for example, was considered “beyond the line.” European rules and norms of warfare didn’t even apply there.
Insofar as “white supremacy” ever existed in the world, it was practiced by Christians. There has never been a racialist pagan or atheist state. As recently as a hundred years ago, Christians were quite comfortable dominating all Africa and most of Asia. Jim Crow was practiced in most of America. As late as the 1920s, America wasn’t just a White country or a Christian country. It was a Protestant country too.
Some would say that Christianity fostered radical egalitarianism. If one could step into a time machine though and return to any point in the past before the mid-20th century, you would have trouble finding this egalitarianism. Most people were convinced of the superiority of their own race, ethnicity, religion, class, etc. We don’t have to venture that far back in the past – a generation or two ago – to return to a time when both patriarchy and white supremacy were ascendant in this country and elsewhere.
If you could be transported back in time to the year 1912 when the Titanic sank, you would find that the overwhelming majority of people you encountered would be astonished about your tales of the future. No one would believe you. You would have been institutionalized in an insane asylum for saying that it would get this bad. No one would be surprised by technological progress which was anticipated by everyone. Very few people anticipated racial, cultural and religious degeneration on this scale.
The Church of Sweden of a century ago would have been shocked to learn that in the near future it would be a “trans church.” Americans would have been shocked to learn that negroes would be worshipped as gods and that the White man would be denigrated by all institutions. What if you told Americans in 1912 that statues of George Washington would be torn down and lynched and that Juneteenth would replace Independence Day and that in the future men could become women by wishing it were so?
Christianity and even liberalism was comfortable with racialism until the early 20th century. The typical Victorian era Christian and liberal had no problem believing in the existence of race, the salvation of his own soul and the free-market and was unbearably prudish by our own standards.
Circle the years between 1914 and 1945 because that is when everything abruptly changed. There were two World Wars. The mass media was developed which forever changed how culture is transmitted. Jews rose into the American elite. Young Americans started going to college. The United States became a global superpower. The old WASP elite began to lose its grip on power.
It was “antiracism” that changed Christianity, not the other way around. This can be seen in peculiarities of our own culture. No one has a problem with race-based black churches or black racial chauvinism. Blacks can even use racial slurs which are verboten for Whites under the current racial etiquette. Non-Whites can adapt Christianity into an infinite variety of forms like Pentecostalism without any objections. We explicitly discriminate in favor of blacks which is technically racist. It is only whiteness that is attacked. This is because we live under the cloud of an “antiracist” culture now that targets Whites.
This is a peculiarity of our own times. All kinds of things which are omnipresent today were novelties a hundred years ago. Feminism, for example, was just getting off the ground in 1921 and even then the range of the “New Woman” (a creation of a modernist cultural vanguard) was limited to a few of America’s biggest cities. The origins of modern culture only really go back to the late 19th/early 20th century and a few of its towering progenitors like Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche and Freud. Dispensationalism and Christian Zionism was spread through radio and by televangelists in 20th century America.
Trends get started in our dominant secular culture. Some Christians feel the need to respond and adapt to those trends while others do not. A century ago, the churches split between modernists and fundamentalists over issues like Darwinism. For the better part of three centuries now, this has been going on as Christians have adapted their beliefs to reconcile their faith with Galileo or Newton or Locke or Hegel or Marx or even now with more recent trends like CRT, “trans” or feminism. Entire branches of Christianity like the Church of England have all but collapsed in the process of keeping up with the latest fads. The church has repeatedly adapted itself to power up to and including even the Nazis. We could take this insight back to the Middle Ages when Thomas Aquinas reconciled Aristotle’s work with Augustinianism or further back to Late Antiquity when Christians did the same thing with Plato.
Christianity has adapted itself to liberalism and “antiracism.” It is possible to study what Christianity was like though before either of these influences when it wasn’t liberal or “antiracist.” Had America always been liberal or “antiracist,” the country as we know it today would never have existed. Many of its leading institutions like the Southern Baptist Convention which has recently gone woke only discovered that “racism” was a sin in the 1990s. Southern Baptists also apologized for slavery in the 1990s.
To be sure, there are Southern Baptists who will insist a decade from now that their denomination was always woke, feminist, anti-slavery, pro-LGBTQ and “antiracist.” There are also White Nationalists who will insist that the Southern Baptists were always woke too and that it took them centuries to figure it out that wokeness always there in the Gospel. Neither of these sides is correct though.
White people are currently being demographically replaced by the Amish and Mormons who will be a much larger share of the White population in 2050. The same is true of Jews and the ultra-Orthodox. In the long run, it is entirely possible to imagine Christianity decoupling itself from liberalism, “antiracism,” modernity and all kinds of trends. Christianity has been authoritarian and anti-authoritarian. In the past, Christianity has adapted to all sorts of influential figures which are now long forgotten.
Christianity as it has been practiced for thousands of years is a survivor and a shapeshifter. It has been philo-Semitic and anti-Semitic. This isn’t a new insight. It was well known by the Reformers who took issue with the Late Medieval penance system and who got rid of celibacy, the church hierarchy, monasteries, the Papacy and who took wives and created state churches. This was radical at the time. It was far more radical and impactful than dumping a mere fad of American elites like “antiracism” which only goes back to the 1930s.
I think some people are way too pessimistic and have derived the wrong conclusions from their own lives. “Antiracism” peaked back in the early 2000s. The issue is controversial now. Consensus has collapsed. White racial attitudes are polarizing and hardening on both sides. White identity has waxed and waned many times before.