In my last post I asked, ‘Who then shall hold the line?’ and confidently answered, ‘We shall’. Yet Christians are a small and shrinking minority in the West, and only a small minority of that small minority argue for biblical principles for society. What chance do biblical Christians have when faced with the powers of the elites and the opposition of the great majority?
A Total Revolution Every so often something hits you between the eyes and you wonder, ‘What on earth is happening, are there any sane people left out there?’ This week Michelle Winter, a violent male who self-identifies as a ‘trans woman’ was imprisoned for fifteen years for raping a woman, and yet the press referred to the rapist Winter as a woman.
That this is calmly accepted by the mainstream culture highlights the total revolution in morality the West has undergone in the last few decades. We have seen the spread of divorce followed by the reformulation of marriage, there is in practice scant limit to the right to abortion, then there is the anti-scientific LGBTQ revolution. Have you ever wondered how a small minority has effected massive intellectual and moral change in society so rapidly?
Those Responsible Two interlocking groups are responsible for this. Firstly, there are the social elites who wanted justification for their lifestyles and looked down on the plebs whose ‘old-fashioned’ Christian-based morality made them uncomfortable. They allied with the intellectual establishment who, as Orwell pointed out, have always sneered at the working and middle classes and who imagined themselves to be heroic figures by destroying that which took centuries to build.
Secondly there are the activists, the storm troopers of Extinction Rebellion (XR), the LGBTQ+ movement, BLM, Antifa etc. Those are usually young, middle-class, relatively privileged graduates who, cushioned by their parents’ money or the state, are able to play the revolutionary. These activists striving for a massive reversal of the traditional morality of the entire Western world recognise they are a small, even tiny, minority. At the same time they are utterly convinced that they can change the world. And they have.
The Maths of Change Every movement claims a differing percentage behind the truth that a small, dedicated minority can change cultures. For XR, 3.5 is the number enabling them to achieve their goal. They believe that once 3.5 per cent of the population is activated for their cause, they will win. Not the majority of the people, 50 per cent plus 1, not even a significant minority, just 3.5 per cent. XR believe it takes only 3.5 per cent of a population, sometimes less, to mount a non-violent protest and achieve success. Thankfully, even with the backing of the media and the complicity of the police, XR turnouts muster only a few thousand at most while 3.5 per cent of the British population, excluding the aged and infirm and small children, is closer to 2million.
It is generally held in the Muslim world that 11 is the important number. Once Muslims account for 11 per cent of a population, they can dominate the political, cultural and social life of the community, and this has happened throughout the world.
In the worlds of business, the military and politics the Pareto principle is accepted. This says that 80 per cent of the wealth is held by 20 per cent of the people. It is believed, and easily observed, that in any organisation 20 per cent of the people do 80 per cent of the work. This is especially true of voluntary organisations, including the church. In church life we see a recurring pattern, 20 per cent of the members do 80 per cent of the work and 20 per cent of the givers contribute 80 per cent of the giving.
Pareto was no totalitarian, but his ideas were taken over by the Marxists and their counterparts the Fascists. Both groups understood that as political movements they began as a tiny minority, but they believed they could take over entire nations. And the history of the 20th century proves, in essence, the Pareto principle.
The figures don’t reveal an inflexible law governing the functioning of society: 3.5 per cent, 11 per cent or 20 per cent vary too widely. They do, however, reveal a general sociological principle. Human beings seem to organise along these lines.
Whatever percentage is chosen it demonstrates that a committed minority can change a society and transform a civilisation. And XR have their cause, a very radical approach to addressing climate change. Behind that, it’s clear that climate change is only the pretext for XR’s real goal. Like BLM they want a total revolution of Western societies. Twentieth century history shows us how the moral revolution in the West came about and how a tiny minority can have a continuing influence in society far beyond their numbers.
How About Christians? The important thing for Christians to grasp is that it doesn’t matter whether or not the various groupings have their maths right. Christians have to remember that small minorities can and do change the world: that is the story of the early church.
A small minority who have a clear understanding of what they believe, a clear goal to achieve and a clear commitment to that goal, can have much more energy, persistence, resilience, creativity and eventual success than a large minority who don’t respond with the same energy and commitment. Those who are activists for a specific cause are generally very dedicated. They are activists because they give themselves to a movement and will not be satisfied until the movement achieves its ends.
Christians deeply and passionately committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ are a far more revolutionary force than groups like XR, BLM, Antifa or LGBTQ+. The great question is, do today’s Christians accept this? Christians can ‘hold the line’ and more, but only if we accept our responsibility before God and commit ourselves to it.