From Culture War to Religious War

From Culture War to Religious War June 6, 2023


John Daniel Davidson argues that the culture war has morphed into a religious war, between those who believe in the “Tao” of objective reality and morality versus those who believe in the “Machine” that rebels against God and everything that He has created, assuming that we can remake it all through our choices and our technology.

He explains in his Federalist article Corporate America Has Launched A Religious War. It’s Time To Choose Your Side.  In the course of his discussion of Bud Light, Target, North Face, the Dodgers, and other corporations that virtue signal their embrace of  transgenderism, he throws down this gauntlet:

We’ve entered a new phase of the culture war, and in some ways have transcended “the culture war” completely. What we’re in now is better described as a religious war — one that’s been launched by corporate America against all of us, and therefore demands we all choose sides.

Choosing sides in a religious war means you have to choose your religion. And in this particular religious war, there are only two sides. On one side is what C.S. Lewis called the Tao, which was his ecumenical shorthand for objective moral truth. “The Tao, which others may call Natural Law or Traditional Morality or the First Principles of Practical Reason or the First Platitudes, is not one among a series of possible systems of value,” Lewis wrote in The Abolition of Man. “It is the sole source of all value judgments. If it is rejected, all value is rejected. If any value is retained, it is retained.”. . .

On the other side is what the writer Paul Kingsnorth, among others, has called the Machine, which at its root is a Nietzschean rebellion against God that turns out also to be “a rebellion against everything: roots, culture, community, families, biology itself.”

The conflict between these two religions, Davidson says, goes back to the Garden of Eden.  “Every rebellion against God, from the Garden to now, is also an attempt to overthrow Him, to become like God. Indeed, the desire to play God is the dark heart of both transgenderism and its close cousin, transhumanism. Like other evils of our age — abortion and euthanasia, to name the obvious ones — these are, at their roots, extremely candid manifestations of pride, the source of all sin.”

How ironic that the rebels against sexuality celebrate themselves during “pride” month, with “pride” parades and “pride” merchandise.  Sexual or gender transgressions are surely lesser sins than pride, but pride is what they are celebrating.

Do you agree with Davidson that we are no longer in a culture war but in a religious war?  After all, the controversies are not just over cultural “values,” but over the nature of reality, the locus of morality, and the identity of the creator.  Is physical and moral reality a creation of God, or a “construction” of human beings?

These are religious issues, are they not?

That doesn’t mean that we should fight a literal religious war, though, as in the Crusades or the Thirty Years War.  People of different religions can get along in the kingdoms of the world.  And yet when one religion imposes itself on others, forces them to conform to the established religion, and punishes non-believers for not accepting the approved faith, that becomes a problem.  Isn’t that what “the Machine” has been doing, exactly what it accuses religions of having done in the past?

Such impositions of religion can only be resisted with a stronger faith of one’s own. Concludes Davidson,

What will be required of those who resist [the corporations] is a deep religious commitment, a radical new way of living in the modern, digital age. If you’re a Jew, be deeply serious about your Judaism. If you’re a Christian, make the practice of your faith the central organizing fact of your life, not just something you do on Sundays. If you’re an atheist, pray that God gives you faith.



Illustration:  Thirty Years War Collage 2 by DavidDijkgraaf, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

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