Turns out ‘The Benedict Option’ is a hoax

Turns out ‘The Benedict Option’ is a hoax, by John Jalsevac.

I was a little mystified, having finished reading The Benedict Option (TBO), to discover not only that the book turns out to be in many respects an elaborate –- albeit well-intentioned and probably evangelically useful –- practical joke, but also that so few seem to have noticed that author Rod Dreher himself admits as much about halfway through, and cheerfully gives up the punchline. …

And the joke is this: the Benedict Option isn’t. An option, I mean. No more than being a Christian is, for the simple reason that they’re very nearly the same thing. …

One blogger has boiled Dreher’s book down into 43 concrete proposals, and, with one or two possible exceptions, the final product reads more akin to Practical Christian Living 101, than Rod Dreher’s Guide to How to Flee the Coming Apocalypse.

For those interested in the Benedict Option or the fate of traditional values in today’s PC society, this article is incisive.

What Dreher seems to be proposing is really an escape from the PC propaganda soaking our minds, rather than fighting it:

Here is Dreher summarizing what he calls the “antipolitical politics” of the Benedict Option: “Secede culturally from the mainstream. Turn off the television. Put the smartphones away. Read books. Play games. Make music. Feast with your neighbors. It is not enough to avoid what is bad; you must also embrace what is good. Start a church, or a group within your church. Open a classical Christian school, or join and strengthen one that exists. Plant a garden, and participate in a local farmer’s market. Teach kids how to play music, and start a band. Join the volunteer fire department.” …

Many of the criticisms of Dreher appear to arise from a failure to read the signs of the times, or of an excessive confidence in ordinary Christians’ capacity to withstand growing external pressure to conform. Consider, for instance, the protests against Dreher’s near-categorical advice to Christian parents to withdraw their children from public schools. Perhaps Dreher was too absolute. Perhaps he ought to have given some allowance for the wide divergence in the quality of public schools. I don’t know. But I do know that those who respond that it is necessary for Christian children to remain in public schools so as to act as “salt and light” to their non-Christian peers are displaying a potentially disastrous naiveté. Either they happen to have unusually saintly children, or they are grossly underestimating the challenges an isolated Christian teen faces in staying faithful in the midst of overwhelming peer pressure.

hat-tip Stephen Neil