Talk by Eric Metaxas (audio only). In two parts.
Mentions Bonhoeffer and the development in Germany (and the churches’ response there) from 1933.
Article by Ayaan Hirsi Ali on UnHerd.com.
Western civilisation is under threat from three different but related forces: the resurgence of great-power authoritarianism and expansionism in the forms of the Chinese Communist Party and Vladimir Putin’s Russia; the rise of global Islamism, which threatens to mobilise a vast population against the West; and the viral spread of woke ideology, which is eating into the moral fibre of the next generation.
We endeavour to fend off these threats with modern, secular tools: military, economic, diplomatic and technological efforts to defeat, bribe, persuade, appease or surveil. And yet, with every round of conflict, we find ourselves losing ground. We are either running out of money, with our national debt in the tens of trillions of dollars, or we are losing our lead in the technological race with China.
But we can’t fight off these formidable forces unless we can answer the question: what is it that unites us? The response that “God is dead!” seems insufficient. So, too, does the attempt to find solace in “the rules-based liberal international order”. The only credible answer, I believe, lies in our desire to uphold the legacy of the Judeo-Christian tradition.
[. . .]
To me, this freedom of conscience and speech is perhaps the greatest benefit of Western civilisation. It does not come naturally to man. It is the product of centuries of debate within Jewish and Christian communities. It was these debates that advanced science and reason, diminished cruelty, suppressed superstitions, and built institutions to order and protect life, while guaranteeing freedom to as many people as possible. Unlike Islam, Christianity outgrew its dogmatic stage. It became increasingly clear that Christ’s teaching implied not only a circumscribed role for religion as something separate from politics. It also implied compassion for the sinner and humility for the believer.
[. . .]
In this nihilistic vacuum, the challenge before us becomes civilisational. We can’t withstand China, Russia and Iran if we can’t explain to our populations why it matters that we do. We can’t fight woke ideology if we can’t defend the civilisation that it is determined to destroy. And we can’t counter Islamism with purely secular tools. To win the hearts and minds of Muslims here in the West, we have to offer them something more than videos on TikTok.
The lesson I learned from my years with the Muslim Brotherhood was the power of a unifying story, embedded in the foundational texts of Islam, to attract, engage and mobilise the Muslim masses. Unless we offer something as meaningful, I fear the erosion of our civilisation will continue. And fortunately, there is no need to look for some new-age concoction of medication and mindfulness. Christianity has it all.
That is why I no longer consider myself a Muslim apostate, but a lapsed atheist. Of course, I still have a great deal to learn about Christianity. I discover a little more at church each Sunday. But I have recognised, in my own long journey through a wilderness of fear and self-doubt, that there is a better way to manage the challenges of existence than either Islam or unbelief had to offer.
Video here. (1 h 28 min.)
Dr. Jordan B Peterson sits down with mathematician, author, and theologian Dr. John Lennox. They discuss the axioms and dangerous aims of transhumanism, the interplay between ethical faith, reason, and the empirical world that makes up the scientific endeavor, and the line between luciferian intellectual presumption and wise courageous exploration.
Dr. John Carson Lennox is a Northern Irish mathematician, bioethicist, and Christian apologist. He has written several books, and was a professor at Oxford and Green Templeton College (Now retired) where he specialized in group theory. Lennox appeared in numerous debates with questions ranging from “Is God Good” to “Is There a God,” and faced off with academic titans such as Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer, and Christopher Hitchens, among others. Lennox speaks four languages – English, German, French, and Russian, has written 70 peer-reviewed articles on mathematics, co-authored two Oxford Mathematical Monographs, and was noted for his role in translating Russian mathematics while working as a professor.
Part of the ongoing ARC Conference. Video here.
The Better Story: The Liberal Democratic Ideal
NEW: Niall Ferguson, Andrew Hastie, and Rebeccah Heinrichs warn against the decline of liberal democracy and the rise of threats to the West | ARC Conference
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Historian Niall Ferguson warns of decline in liberal democracy
Historian Niall Ferguson has cautioned that liberal democracies are in decline around the world, with the number falling to just 32; or 13% of the world’s population.
