Skip to comments.What role does faith play in the standoff between Russia and the West?
Posted on 06/27/2017 7:19:25 PM PDT by ReformationFan
It is perhaps somewhat ironic that the last time Americans were informed this incessantly of the threat Russia posed to the United States, it was called the Soviet Union and the Left was insisting that everything was being overblown. This time, in spite of a glaring lack of evidence, it is the Left that is announcing from its perch in the mainstream media that Donald Trump is Vladimir Putins puppet, and that Russia is the evil puppet-master pulling the strings of American democracy. The sinister Russian bear is growling in the East, we are told, and we should all be very, very afraid.
Leaving aside for a moment any analysis of Russias situation in the geopolitical scheme of thingsPeter Hitchens makes a very persuasive case that the ongoing demonization is self-servingit is interesting to consider what everyday Russians think of the West, and specifically the United States. After my last trip to Eastern Europe a couple of years ago, I wrote a column explaining that many of those in more traditional societies dont actually see the West as an exporter of freedom. The USA to most nations overseas is Hollywood, trashy pop music, Internet pornography, and the relentless promotion of alternative sexual lifestyles. My tour guide in Serbia, an unemployed engineer wed hired for the day, complained bitterly about attempts by the Western powers to force Pride Parades in countries like his own.
This suspicion, it seems, is widespread. Last month, Sigal Samuel published a fascinating essay in The Atlantic titled Where Russia is seen as a buffer against the US. In it, she describes that Russia and other more traditionalist nations often see the USA as a debauched enemy of faith and tradition. According to a Pew Research Center Survey, in most nations with Orthodox Christian majorities, Russia is seen as an important buffer against the influence of the West. America, Samuel notes, is not perceived how many Americans might think they are perceived, and the US is no longer seen as a Christian nation to many.
The survey included fascinating details:
The Pew researchers interviewed more than 25,000 adults in Russia and 17 other countries, from Ukraine and Poland to Bulgaria and Greece. They found that Orthodox Christians make up an estimated 57 percent of those in the region; in Russia, that number rises to 71 percent. The survey also found that the share of the population that identifies as Orthodox has risen dramatically in the regions largest countries since the fall of the Soviet Union. By contrast, in historically Catholic countries, Catholics have seen declines.
The rise of Orthodox Christianity carries important implications: Those in Orthodox-majority countries are more likely than people elsewhere to be socially conservative, to say theyre very proud of their nationality, to see their culture as superior to others, and to state that a strong Russia is necessary to balance the influence of the West, the survey found. Most people in these nations agreed with that last statement. Even in Greece, 70 percent were on board with it, despite the fact that the country is a member of the European Union.
It is no exaggeration to say that under the Obama Administration, the United States was the bully if not enemy of socially conservative governments. The European Union is also relentless in its attempts to push the LGBT agenda as well as demanding the legalization of abortion in Poland and Ireland. There are many in Eastern European nations who are angered by the arrogance of the West in seeking to impose a new value system, and many in Russia, as well. The Cold War dynamics of a godless Evil Empire and the Christian West are no longer in placethe slow but steady re-Christianization of Russia since the fall of the Berlin Wall is perhaps one of the most underreported stories of the last thirty years. One of the authors of the study noted that, The look toward Russia is multi-dimensional: Its geopolitical, its cultural, its religious, and its also economic. Samuel concurred, adding that, Russias desire to balance the West on all these fronts appears to stem partly from a perceived values gapa conflict between the traditional values in respondents countries and the values of the West.
Many Eastern European nations are also suspicious of Americans no-holds-barred capitalism and the accompanying materialism and radical individualism that has come to define American culture. Many wonder whether the Western rat race is all that its cracked up to be, Brittany Pheiffer Noble told Samuel. And while the geopolitical and economic tensions are obvious to everyone, the cultural and religious tensions have gone unmentioned by commentators and analysts, if not missed entirely:
But the perception of clashing values goes beyond different economic models. Pheiffer Noble added that there is a widespread sense among Russians that they are safeguarding civilization, be it through the conservative gender norms and sexual norms they advocate, the literature they produce, or the soldiers they send off to war in every generation. In Russian culture, they have their canon, and their canon is pretty impressive, she said. They got Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Theyve got iconography. Theyve got the idea of suffering as a cultural valueand they feel like theyre winning at that.
Its not hard to see why many Russians feel this way. Here in the West, it is rapidly becoming a hate crime to say things like men cant get pregnant. Parents who believe in traditional marriage between a man and a woman are being eyed by the state with suspicion, and laws are being passed that could one day be used by the government to remove children from homophobic homes. The transgender craze, with children being fed hormone blockers and promised genital mutilation before the age of discretion, and the publicly funded simulated orgies that take place in our streets during Pride Month each year, not to mention a dozen other accepted dogmatic insanities, must surely make it appear to simpler and wiser people as if wed all gone mad.
