AMERICAN journalist and New York Times best-selling author Rod Dreher urged Brisbane Catholics to prepare for a future where Christian beliefs would become scarce.
Mr Dreher was in Brisbane to promote his popular book The Benedict Option: A Strategy For Christians in a Post-Christian Nation.
In The Benedict Option, Mr Dreher calls on traditional Christians to learn from the example of St Benedict of Nursia, a sixth-century monk who turned from the chaos and decadence of the collapsing Roman Empire, and found a new way to live out the faith in community
“The biggest misconception about the Benedict Option is that I’m telling Christians to head for the hills,” Mr Dreher said.
“We’re not called to be monks.
“Monks are called to be monks.
“Most of us will be called to live in this world.
“My argument is that if we are going to live in this world as Christians in this post-Christian era, then we have to develop a form a discipline and communal living that is more monastic.
“That’s why we look at the Benedictine monks to see how they live and find ways to adapt parts of their lives to our own lives.”
Mr Dreher said there were a number of ways Christians could moderate pernicious influences like social media and Hollywood films.
“In my home we don’t let our kids have smart phones,” he said. “It seems like a no-brainer that you would do that, but so many American families – even practising conservative Christian families – (don’t) do this.
“There’s this cognitive dissonance – they don’t see what is coming to their kids through the smart phone.”
Travelling across the United States on various speaking tours, Mr Dreher said he encountered one problem more than others.
“When I go and travel around the US to Catholic colleges and Evangelical colleges talking about the Benedict option I always stop and ask the professors and campus ministers what the biggest problem is,” he said.
“The answer is always ‘Pornography, pornography, pornography’, and it all starts with the smart phone.
“Another thing we do in our family is, we’re very careful to curate what our kids watch on television and also what my wife and I watch.”
Mr Dreher was raised as a Protestant and converted to Catholicism in 1993.
“I’m a man of the West,” he said. “I believe the health of Western civilisation depends on the health and strength of the Roman Catholic Church.”