What do I think of Rod Dreher’s book published by Sentinel? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Dreher’s book is asking the question of what Christians in the West are meant to do in an age of increasing totalitarianism. Now this does not mean anything like what happens today in China or what happened in the Gulag, but it could be likely to happen in the form of a soft totalitarianism where control comes through social means more than government means. As I write this though, it is about a week after the raid of Trump’s place in Florida and a lot of questions are being raised.
The theme of the book comes from Alexander Solzhenitsyn who said that one thing we have to do is even if we don’t go out with a megahorn shouting the truth everywhere, we can choose to not believe the lies. For us today, these lies are being placed on us regularly by a culture calling into question truths we never would have dreamed being called into question a few years ago and too many people go along for the ride easily. I was stunned enough when I realized I had to defend that marriage is a union of a man and a woman. Today, I have to defend the idea of what a man and a woman is. We have a woman sitting on the Supreme Court who couldn’t answer the question of what a woman is.
More and more, if you disagree with this ideology, you can be shut down. How many people do we know who have been removed from Twitter because of this? How often have we seen cancel culture dig up something someone said ten years ago and shut them down because of it? Keep in mind that before these people were culturally on top, they also insisted on tolerance. That didn’t last long.
Dreher’s book looks at people who went through the rise of Communism and survived in countries where it was. Their examples are often powerful and convicting. These aren’t superhuman people. These are simple ordinary people who did something unique. They lived out their faith in a world where it was condemned.
The repeated advice in the book is to see, judge, and act. Christianity when lived out can overcome any evil that is brought to bear against it. As our country comes closer and closer to more and more government control and government going in a war against reality, this is something we should all keep in mind.
Governments can push control in many ways, but we are in control of our minds and our attitudes. We can make it a point to say that we will live not by lies. We will choose to live the path that Jesus lived.
If I had any criticism of the book, it would be that the book is long on examples, but not long on suggestions. This is how people lived in hard totalitarianism, but I would have liked more that could be done by those of us in a soft totalitarianism or at least a growing one. I recommend Christians read this one and read it along side either Strange New World or The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl Trueman.
And live not by lies.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)