Not Whether But Which, As I Keep Saying

Sharing Options

It is not hard to understand the chaos and pandemonium going down around us if you keep certain inescapable realities in the forefront of your mind.

Cornelius Van Til called it epistemological self-consciousness. C.S. Lewis referred to the idea this way in his great novel, That Hideous Strength.

“I mean this,” said Dimble, answering the question she had not asked. “If you dip into any college, or school, or parish, or family—anything you like—at a given point in its history, you always find that there was a time before that point when there was more elbow room and contrasts weren’t quite so sharp; and that there’s going to be a time after that point when there is even less room for indecision and choices are even more momentous. Good is always getting better and bad is always getting worse: the possibilities of even apparent neutrality are always diminishing.”

Even apparent neutrality. There is never any real neutrality, but there are times when it looks like there might have been. I said that there are such times, but given the times in which we live, it would be better now to say that there were such times.

Not whether, but which. It is not whether we will have an established state religion, but rather which established state religion we will have. It is not whether our culture will serve a god, but rather which god it will serve. It is not whether we will impose morality with a law, but rather which morality we will impose with a law. It is not whether our culture will rest upon a blood sacrifice, but rather which blood sacrifice it will be. It is not whether we will discipline in terms of our public morality, but rather which group will be disciplined. Not whether, but which.

A number of months ago, I pointed that the refusal to continue disciplining homosexuals in the military was tantamount to a decision to discipline those members of the military who (visibly) believed that such behavior was a sin. And so, when a report recently surfaced that said that the Pentagon was contemplated making the sharing of your faith an offense worthy of court-martial, this means I must now go on the record to confess that I was not being clairvoyant. You don’t have to be a weatherman, Dylan said, to tell which way the wind is blowing. Not whether, but which. It is not whether you will discipline over issues of sexual identity, it is which sexual identity you will discipline.

The pretence of neutrality that secularlism was able to keep up for several centuries is now officially in tatters. Their game is now to make the open play for power, in the hope that Christians will continue vainly to play the old game, and will be the very last to adapt to the new realities. So far, things are right on schedule.

We are in a great foment of transition, and not very many believers see what is happening yet. But we ought to be able to recognize it right away, for what is happening is the centerpiecce of our faith — these are the convulsions of death and resurrection. I have said it before, and I trust I will have many occasions to say it again. The West is dead. Long live the West.

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