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Western Civilization is Returning to Faith. Is the Church Ready?

Updated: May 17


In the smoldering ruins of the post-1960s assault on Christianity, the bright leaves of sapling resurgence promise hope. To be fair, the assault on Christianity is far older than the astroturfed social movements of the 1960s. In fact, one could argue similar culture-wide assaults have been launched in 1930, 1917, and 1789, among numerous others. Both spiritually and temporally, there are organized powers that seek to destroy anything that acts as a representation of God’s light in this world, including His creations and His natural order. But, like all parts of the natural order, these cycles must come full circle – the falling away is followed by revival. 

In the last few months, Christianity has seen numerous high-profile conversions: Russell Brand, Tammy Peterson, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Eva Vlaardingerbroek, Candace Owens, even Joe Rogan is rumored to be leaning heavily in that direction. Many who took part in the decades-long movement away from the cultural (Christian) foundation of Western civilization are now finding themselves at the forefront of a new movement seeking out the faith of their fathers.

It is not just celebrities and conservatives who are turning to the Church. This is just part of a much broader, though much less reported, resurgence of interest in the Church. The Easter services of 2024 saw many parishioners crowded out of once-empty churches. The Catholic Herald noted that baptisms and attendance are surging in nations across the West; from Canada and the UK to Belgium, France, and even cities like New York.


My own experience of that day, from the pride flag-lined streets of Toronto, was similar. Standing outside the annex at Saint Michael’s Cathedral, attendance was so high that the church was filled all the way into the courtyard.

The Associated Press wrote recently about the “immense shift toward the ‘old ways’ within the Catholic Church in the United States.” They note more traditionalist young priests are replacing aging liberal ones; church music is changing from “contemporary” guitar Masses to traditional hymns and choirs, and, most importantly, a “growing number of young Catholics seeking orthodoxy."

Millions of young people grew up divorced from Western Culture and are now seeking their roots. In France and Belgium, youth baptisms doubled in 2024 and have been growing since 2021. In fact, baptisms among all age groups are increasing in both nations and “crosses are being raised across the [French] countryside.”


In North America, Kanye West’s conversion in 2021 sparked a surge in interest among his young fan base. I know personally of young men who had been caught up in rap culture only a year prior, who have since found their way to many of the most traditional of churches. Of course, it would be remiss to go without mentioning the effect Jordan Peterson has had on inspiring people, young and old, to search out the deep foundations of Western Civilization, which (they quickly find) are fundamentally rooted in Christendom.


The question that arises, however, is why? What is driving this resurgence? Is it a trend? A passing fad? Or is this a desperate search from a people facing a dangerous future, watching their civilization crumble around them? Are these people turning to God in the hope that they can recover the secrets that made their civilization the greatest in human history and prevent its collapse? I can say with certainty that among my peer group (many of whom were, at best, nominal Christians, and most of whom were professing atheists and agnostics), the draw is to something that church leaders themselves do not always recognize about the Church.  

There is a depth, a mysticism, about the Church that cannot be found elsewhere. It's not just rituals and sacraments. In fact, to the post-enlightenment outsider, "it" is often what makes those things make sense. It is not the incense, the altar, the cathedral. It is what those things represent: the awe-inspiring greatness and the deep, mysterious wisdom that is woven into the fabric of the universe.

This is nowhere portrayed better than in the majesty of the cathedral and the angelic harmony of the choir. It is the feeling one gets when one walks into the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome or sees the tracery in the Cathedral of Gloucester or the otherworldly beauty of the stained glass windows of the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. It's the feeling one gets when hearing the haunting notes of Schubert’s Ave Maria or the beauty of the harmonic dance between Gregorian chant and choir in Allegri’s Miserere.

Like in the story of Elijah, it is not those things in themselves. It is what they convey: something greater, deeper, more beautiful and majestic than anything this world can offer. To put it poorly, because words fail me, it is the Truth — the very Truth – that stands juxtaposed to the world of lies and baseness that pervades modernity. 

There is a hunger now, especially among the young, for what only the Church can provide: a community of like-minded people, the foundations of Western civilization and culture, the mysteries of the spirit, beauty, songs and deference to God. And, importantly, a bulwark around which they can rally in their opposition to the perverse world from which they are fleeing.   As previously mentioned, this occurrence isn’t new. The Book of Judges 2 describes this same cycle. The good times that followed Israel’s conquests made them complacent. God had warned them against multiculturalism, knowing that such a thing cannot exist; one will always become dominant over the others, and often that one will be whichever is the widest and broadest gate, the easiest path to follow (usually the one that allows the pursuit of pleasure without restriction).

With no outside threat and the pursuit of wealth and luxury as their point of focus, they failed to pass on to their children the wisdom of their fathers and the knowledge of God that had brought them their success. The failure to do so meant the next generations grew without knowing their roots or knowing the fundamental laws God has set in nature that, when adhered to, bring success and, when forgotten, bring disaster. This led to destruction. Only in the face of that destruction did the people cry out again to God, and God sent prophets and judges to lead them back to Him.


We are staring once again into the face of that destruction. I believe this is more than just a passing fad. This is a people turning to their one remaining hope. The question now is whether the Church will take up its role as the prophets and judges did for Israel.


William Ralph Inge once wrote, “Whoever marries the spirit of this age will find himself a widower in the next.” This seems to be an accurate descriptor of much of the Church for the past few decades.

The world is inundated by the 'culture of the age', and it does it much better than the Church ever will. Trying to copy the world leaves the Church with a worse version of the same nonsense. Those who prefer the culture of the world already have a better version of it, and are unlikely to find the Church more appealing just because it adopts it. In contrast, those searching for something different will be turned away by churches that embrace this culture.


That this resurgence is being seen almost exclusively in traditional churches, particularly in the traditional elements of Catholicism, is evidence of the point. We may be in the world, but we are not of it.

This is the cause for hope. As we draw nigh again to God and His instruction, we may see the formerly mighty oak, like its Creator, rise again regardless of the best efforts of its enemy.


Arthur is a former editor and consultant. Born in India to missionary parents, he spent his early career working in development for NGOs in Asia, Central America, and Africa. Arthur has an educational background in history and psychology, with certifications from the University of Oxford and Leiden in the economics, politics, and ethics of mass migration and comparative theories in terrorism and counterterrorism.

He is currently launching CivWest, a company focused on building capital to fund restorative projects and create resilient systems across the Western world.


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MG W
MG W
May 12

Excellent article. Gives me hope. Spurs me on to keep praying The Precious Blood Devotion for the conversion of sinners! And my own continued conversion. I want everyone to be at at peace in Christ and protected by the Sacraments of The Holy Catholic Church.

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Exciting observations; thanks for these words of hope.


----....church music is changing from “contemporary” guitar Masses to traditional hymns and choirs....----


I long to be done with the same, cheesy, sing-song melody of the Gloria that has been haunting the NO Mass for decades. The Gloria in all its beauty should be sung...but it shouldn't be turned into a song. "Forty years I have endured this generation....".

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