The fact is, Christianity has been losing ground from the beginning – and isn’t that logical? If we believe in a cosmic drama unfolding, we can expect opposition. While it is true that some of the Founders were Christian, the faith has been under attack since, well, let Kevin Swanson take it from here:
“Whatever happened to Western civilization?” Swanson asks. “Somehow, Christians have lost ground in every cultural area of leadership and influence in Europe and America since 1700. This is an indisputable fact. The remaining Christians search for an explanation. They want to know how it happened.”
Swanson has explained how it happened in a new book, “Apostate: The Men Who Destroyed the Christian West.” For the millions in the pews of churches today, who seem disoriented, this book is an incredible resource for understanding the big picture.
Swanson, a Colorado pastor, explains in fascinating detail the decline of Western civilization, brought about by change agents who never took a day off. For those of us who thought life would sort of just always go on as it always has, think again. “Apostate” blows the lid off that fantasy.
Swanson’s analysis of the roles played by men like Charles Darwin (obvious), John Locke, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Dewey, and Nathaniel Hawthorne – among others – is so compelling, “Apostate” should be a Bible study in churches across the land.
In a supremely clever and eye-opening bit of writing, Swanson refers to these men as the “Nephilim,” which of course find their fame in the book of Genesis – the mysterious beings who sought to corrupt mankind. It is a precise and descriptive word to explain the dark agendas that unfold in this book.
Let’s take Hawthorne for example. As Swanson writes: “Nathaniel Hawthorne was the 19th century American literary giant who did more to shift the American culture away from its national Christian heritage than anyone else. His hatred of the Puritans was deeply personal, relentlessly bitter and marginally psychotic.”
And I just thought Hawthorne was stone-cold boring.
Or take the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who is part of this cabal that Swanson describes as “utterly ruinous.” Rousseau, according to Swanson, has “fingerprints all over the institutions of the modern world. Schools, churches, and governments have incorporated his ideologies in their organized methodologies.” Indeed, the revolutions that devastated France, Germany, China and Russia were rooted in Rousseau’s ideologies.
Rousseau, whose life spanned much of the 18th century, was a backslidden Christian. His grandfather was a Calvinist preacher! His mother died soon after childbirth and his father abandoned him, leaving the young Rousseau to pursue a life of hedonism. His ideas incubated until reaching full flower as an influential “man of ideas.” We are still reeling from the effects of his altered worldview.
Or how about Nietzsche? This man, who contributed to the atmosphere in which Higher Critical methods of biblical interpretation sprouted and flourished, is today – wrap your mind around this – quoted often by rising evangelical leaders in America.
In his own day, as Swanson points out, Nietzsche was, well, poison: “Nietzsche’s ideas were extremely toxic, and his influence vast. In fact, this son of a pastor may have been the most dangerous philosopher of the last millennium. Nobody defied God with as much animate force and vigor as Nietzsche. By his own testimony, he fully intended to strike ‘a destructive blow against Christianity.’”
A lesser-known toxic presence – in the context of “Apostate” – was William Shakespeare.
Swanson has done his research, and shows that the Bard was a somewhat shadowy figure: “Mystery surrounds his education, religious background and his induction into the theater scene in London.”
Swanson also pulls back the curtain on a key plot point with regard to Shakespeare and the influence of theater (which of course has evolved in our day to film): “Since Shakespeare’s day, the theater and the fine arts have become seedbeds for homosexual themes and homosexual behavior.”
Swanson explores the relationship between Shakespeare and fellow playwright Christopher Marlowe, and notes that Shakespeare left his wife, Anne Hathaway.
These are among the amazing profiles Swanson addresses as he shines an important light on the roots of anti-Christian thought in Europe and even America. It’s a critical contribution to the literature and should be studied by anyone interested in the rise and fall of civilizations.