Addressing the ARC conference, Ferguson called upon leaders across the political spectrum to come together to promote liberal democracies. “We must organise much better to uphold the values of individual freedom. Civilisation is too precious an achievement to become a conservative project only.”
“Liberal democracy in the US, the greatest of all the liberal democracies, seems to be threatened from within. The Axis of ill-will has fallen,” he warned. “These axes present much more of a strategic threat than any of the axes of the 1930s… This is true not just of the US, but also true of Anglosphere countries too.”
Ferguson took aim at the current lack of belief amongst Western leaders as insufficient in pushing back against autocracies around the world. “The current leadership don’t have a great level of conviction in their own institutions. They don’t have the same sense of passionate conviction that their enemies have. They cannot comprehend that Xi Jinping’s thought is Marxist–Leninist.”
Australian Shadow Defence Minister Andrew Hastie calls for West to improve preparedness against adversaries
During a panel discussion at the ARC conference, Australian Shadow Defence Minister Andrew Hastie said that there are “serious questions to answer in terms of our defence preparedness”, in light of the challenges posed to Western nations by adversaries.
He noted that he was “concerned about our resilience in the smallest organising group in society — the family”, and relayed an account from his own combat experiences where an Afghan family had suffered an IED explosion, and had returned home. He asked, “if the shoe was on the other foot, would we be as resilient as that family?”
Concluding, Hastie iterated that “bad government is the problem”, saying that “what people are crying out for is good government”. He ended by saying that “what people want is order”, and “moral leaders”.
Academic Rebeccah Heinrichs says the West has been slow to react to threats
At the ARC conference, in front of a crowd of 1,500 delegates, academic Rebeccah Heinrichs outlined the systemic challenges facing the West, with regimes that are “ideologically very committed”, in contrast to the West, where we have been “slow to realise what is upon us”.
She argued that the challenge for the West had come after the end of the Cold War, with the assumption that “commercialism” would “make the Chinese … liberal”, and that instead, they had become “happy and communist”.
Heinrichs warned that the West has to “believe that is worth doing” in order to succeed against adversaries like Russia, and that it “requires enormous amounts of statecraft and motivation to rebuild the defence industrial base to do that”. She said that a great distinction among the West was that we “value life”.
ARC is an international community that is building a vision for a better world where every citizen can prosper, contribute, and flourish, and where solutions to the challenges we face can be found. The inaugural conference will be held between October 30–November 1, in London, convening international leaders from the UK, US, and Australia, who will be contributing to discuss and debate these challenges to find practical solutions.
DAY 1 Capitalism and ESG
NEW: Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy sets out case against ‘woke capitalism’ | ARC Conference
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Investor Sir Paul Marshall calls for an end to crony capitalism
Speaking to 1,500 delegates at the ARC conference, Sir Paul Marshall introduced a discussion around capitalism by criticising “crony capitalism” and ‘corporatism’, and arguing that “the managerial classes… take control, and manage the system in their own best interests”.
He called for society to “‘rejoice in the abundance that true free enterprise and free markets create”, noting that “extreme poverty has fallen from 90% to 10% [and] … it has halved in the last twenty years alone”. He stated that “free market capitalism is the greatest instrument of poverty relief that the world has ever seen”.
Arguing that capitalism needed to be free in order to achieve its goals, Sir Paul declared that “predatory behaviour” was “rife” in the US, and challenged the market dominance of firms such as Google and Meta. Attacking extensive lobbying practices in the U.S. and EU markets, Marshall outlined that “corrupt societies practise tribalism and cronyism”, and develop monopolies in their markets.
Addressing the challenges posed by markets developing, Sir Paul noted that “‘advocates of free markets … need to explain how they can deal with the disruption to our communities”, and argued that “what we have seen since the 2008 crisis to the present day may be the largest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich since the Norman conquest”.
Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy denounces ‘woke capitalism’
In an address to the ARC conference, presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy criticised corporate adoption of ESG values as “a threat not just to capitalism, but also to democratic self-governance… that a small group of corporate actors have the right to decide through the back door what citizens could not do through the front door.”
Speaking to an audience of 1,500 from the campaign trail in Iowa, Ramaswamy argued that “good governance means the corporation is true to its own purpose, without diluting that missive with environmental or social objectives.”
The Republican hopeful was critical of Government’s role in bringing about existing ESG policies, identifying public vehicles such as pension funds as “trying to accomplish a political agenda” rather than deliver value.
The speeches preceded a panel featuring financier Helena Morrissey, free market think tank CEO Derek Kreifels, and industry veteran Terrence Keeley, who discussed whether capital has been misallocated to ESG initiatives, and how better corporate governance can be achieved.
DAY 1 OUR SOCIAL FABRIC
NEW: Miriam Cates MP warns of fraying Western social fabric
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Miriam Cates MP declares that our social fabric is under strain
Cates, addressing over 1,500 delegates at the ARC Conference, argued that the “triplet trophies of freedom, prosperity, and happiness are more fragile than any time since the war”. Commenting on the decline in fertility rates, she said that our “covenant…is under strain”, and that the “social fabric of our neighbourhoods is unravelling”.
Addressing the challenges of integration, she stated that “the last few weeks have shattered any remaining illusions that our communities are united”, and that “a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand”. Cates further warned against the risks posed by “destabilising immigration” in a time of “declining economic prosperity”.
She reaffirmed the role of the family as “the building block of society…the unit that ensures children…are raised in the virtues they need”, and noted that “the support of extended family has weakened and loneliness has increased”.
Cates went on to criticise the inclination of parents to “shield their child from any discomfort”, and in so doing leave them ill-prepared for life. She argued that our “addiction to debt” had “robbed” them of their economic inheritance, and said that our “GDP-obsessed system demands that mothers of small children leave their child in daycare”, regardless of the best interests of the child.
She concluded by affirming that “freedom, prosperity, and happiness are not values…they may be the fruits of a successful society, but they are not its roots” and that “the true roots of Western civilisation are the pursuit of the good, the true, and the beautiful”.
Psychologist Jonathan Haidt calls for ban on social media for under-16s, backs phone-free schools
Speaking to Spectator Editor Fraser Nelson at the ARC conference, author and psychologist Jonathan Haidt argued for urgent action to address the rise in children’s mental health issues as a result of social media. “‘The Great Rewiring of Childhood happened between 2010 and 2015,” he told the conference. “But you can’t grow up in networks, you have to grow up in communities… Nobody defends this phone-based childhood. Everyone sees the problems.”
Haidt went on to propose a set of norms to curb the negative effects of social media on children including restrictions on smartphones for children before high school, a ban on social media for those under-16, and for the global expansion of phone-free schools. Haidt’s proposals come as Department for Education guidance on phone-free schools was announced by the UK Government earlier this month.
He also warned of the dangers arising from social media for Western society: “TikTok and Twitter are dangerous for our democracy, and incompatible with the kind of liberal democracy we have developed over the last 150 years.”
DAY 1 A BETTER STORY
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ARC leaders open conference
Addressing over 1,500 delegates from 71 countries, ARC’s CEO Baroness Philippa Stroud and Board member Jordan Peterson set out their vision for a better future at a landmark gathering of international leaders.
Opening the conference, Baroness Stroud said: “We’re going to debate what needs to be renewed, and identify a path forward full of strength, hope and vision… to build a community filled with people of courage and strength, that sees the opportunity of abundance, not scarcity and decline”.
Peterson outlined his vision of distributive responsibility, saying that “ARC is our movement into the future… We have the responsibility to face an uncertain future with faith and courage.” He called on international leaders to “define reality and set out the choices that people must make.”