Thats not to mention the fact that suffering as a cultural value has vanished completely from the West. We understood it once, when the Judeo-Christian values that undergirded our society had not yet been chipped away. But now, potential suffering is the main excuse given for the destruction of human life in the womb, if any excuse is even given at all. Limited euthanasia is giving way to suicide-on-demand, with the fictitious right to have the government fund your self-extinction if you do not wish to endure those circumstances put on you by Providence being loudly championed by those who desire even those with mental illness to opt for lethal injection. As for any cultural confidence? A sure sign that you are a Western academic, with a few notable exceptions, is your utter loathing for Western Civilization and the bigots who brought it about.
Sergei Chapnin, the former editor of the official journal of the Russian Orthodox Church, explained that the decline of values in the West has actually proven to be a useful tool to those who wish to create an us versus them attitude. Sometimes, Chapnin says, Christian values are used as a tool to bolster anti-Western political rhetoric:
The system of traditional values is a way to find an enemy. Traditionalism versus liberalism helps us to fight liberals, he told me. Although the traditional-values agenda is sometimes framed in terms of positive goals, such as putting a premium on families and childbearing, Chapnin argues its more often a negative project that consists of fighting LGBT activists, same-sex marriage activists, and pro-choice activists.
With the bullying progressive agendas of Obama and the EU over the past decade or so, of course, its not hard to portray the West as an anti-civilization that seeks not to sow the seeds of democracy but instead spread their own moral desert. Despite all this, the survey still shows that a majority in most countries want to work with both Russia and the United States. Very few people desire a return to Cold War tensions that the Left in the United States seems determined to bring back in their scrabbling attempt to destroy Donald Trumps presidency.
But yet, the story behind the storythat religious and cultural traditionalism are as much a part of the divide between East and West as geopolitics and economic interestsis one that deserves far more attention than it has received. It is easy for those of us in the West to forget that our nations now export trashy films, pornography, abortion, and new sexual ideologies as a matter of course, often using globalist bureaucracies like the United Nations and the European Union. Those on the receiving end are often resentful of this cultural colonialism, having no desire to give up the traditions that have served them well for centuries. In Eastern Europe, faith and tradition were often the candles that guided people through the dark night of Communist rule, and they are understandably resistant to having those candles blown out.
It brings to mind my experience several years ago when I was visiting Poland, and spent the Sunday in a little inn in a tiny countryside village. In the morning, I awoke to church bells clanging, and went outside to see where the sound was coming from. The streets were filled with peoplebeautiful girls, elderly ladies, young families with children chasing each other down the cobblestone streetsall heading to church. After the service, what seemed like half the village turned out to picnic next to a clear, cold, river, talking and laughing while the children splashed in the shallows. It is this country that the European Union ordered imperiously to take more Syrian migrants, or get out. It was this country that the European Union fined for refusing to loosen restrictions on abortion. The Poles, as you can imagine, were not thrilled with these interferences.
In order to understand the Lefts hatred of Russia, its important to understand that Russia is not Vladimir Putin, as they would have you believe. Nobody is defending Putin. But the rise of Orthodox Christianity, the return of traditional values, and the slow move of the Russian people to reclaim the beautiful heritage that was attacked for decades by the Stalinists and the Communists is also part of this story. It is not a story you will hear on CNN, or NBC, or even FOX News. It is not a story that will surface during the hysterical accusations that Donald Trump is Putins puppet. But it is a story that helps us to see why things are the way they are, and allows us to see our world a little more clearly.
Some worthwhile reading here, that’s for sure.
I’m on my 3rd beer. too much information.
The beer must be pretty good tonight, but those of us who live in the West are expected to be angry with Russia while in the Western nations like the USA, Canada, Western Europe etc. etc. traditional values and those who believe in them are being systematically demonized, outlawed, marginalized from business-employment and the list goes on.
That’s a lot harder for me to swallow than the brew you’re swallowing tonight.
Have a good night.
sad that only one politician in Christendom will stand up to the Muslims, and he’s in Russia.
I heard a day or two ago that the Hungarian prime minister is not letting Middle Eastern refugees into his country. That should count.
Even during the Cold War, the then-Soviet Union wasn't equal to us. It was more that our leaders were feckless and didn't have the guts to stand up to them, until Reagan came along.
