As Christians we confess that God is in control of what happens in the world. We confess that his plan for the universe will inevitably come to pass. And we know from Scripture what his plan is. Nonetheless, in the day-to-day reality we live in, I often hear about experiences of the exact opposite. “Things are getting worse” is something you hear even ardent postmillennialists say nowadays. While we should take heed against false optimism, it is easy for Christians to slip into the Fukuyamian eschatological paradigm of liberal democracy as the end of history. Fukuyama’s theory is that the liberal democracy that has established itself in the Western world since the end of WWII is the ultimate telos of history. Nothing can and will supersede it. The history of the world thereby culminates in a multicultural, secular, abortifacient, gay global village.
While no Christian should adhere to a Fukuyamian paradigm, many well-meaning Christians do so either implicitly or explicitly (e.g. dispensationalists). The net effect is withdrawal from the culture war and/or seclusion, which has its time and place, but is certainly not the lifestyle to which Christian nationalists are called – especially not in our day.
We know that the liberalization of society is not inevitable. We know this from Scripture, but in our weakness, the reality of our time leads many of us to live as if without this knowledge.
Therefore I want to point you to a few interesting recent surveys for encouragement. We walk by faith and not by sight, but I believe we can see the works of God in his creation and history. Therefore the following facts can aid in encouraging us:
1. Generation Z Is More Conservative Than Millennials
They are twice as likely to attend church (41% vs 18%), less sexually active, and less feminist. – 40% of Generation Z disagree with the idea that men should be breadwinners and women homemakers, compared to 60% of millennials.
While this doesn’t (yet) seem to be the case in America, in the United Kingdom a survey found that Generation Z had more conservative views on homosexuality and transgenderism than Millennials (14% opposition compared to 2% of Millennials).
Of course they are still, as a whole, a liberal generation – as the recent anti-gun protests evidence – but there are definite signs that, with this generation, the tide of liberalization is turning.
2. Both Europe and the U.S. Are Swinging Towards the Right
We see it everywhere in Europe nowadays – the right wing doing well in, and even winning, election after election. Hungary and Poland are prime examples, but even in liberal meccas like the UK, France, and Germany, right-wing parties are making immense progress. Bavaria in Germany, for example, recently ordered that the Christian cross be reinstated on all public buildings in the state, after it had been banned for nearly three decades.
In the United States, of course, Trump’s election was a historic electoral swing to the right, but now we even have white nationalist candidates like Paul Nehlen and Patrick Little competitively running for high offices.
3. Eastern Europe Is Being Re-Christianized
I honestly regard this as the miracle of the century thus far – that countries formerly mired in hard communism for six or seven decades can emerge with traditional Christianity and nationalism filling the vacuum left in the public domain.
In Russia, the number of people who self-identify as Orthodox Christians rose from 37% in 1991 to 71% in 2016. In the same period the figure in Bulgaria rose from 59% to 75% and in Ukraine from 39% to 78%.
A recent survey in Russia found that the percentage of people opposing abortion has increased from 12% to 35% in the past 20 years. In that same period those who condemned extramarital relations increased from 50% to 68% and opposition to homosexuality increased from 68% to 83%.
While the percentage of those self-identifying as Christians in Poland has decreased, Church attendance is stable and recently rose to almost 40% for the first time in many years.
Granted, these statistics represent only a small part of what is happening in the world, and we obviously still face a very big uphill battle and live in dark times, but take encouragement from these facts, as I believe that through them God is also showing us that He is at work and that He is laying the groundwork for his victory. Let us therefore strive towards a nuanced, realistic view of the state of the world today, and avoid both overt pessimism and unrealistic optimism in the face of challenges.
The fact of the matter is: history is already proving Fukuyama wrong, even in his own lifetime. Liberalism is not the end of history, not in the West, not anywhere – as the whole world will learn soon enough.