Cultural Warfare vs. Spiritual Warfare

Cultural Warfare vs. Spiritual Warfare February 16, 2024


Mark Dooley is an Irish philosopher, university professor, and journalist.  A “public intellectual,” he has written about postmodern ethics, the deconstructionist Jacques Derrida, and the crisis in the Irish Catholic church.

So it is somewhat surprising to see someone of his background taking the positions that he does in his article for The European Conservative entitled “The Religion of Antichrist” with the deck, “Let us avoid talk of a ‘culture war’ when what we are engaged in is nothing less than a lethal spiritual conflict.”  The article begins. . .

The biggest mistake we make is in believing that we are in a so-called ‘culture war.’ The phrase ‘culture war’ assumes that both sides have rival cultures they are battling to defend and promote. However, the enemies of civilisation, of life, and love, have no culture. If anything, their aim is not only to destroy the great cultural and spiritual achievements of the West, but to lay waste to anything that transcends the diabolical and obscene. Culture presupposes beauty, order, and tranquillity. It assumes those moral and spiritual values upon which harmony and holiness depend. In word, rite, song, and ritual; it idealises what William Blake termed “the human form divine.” In our “brave new world,” however, the human form is considered neither divine nor worthy of reverence or respect. It has been reduced to what Roger Scruton called its “animal essentials”—a purely natural object that can be remade in the image and likeness of anything but God. Put simply, the only ‘culture’ that is on offer is that of death and desecration, of defilement and the demonic.

Therefore, let us avoid talk of a ‘culture war’ when what we are engaged in is nothing less than a lethal spiritual conflict. If you perceive the assault on marriage, the family, innocence, and the very nature of the biological order, as a culture war, you will be at a loss to explain why there is a such a ferocious attack on the sanctity of sexuality. You will struggle to explain to children why heterosexuality is not simply one of many competing options, or why euthanasia is not an act of mercy for the critically ill, or why puberty blockers are not a lifestyle choice but an outrageous violation of natural sexual development. That is why we must see this confrontation for what it is: a spiritual war in which the forces of darkness are seeking to ravage everything that is good, beautiful, and true.

[Keep reading. . .]

Dooley goes on to make the case that demons are real and that the seemingly progressive side of the “culture war” controversies is, in fact, demonic.  Not only that, his arguments are taken right out of the Bible, supported by quotations from throughout the New Testament.  And the spiritual warfare he calls for is grounded in the gospel of Christ, as we oppose the forces of darkness with His light.  He closes the article with a line from St. Paul that is quite remarkable but that I had never noticed before:  “the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true” (Ephesians 5:9).

I don’t expect that sort of thing from a cutting-edge European intellectual with postmodernist credentials.  But here it is.  This is an encouraging sign.

Philosopher John Betz has said that the thought of J. G. Hamann is the only way forward from the nihilistic dead-ends of both modernism and postmodernism.  And, as we have blogged about, Hamann was simply applying on a very sophisticated level his Christ-centeredness and his faith in God’s Word.

Maybe at least some contemporary thinkers are starting to realize the demonic darkness inherent in today’s “cultural” controversies and are rediscovering Christianity as the only way forward.


Illustration:  The Dragon and the Beast from the Apocalypse Tapestry (1377-1382) by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra from Paris, France – La tenture de l'Apocalypse (Angers)Uploaded by Markos90, CC BY 2.0,



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