Current and former US House Speakers address threats to the West
Speaking at ARC’s opening session, Kevin McCarthy delivered his first overseas speech since his departure as Speaker of the House, saying that “there is no alternative to western civilisation” and warning that the West needs to “stand up to Communist China, North Korea, Russia and Hamas” in reasserting its values.
The former Speaker went on to echo President Ronald Reagan’s 1982 speech to the UK Parliament: “The ultimate deterrent in the struggle that now is going on in the world will not be bombs or rockets, but a test of wills. The values we hold, the beliefs we cherish, the ideals to which we are dedicated.”
The conference also heard prerecorded remarks from McCarthy’s successor, Speaker Mike Johnson, in his first public address since winning the speakership. “Democracy can be messy, and I believe US Congress and our entire nation has emerged better… the House is back in session” he told the conference, urging the “return [of] responsibility from the Government to the citizenry.”
Former Australian Deputy PM calls for restoration of trust following referendum
The opening session was followed by a panel on a better story for the West chaired by Peterson, and hearing from former Australian Deputy PM John Anderson, historian Os Guinness and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Anderson called for the restoration of trust in the Australian democratic process following the contentious Voice referendum earlier this month: “We want to reinvigorate a citizenship that feels alienated and patronised because they are being alienated and patronised. We can draw out the better angels of our nature, and try and ensure that our democracy works again properly on the basis of restored trust.”
On the need to reiterate a shared democratic story for the West, Anderson commented: “We do not tell our own story anymore. It has left us in a state of confusion… We leave our young people today without a sense of purpose or place or direction.”
The session featured calls from each of the panellists for a return to traditional values of equality of opportunity and faith following a period of directionlessness. “The West is in considerable confusion and uncertainty,” Guinness warned. “People don’t have a sense of meaning as they don’t feel part of a great story or tradition.”
NEW: Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove slams housing financialisation | ARC conference
Speaking on the second day of the ARC conference, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove discussed the state of the property market, criticising recent fiancialisation as “[seeing] housing being used increasingly as a tradeable asset”, and lambasting homeowners for “pulling up the drawbridge” in order to preserve the value of their properties.
Addressing 1,500 delegates from 71 countries at ARC’s inaugural conference, Gove addressed issues with capitalism, arguing that market inequalities have been exacerbated by the Bank of England’s Quantitative Easing regime inflating asset values following the Global Financial Crisis, and corporations concentrating gains “in the hands of the few” through an abuse of market power and extensive lobbying efforts.
Gove singled out big business for co-opting individuals from the ‘resentment industry’ — those who profit from manufactured grievances — to advise on ESG and DEI issues. “The DEI industry doesn’t go for diversity of thought, or genuine diversity of background,” he told the conference.
In his speech Gove broadened his critique of contemporary capitalism beyond economics, emphasising the importance of social policy. “Economics and culture are inextricably interlinked,” he said, advocating for a society which is “free of cancellation” and economically just, alongside promoting entrepreneurship.
“What we need is the Promethean spirit which grabs fire from the gods” – pursuing opportunity, & the “rabbinical spirit – in particular, that we must take inequality seriously”.
NEW: Erica Komisar calls for flexible working, family tax incentives to combat mental health epidemic | ARC Conference
Childcare expert calls for flexible working, family tax incentives to combat mental health epidemic.
“‘Our children are under the worst academic pressure that we have ever heard in history” according to psychoanalyst and parental expert Erica Komisar, who warned of a mental health epidemic in children arising from an absence in parental presence due to contemporary labour market pressures and childcare costs.
Komisar, addressing 1,500 delegates from 71 countries on the second day of the ARC conference in Greenwich, called for a series of reforms to government childcare policies as a necessary step in alleviating the mental health crisis around the world.
“Governments need to give all mothers the option to stay home for a full year, and support them with resources so they can work part-time for another two years,” she told the conference. Komisar also called for school to start later for teenagers, tax incentives for married parents, and a tax credit system incentivising parents to invest in mental health care.
