I’m reading A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War by Joseph Loconte. It is one of several books I’ve read about WWI and its origins over the past couple of years. Some of what I’m reading about the spiritual conditions leading into (and through) the First World War seem disturbingly familiar. Some of the specifics may have changed, but the general spirit of those conditions is unmistakably in the world again today; disguised to a degree – but with a flimsy mask.
The alliance of church and state allowed the secular goals of government to get mixed up with the spiritual goals of Christianity.
Add to this the rise of the most potent political ideology of the hour: nationalism. The nation-state was replacing religion as a powerful source of meaning and identity in people’s lives…
…For devoted nationalists, their patriotic faith was equivalent to membership in an alternative church. For religious believers, nationalism offered a grandiose political outlet for their faith commitments. The result was the birth of Christian nationalism , the near sanctification of the modern state.