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Review by Dr Pravin Thevathasan


Live Not By Lies
A Manual For Christian Dissidents
by Rod Dreher
Sentinel

The author is senior editor at the American Conservative and author of the controversial The Benedict Option. The author is surely correct in his basic thesis: a left-wing dictatorship is on the rise across most of the West.

Although popularly known as "being woke" or promoting the cancel culture, the philosophical roots lie in cultural Marxism. Dare we say, it is becoming eerily like the Communism whose downfall we celebrated a few decades ago. Are we seeing the Berlin Wall being re-built brick by brick?

And there are some similarities. Most people who lived under Communism did not support the Marxist agenda. However, in order to live a quiet life, they just went along with it. If we look at our society, I suspect most of us are uncomfortable when told that prepubescent children should be free to live like persons of the opposite sex. Given what happened to someone as powerful as J K Rowling, most of us do not wish to confront the issue. Just like in Communist nations, most of us stay quiet.

The author points out that there is a difference between living in Communism nations and living in the West now. People disappeared and were killed when they dissented from the Communist state. People are not actually killed for dissenting from the cultural Marxism in the West, at least not at present. But there is what the author refers to as "soft totalitarianism" going on. On my list, I can immediately think of doctors being disciplined for being pro-life. I think of campaigners who have been visited by the police for simply saying that a man cannot become a woman and vice versa.

Any number of people have been punished for peacefully protesting "gay marriage." The academic institutions are so often run by cultural Marxists.

How do we overcome this soft totalitarianism. The author suggests several ways in which we can do so. For example, we need to put religion at the very centre of our lives. We simply cannot be Sunday morning Christians. Our Christian faith should guide us in all that we do. We need to put family first. We cannot go it alone: we need to create communities of like-minded people. Basically, we need to be counter-cultural.

And we can learn from the dissidents who lived under Communism! One such person is Alexandr Solzhenitsyn. No wonder his books are still relevant.

Dreher has often called people to build like-minded communities. I am not so sure. We should surely follow the early Christians and evangelise our culture. We need Christian lawyers and politicians, Christians in every field of endeavour.

On a more pessimistic note, I am not sure that what is going on can be called soft totalitarianism. The lives of people have been ruined simply because they have wanted to live their Christian faith in their day to day lives.

Dreher's book is surely a wake-up call.

            
Copyright ; Dr Pravin Thevathasan 2022

Version: 14th January 2022



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