The author of two books on parenting, Komisar also called on the private sector to enable new parents to spend more time with their new children: “employers have a role to play in allowing parents the space and time to be present for their children, providing options of flexible hours and hybrid working hours, encouraging career pauses to parents raising their children…as well as providing re-entry points for women.”
NEW: Former Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane calls on UK Government to address low growth, regional inequalities | ARC Conference
Speaking on the second day of the ARC conference, Haldane called for the UK to localise decision-making and increase the level of private financing in a bid to address twin blights of “low growth and large regional inequalities.”
“Currently in the UK [decision-making] is both centralised and single,” Haldane told an audience of 1,500 delegates. “It needs to become localised and plural.” On the need to unlock private funding, Haldane commented that easing the pathways for private investment is needed, as “too little [money] is finding its home where it can be.”
Haldane spoke alongside Australian Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor and Blue Labour founder Lord Maurice Glasman, in a panel discussion on the communities economically left behind hosted by academic and pollster Matt Goodwin.
Glasman advocated for increased access to capital through regional banks in order to address local inequalities.”[We need to] restore place, restore access to capital, and restore the dignity of labour,” the Labour peer said. Glasman also called for largescale education reforms to reduce income divides, advocating for half of all universities to be converted into vocational colleges.
The session featured a discussion with siblings Korie and Willie Robertson, the stars of U.S. reality show Duck Dynasty, discussing their experience growing up in a ‘flyover state’ and the importance of local relationships. “When you live in a community you truly live in community. We can have different opinions and different views and we can come around the table and love and respect one another,” Korie said.
NEW: Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians Jacinta Nampijinpa Price heralds referendum as “turning point” for Australia | ARC Conference
In a speech to the ARC Conference in London in the wake of the Voice referendum result earlier this month, Price called the vote “a turning point in our nation, in Australia.”
Addressing 1,500 delegates Price said that the vote “has emboldened everyday Australians to believe that it is perfectly OK to be who you are. To be proud of who you are as an individual.”
The Liberal Party politician criticised a Yes campaign that has “sought to divide us along the lines of race”, and had attempted to remove agency for indigenous Australians, sending the message that “it was the responsibility of white Australia to empower [indigenous Australians] through our constitution.”
Setting out a vision for the party’s approach to social policy ahead of a likely 2025 General Election, Price said that “the way forward from here is no more separatism, no more dividing us along the lines of race, no more political correctness, no more identity politics… recognising that we don’t need another to empower us. We can do that ourselves, and we can do it very well.”
Price said the result has created “hope and unity”, and “emboldened everyday Australians to understand that it is perfectly okay to be who you are.”
Featuring Bestselling Author Eric J. Metaxas, Interviewed by Graham H. Walker
Here’s a comment underneath the video:
Wait, what? Jean Paul Sartre changes his beliefs? Sartre died in 1980. I took philosophy in 1998 and Sartre was used as a foundation for atheism. Doing an internet search on Sartre’s conversion was actually difficult to find. Pierre Victor was one who revealed Sartre’s conversion. Sartre’ long-term companion, Simone de Beauvoir, critisizes Sartre after his death and called him a senile turncoat. Having to do a deep search on this in 2022, 42 years after Sartre’s death, is pretty indicative of the university system pushing anti-Christian religion. Thank you for revealing this.
Article by Thaddeus Kosinski, PhD.
However one explains this totalitarianism (and if you deny that we are now living under globalist totalitarianism, you are beyond the reach of argument), it cannot be denied that it emerged from the cultural and political soil of what we call Liberal democracies. There are only two explanations for this. One is that a revolution happened, one in complete opposition to those secular, enlightened, Liberal principles and practices that are truly ordered by and to the dignity and respect for the human person. Marxists or fascists or psychos have infiltrated the Liberal sanctuary and profaned it. The other explanation is that the totalitarianism we are now undergoing is logically entailed by the very principles and practices of Liberal democracy, which are not actually ordered by and to the dignity and respect for the human person, but only claim to be. I think the latter explanation is the more plausible one.
Dr. Joseph Boot defines General-Equity Theonomy and explains why so many Christians wrongly oppose it.
