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Collapse in confidence in public institutions gives opportunity for Xtian rebuilding

Learning worship in the city, in the workplace, by education and at church, as here a boy keeps tune with help of his betters. ({Photo David Tulis)

The world is witnessing a rapid and unprecedented erosion of institutional trust at every layer of society. From politics to media, from academia to science, and from healthcare to technology, the foundations of our institutions are crumbling.

By Andrew Torba /

This widespread loss of faith in our established systems is not only a crisis of confidence but also a unique opportunity for Christians to rebuild Christendom.

According to the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer, a majority of the countries surveyed (24 out of 28) are now “distrusters” of societal institutions like government, media, business, and NGOs. This represents a significant increase from just 16 distruster countries in 2022.

Pew Research study found that public trust in the federal government in the U.S. remains near historic lows, with only 16% expressing trust in the government to do the right thing always or most of the time.

Gallup poll revealed that Americans’ trust in the media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly has plummeted to just 32%, down from 68% in 1972.

The postwar secular world order, once hailed as the pinnacle of human progress, is now falling to pieces, revealing itself to be a house of cards built on a foundation of lies. This crumbling edifice, characterized by moral decay, political corruption, and spiritual emptiness, is a stark reminder of the inherent weaknesses of secularism and the need for a return to a society grounded in Biblical principles.

The postwar secular world order emerged in the aftermath of World War II, as the victorious Allied powers sought to create a new international system that would prevent the recurrence of global conflict. This system was characterized by a commitment to secularism, democracy, free markets, and human rights, and was underpinned by a series of international institutions, such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank.

The architects of this new world order believed that by removing religion and tradition from the public sphere, they could create a more just and peaceful society. However, this vision was fundamentally flawed, as it ignored the essential role that religion and tradition play in shaping human identity and values.

The postwar secular world order was built on a house of cards, held together by a series of lies that were propagated by its proponents. These lies include:

The lie of moral neutrality: Secularism claims to offer a moral framework that is neutral and universally applicable. However, this framework is ultimately based on a rejection of objective moral truths, leading to moral relativism and the erosion of traditional moral values.

The lie of human autonomy: Secularism elevates the individual above all else, promoting a vision of society in which the individual is free to define their own truth and meaning. However, this vision is ultimately self-destructive, as it leads to social fragmentation, moral decay, and the collapse of community.

The lie of scientism: Secularism elevates science as the ultimate authority on all matters, dismissing religious and philosophical perspectives as irrelevant. However, this scientism is ultimately reductionist and fails to account for the complexities of human experience and the transcendent nature of reality.

The postwar secular world order is now crumbling, as the lies that underpin it are exposed and the weaknesses of secularism become increasingly apparent. This collapse is manifested in a variety of ways, including:

The rise of populism and nationalism: As people become disillusioned with the failures of secularism, they are increasingly turning to alternative political movements that promise to restore traditional values and national identity.

The resurgence of religious orthodoxy and tradition: As secularism fails to provide a compelling moral framework, people are increasingly turning to religious orthodoxy and tradition as a source of meaning and purpose.

The erosion of social cohesion: As secularism promotes individualism and moral relativism, it undermines the shared values and beliefs that are essential for social cohesion, leading to the collapse of community and the rise of social unrest.

The reasons behind this widespread erosion of institutional trust are manifold. On one hand, we have seen a series of scandals and failures that have exposed the corruption and incompetence of our institutions. The bottom line is that the credibility of our institutions has been severely and irreversibly compromised.

Amidst this crisis of institutional trust, Christians have a unique opportunity to rebuild Christendom by offering an alternative vision of society that is grounded in Biblical principles of justice, compassion, and truth. This vision is not one of withdrawal from the world but rather one of engagement and transformation.

The first step in rebuilding Christendom is to recognize that the erosion of institutional trust is not a crisis of institutions per se but rather a crisis of faith. The root cause of this crisis is the abandonment of the Christian worldview that once formed the bedrock of our civilization. As a result, our institutions have become secularized and have lost their moral compass.

To rebuild Christendom, we must rebuild and re-evangelize our institutions to restore the Christian worldview as the foundation of our society. This requires a multi-faceted, multi-generational strategy that includes the following:

Education: We must invest in Christian education that teaches the Biblical worldview and equips the next generation with the knowledge and skills to engage the culture and transform our institutions.

Media: We must build alternative media platforms that are grounded in Christian principles and offer a counter-narrative to the secularist worldview that dominates the mainstream media.

Politics: We must engage in the political process and advocate for policies that reflect the Biblical worldview and promote the common good.

Community: We must build strong Christian communities that serve as models of the alternative society we seek to create and provide a sense of belonging and support for those who are seeking to live out their faith in the public square.

The erosion of institutional trust at every layer of society is a crisis of faith that presents a golden opportunity for rebuilding Christendom. By re-evangelizing and rebuilding our institutions to restore the Christian worldview as the foundation of our society, we can transform our culture and create a more just, compassionate, and truth-oriented society that reflects the glory of God.

Let’s get to work.

Andrew Torba is founder of the social media website

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