Look, this nation was completely humiliated in one of history's biggest military routs by the Japanese. You're going to tell me they were equal to us, when they barely fought the Nazis to a draw (and would have lost if it wasn't for their winters) and didn't participate in any of the Allies other victories?
I’ve said in a post here recently that when the Russians were atheistic communists, the DemocRats loved them. Now that Russia is a country that supports Christians and Christian values, the Dems hate and fear them.
There’s gotta be a reason for that. But like the authorities looking for the motive for Muslim terrorists, I just can’t quite figure it out.
Now that Russia’s leaders are openly Christian, liberals find it appropriate to hate them. Couldn’t condemn them when atheist communist, though, too much in common with Western liberals.
The USA to most nations overseas is Hollywood, trashy pop music, Internet pornography, and the relentless promotion of alternative sexual lifestyles.....
I would agree to this....They can’t help but see us this way because it’s everywhere 24/7. They also do not see our nation as a ‘free’ nation.
American couple who raised their kids in Brazil had to warn them before visiting here about what they say. They explained that socially Brazil’s population is far more free socially than Americans.... That American speech is ‘government controlled’.....(Political correctness)
I remember these times in my hometown. My sister was responsible for getting us all ready for church....that's what you did on Sundays....You were the 'oddballs' if you didn't go to church...... Afterward 'Sunday Dinner' often inviting friends or sharing with them around their table. Pretty much everybody in town did this. There were no stores open except for gas stations.
Russia has the highest Abortion Rate in the World.
Russia has a Suicide Rate far higher than the United States.
Russia has a Murder Rate far higher than the United States.
Russia has a Male Life Expectancy of 64.7.
I see few “Traditional Values” in that cold hard data.
“The system of traditional values is a way to find an enemy. Traditionalism versus liberalism helps us to fight liberals, he told me. Although the traditional-values agenda is sometimes framed in terms of positive goals, such as putting a premium on families and childbearing, Chapnin argues its more often a negative project that consists of fighting LGBT activists, same-sex marriage activists, and pro-choice activists.”
When a culture war is being waged you had best be setting guards, at a minimum, where the enemy is seeking to advance.
If the cultural Marxist were not actively pushing the perverted, the insane and the murder of the innocent those would NOT be battlefields.
Homosexual this or that, genderism, abortion ... these are NOT neutral issues that are to be assumed normal in the moral spectrum as the left assumes they are and frames their rhetoric around the view that to oppose these makes you a bad person, a something-phobe or whatever.
The left frames it’s rhetoric as moral assumptions (though it is a very strange morality) which admit no contradiction rather than moral arguments and counter arguments. This is the fruit of critical theory that so many assert is a nothing muffin even though it lay behind much that they do. All too often there is a want of honesty, or even the awareness, to admit that they are pushing an agenda themselves.
Progressives are, to be frank, proverbial forest dwellers who somehow don’t believe in forests.
I don’t expect many progressives to understand since they ALSO seem unable to realize that the civilization war that is Islam vs everyone else has certain battlefields too...
They sure have no problems with the ChiComs trying to influence our elections nor have they since Bill was running a B&B out of the Lincoln Bedroom.
The cold, dead hands of their secularism still infecting the nation?
Maybe there is a reason so many are returning to what the Soviets tried to push aside?
Fake standoff for fake policies from homo-globalist propagandists.
...”Ive said in a post here recently that when the Russians were atheistic communists, the DemocRats loved them. Now that Russia is a country that supports Christians and Christian values, the Dems hate and fear them.
Theres gotta be a reason for that. But like the authorities looking for the motive for Muslim terrorists, I just cant quite figure it out.”...
Could it possibly be that too many of our leaders in the West are leftists supporters of abortion on demand, the LGBTABCDEFT groups promoting gender mutilation, both figuratively and literally, haters of anti-conservative, Christian believing people, anti-free-speech, white, hating college professors who promote violent resistance to our form of government, a lying left-wing media who will stop at nothing to bring about a coup of a duly elected President, and a drug culture which is ruining the lives of a large percentage of our youth and killing many of them and much more which looks like a nation with a Democrat party of out-of-control, entitlement besotted, narcissists who will do anything, bow to any kind of madness to keep control of a nation, whose freedom has been so good to so many in the past, but is now on it’s way to extinction if Trump and his supporters cannot turn things around. (Taking a breath). Why would anyone doubt that the good people of Russia are staunch in feeling that they want no part of a culture that President Trump has correctly named, “The Swamp.” I see signs that some are awakening to the truth of this situation American is in and are beginning to call names. Good for them! This is an excellent article. Never heard of the author, Jonathan Van Maren, but I will be buying his book.
culture is a fig leaf for race, It is simply white vs colored.
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