Boot was recently interviewed by Revelation TV.
Here are my notes:
How do we address the culture we’re living in?
JB: In the Western World, the objections to Christianity have been changing. 27 or so years ago, the focus was still on questions such as “does God exist”, “what about evil and suffering”, “is Jesus the only way to God”. Objections have changed, in university, media etc, people are not literate in theological points to ask these questions any more. The challenges are now civilizational. Christianity is deemed imperialistic, colonial, oppressive, anti-choice, misogynistic, transphobic etc. These are the kind of questions the pagan world asked Christians in Augustine’s time. He in turn wrote as an answer to these questions the tome “The City of God”.
We need a cultural apologetic to the challenges of our time.
The challenge to Christianity now is that Christianity itself is deemed evil.
What we’re facing now is radical de-Christianisation, it’s a revolutionary movement. It began in Europe with the French Revolution, which was the political expression of the philosophy of the enlightenment. Reason leading to the autonomy of man. Existence precedes essence. We’re not image-bearers of God, we are merely a choice, standing on the edge of the abyss. Everything’s about me. Then there was the neo-Marxist movement, the Frankfurt School which gave us Critical Theory, everything is socially constructed. The male Christian is the oppressor. The oppressed must become the oppressor.
The opposite movement to that has been the retreat of the church.
The Ezra Institute is trying to put some backbone back into the church. What does it truly mean to be a Christian? Great Commission. We’ve retreated from externalising the faith. Culture is religion externalised. We’ve left the various institutions of cultural life to the forces of secularism, humanism and paganism. We’ve sent our children to Caesar to be educated and are shocked that they return as Romans.
We’ve reduced Christianity to personal salvation and neglected that we pray “Your Kingdom come, your will be done ON EARTH as it is in heaven”. We’ve surrendered Jesus’ Lordship over all life.
The temptation for the church has always been to be synthesised with the culture around it. This happened when the pagan elites became Christianised. They wanted to synthesise their culture. Roman Catholicism was a synthesised culture. Then the Reformation came along. And with that the rediscovery that Jesus is the king of kings. Meaning that in economics, law, education, political life, in the arts etc. we must bring to bear the claims of the Lord Jesus.
What we’re saying in the West now is that we like the fruits of Christendom: Freedom, the rule of law, economic prosperity, peace and stability, etc. But we don’t want the root, which is Christ. We thought we could retain those things without the Gospel of Jesus Christ and submission to his word. We’ve been living off the energy of Christendom for a long time. We now find the Christian capital so eroded we’re in a crisis spiritually.
What principle markers should we be looking for in the path to recovery?
We need to recognise that Jesus is not just our saviour, but also our Lord. Christ is not just redeemer, he is also creator. He is Lord over all areas of life, not just in the church and a little bit in the family.
Our situation is like in a double-decker bus. Where in the upper deck we do the spiritual disciplines. In the lower deck we have the “secular area” which can be governed by the neutral forces of reason. Problem: That’s where the driver is. And it’s driving off a cliff. Paul says be transformed by the Holy Spirit and present your bodies as a living sacrifice.
That means take off that upper deck altogether. Just have one deck. It’s called the Kingdom of God. No area of life is outside the Kingdom rule and reign of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We’ve lost the Christian life view. Human existence is in every area a response to the Word of God. You can’t have Christian action if you don’t have Christian thinking. Young, enthusiastic Christians who want to do something end up doing things with are “Karl Marx baptised” or some other world-life view sprinkled with some Christian name. We’ve got to recover a Christian world and life view so we can act and live Christianly.
We’re currently not the salt and light of the culture.
There’s the elements of Prophet, Priest and King. It’s the King element that’s missing. My father was told “we shouldn’t be interested in property”. He said: “Well the devil is.”
Every square inch of the universe is contested between Christ and the Enemy. People want to stay on the mountain, have the sort of monastic life. No, you have to come down from the mountain and deal with the boy possessed by an evil spirit.