The Renaissance is widely touted as the birth of our modern era. It was in this era that scholars and scientists appeared, and art flourished and our civilization really began. Or so we were told.
What we’re forgetting is that the Renaissance wasn’t a new thing: It was literally a rebirth, a birth of something old so long forgotten that it felt new again. The Renaissance was a rediscovery of certain truths that had been forgotten, hidden away in dusty books that only a few people used to have access to. The Renaissance started with the Bible, specifically, the Bible becoming available to the people for the first time in a very, very long time.
As we watch Western Civilization collapse (and we can see it collapsing in slow motion, if we simply open our eyes), we rightly wonder: Where did we go wrong? Can we fix what is broken? Or must we start something new?
In my mind, we can trace the roots of our destruction to the abandonment of our foundation. We can fix what is broken by restoring that foundation. And what we must do will feel new to a lot of people, but is really something very, very old.
As the title suggests, I believe that the key to a future renaissance is the Bible. As a culture, we have forgotten about this book. We have forgotten what it says. We have forgotten what it means. We have forgotten why it is so important and why it is the key to our past success. And in forgetting, we wonder how they did it.
The Bible can become the foundation on which we build society. We don’t need a government program or witch hunts or anything like that to make it happen. The formula is really simple.
Step one is YOU read the Bible, cover to cover. If you’ve done it before, then it’s time to do it again. And when I say read, I don’t mean mindlessly repeating the words on the page in your mind, but absorbing their meaning deep into your soul. Let the stories echo in your heart and mind. Let the words guide you and direct you.
Step two is reading the Bible with your family. Teach your spouse, your children, your parents the words in that book. Teach them the stories and the parables and the moral messages.
Step three is sharing the Bible with others. This means taking the stories outside of your bedroom or study and churches into the community, into your workplace, into your social circles. In sharing the Bible, encourage people to read it for themselves.
The Bible’s story and message is one of profound love and respect. It is a message of peace. It teaches us how we can juggle the facts of justice and mercy. Justice demands we behave a certain way to obtain promised rewards. Mercy gives us the benefit of a doubt and lets us recover from our inevitable mistakes. It shows us why and how we can love those different from ourselves, and treat them with respect and at the same time, secure our own blessings of liberty and happiness regardless of how they choose to behave.
The Bible tells us the principle struggle is fought within our own hearts, and that everything outside of us is really a reflection of what is inside of us. It teaches us to focus on our own state of mind before worrying about others. It teaches us how to find peace in the middle of conflict, how to turn violence into safety, how to turn hate into love.
We can’t retreat from society anymore. There is no escape from it. The Benedict Option is not available for us. We must confront the fact of our state and our society’s state head on and we can only do that with the words found in the Bible.
A word of caution: Beware of those who confuse the simple teachings of the Bible or who try to super-impose their own ideas on top of it. Let the Bible speak for itself, let its words, and not the words of an interpreter, enter your mind and heart. Your mind is just as capable as any Bible scholar’s mind. They are not the gatekeepers to unlocking the message of the Bible.