New Book: ‘The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation’ (2017)

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‘In a radical new vision for the future of Christianity, NYT bestselling author and conservative columnist Rod Dreher calls on American Christians to prepare for the coming Dark Age by embracing an ancient Christian way of life. (…)

In The Benedict Option, Dreher calls on traditional Christians to learn from the example of St. Benedict of Nursia, a sixth-century monk who turned from the chaos and decadence of the collapsing Roman Empire, and found a new way to live out the faith in community. For five difficult centuries, Benedict’s monks kept the faith alive through the Dark Ages, and prepared the way for the rebirth of civilization. What do ordinary 21st century Christians — Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox — have to learn from the teaching and example of this great spiritual father? That they must read the signs of the times, abandon hope for a political solution to our civilization’s problems, and turn their attention to creating resilient spiritual centers that can survive the coming storm.’

See for Dreher’s forthcoming book: https://www.amazon.com/Benedict-Option-Strategy-Christians-Post-Christian/dp/0735213291

In my own forthcoming book, I write:

I should like to stress that, just like this book does not intend to polarise unnecessarily in the direction of the new critics of religious freedom, it does not want to suggest that authors subscribing to the idea of the benedict option do not have a point either.

On the other hand, it is also possible to discern a link between the new critics of religious freedom and theologians and others advocating the benedict option, in the sense that representatives of both groups sometimes appear to reject liberalism altogether. It is submitted here, however, that there remains reason for Christianity to continue its constructive, yet critical, engagement with liberalism. In fact, this is precisely what the current study aims to do.

This is the eigth post in a new series introducing my forthcoming book on Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human (Routledge, 2017).

For the first seven posts, please see:

R.R. Reno on ‘Islam and America’

Michael Wear’s Reclaiming Hope (2017): ‘Learn How the Seeds of the Trump Presidency Were Sown in the Obama White House’

Major New Report by the National Secular Society: Rethinking Religion and Belief in Public Life

Symposium on Christian Democracy and America: ‘Can Christian Democracy Be America’s Next European Import?’

Journalist Ben Judah, Author of This is London (2016): ‘I Found Faith Everywhere’

The Washington Post on Why Religious Freedom Could Become the Major Religion Story of 2017

Book on Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human (Routledge) now available for pre-order

 

 

Discussant, ‘Values for Europe’ conference, Christian Political Foundation for Europe, The Hague (2012)

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‘”Values for Europe” conference in The Hague

Friday 27 April 2012

At April 27, the ECPF held a congress about the European Union in The Hague, together with the Research Institute of the ChristenUnie party.

The beautiful Old Meeting Hall of the Dutch House of Representatives was full with congress participants that afternoon. The timing of the congress could not have been better, because just in that week important negotiations had taken place about the 2013 budget, in which the ChristenUnie had taken the lead. Budget cuts are necessary because of European agreements in the Stability- and Growth Pact.

Researchers Luitwieler and Ten Napel and politicians Slob and Van Dalen were speakers at the congress. Over 80 attendants participated in the conference.

Dr. Sander Luitwieler, researcher for the ECPF ‘Europe’s Values’ study project, encouraged the Dutch ChristenUnie party to speak henceforth both positive and critical about the European Union. In the Christian political philosophical tradition originating from neo-Calvinism, ‘public justice’ is seen as the core political norm for the task of government.

Luitwieler stated that public justice can be applied also at a supranational level, such as that of the European Union. Public justice can help policy makers to balance multiple interests. Justice should be the leading principle, not the laws of economics and the financial markets.

At the moment, Europe is at a crosspoint between, at the one side, a financial crisis, and, at the other side, also a crisis of legitimacy. The Dutch cabinet has fallen also more or less because of the developments in Europe. The European desire for further integration runs up against a lack of support. This can only be countered if the EU itself recognizes where it is good at and when it also guarantees cultural diversity between member states.

Constitutional law scholar prof. Hans Martien ten Napel argued for ‘a higher form of tolerance’ in Europe than just escaping sensitive issues. Remaining silent about the name of God in a constitution is not religiously impartial. Based on the thought of European law professor Joseph Weiler, Ten Napel observed a ‘Christian deficit’ in Europe.

This is shown in the fact that many academics, especially on the history of European integration, neglect the Christian heritage of Europe. European integration was not defended because of the process itself or because of the results, but because of the ideals that were the foundation for it. Now Europe is increasingly post-Christian, also the European idealism (Weiler even calls it ‘European messianism’) disappears.

Peter van Dalen MEP suggested that research should be done on the possible future of the eurozone. Might it be a good idea to introduce an adjusted euro for countries like Greece and Spain, so that countries can develop their economies in their own ways, taking into account their own possibilities? It has become clear that the current way to deal with the crisis has not led to a solution.’

Source: http://www.ecpf.info/k/n34705/news/view/522996/581712/values-for-europe-conference-in-the-hague.html.

About CPFE:

‘The Christian Political Foundation for Europe (CPFE, formerly ECPF) is an association that acts as the political foundation for the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM). The CPFE supports and underpins the ECPM especially in terms of political content by European co-operation and the introduction of analysis, ideas and policy options.

The CPFE shares the basic program and Christian values of the ECPM. As association the CPFE welcomes thinktanks, NGO’s and individual politicians as members if they agree with these values and the Christian-democrat principles as expressed in the basic program.

The CPFE has three main goals among which its activities will be organized:

  • Connecting Christian inspired think-tanks and NGOs and starting a process of exchange of knowledge and experience. The CPFE website will become a European portal to many organizations, virtual libraries and information on many fields of policy. Also a database will be developed that will help parties, politicians and other organizations in their work.
  • Informing parties and politicians at the national level on important European policy developments that will enable them to react early and efficiently on ideas coming from the EU institutions. This work will be accompanied by actual policy comments.
  • Creating new ideas and approaches to the challenges in a globalised world and a global economy. The CPFE supports in-depth study projects that highlight and work from Christian inspiration. The CPFE wants to formulate attractive alternatives for the dominant secular dogmas in culture and economics.’

About Sander Luitwieler’s book A community of peoples: Europe’s values and public justice in the EU:

http://www.ecpf.info/acommunityofpeople.