Live Not By Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents
By Rod Dreher
America is the “free world,” the land of opportunity, the hub of innovation and the home of convenience.
But over the last few years and for reasons I cannot wrap my head around, respect and appreciation for American freedom and liberty has been taken for granted. The First Amendment has been repeatedly spat upon, not all at once, but steadily and sneakily. Dissenting opinions have been censored, silenced, or removed from social media and the public sphere. Conservatives and orthodox Christians have been marginalized. Big tech has grown stronger, more influential, and powerful as it inches the country closer toward a full surveillance state.
Live Not By Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents by Rod Dreher sounds the alarm on this new “soft” totalitarianism that is infiltrating America in hopes to wake up those who desire liberty and justice for all.
Using real-life stories of modern-day dissidents, author Rod Dreher expresses the importance of resistance, the strength that comes in numbers, and the vitality of conviction. Dreher teaches American Christians to recognize the dangers of totalitarianism by demonstrating what totalitarianism is, how to spot its deviously “soft” and efficient alternate version seen today, and the specific areas where its evil is causing the most damage.
Live Not By Lies is strategically divided into two parts: Understanding Soft Totalitarianism and Equipping Dissidents to Live in Truth.
The first section of this book is incredibly eerie because it is so familiar.
“Today’s totalitarianism demands allegiance to a set of progressive beliefs, many of which are incompatible with logic – and certainly with Christianity.”Live Not By Lies, pg. 8
Dreher brilliantly outlines the “gentle” approach of soft totalitarianism and the subtly of its dictatorship to essentially brainwash Americans by repeatedly exposing us to Newspeak and doublethink through media, academia, corporations and other means or institutions. A great example of this is the illogic that men have periods or the redefinition of words like equity, diversity, and inclusion.
This is similar to the concepts and themes covered in George Orwell’s book, 1984, where the Party (under the authority of Big Brother) changes language as a way to persuade people to submit to a particular ideology. Telling someone 2+2=5 continually will eventually convince them to believe that 2+2 really does equal 5.
Like I said, it is quite eerie to consider because we are seeing this being played out in real time today.
Live Not By Lies also tackles the misconception of progressivism as a movement, ideology or religion. When discussing the influence of the social justice cult, Dreher cites atheist mathematician, James A. Lindsay, for saying “…social justice fulfills the same psychological and social needs that religion once filled but no longer can.” By his explanation, it’s easy to see how progressivism has gained traction over recent years.
Dreher also digs into wokeness and the rise of what he describes as “woke capitalism” and its threat on American freedom and independence. Using China as his reference, Dreher thoroughly outlines all that has gone wrong in the East and how the West is not far from the same misfortune. This chapter of the book was by the far the most eye-opening as well as the most horrifying to me.
If you desire to live by truth, then you must understand what it means to live by lies.
Examples include not voting for a specific political candidate or government proposal or not participating in certain activities or situations that go against your morals or convictions. Dreher encourages the dissident to adapt the method of See, Judge, and Act to assist in recognizing an opposition, discerning its purpose or intent, and then responding accordingly.
In the second half of Live Not By Lies, Dreher instructs the dissident to cling to the foundation of truth seen throughout God’s Word. Dreher makes the case that religion is the anchor of resistance and families are resistance cells against a totalitarian state. It has been apparent over recent years that progressivism seeks to destroy the nuclear family because of the threat its poses to a vulnerable, individualistic, consumer-driven society. Traditional family, as well as families of faith, model moral courage, acts of service, accountability, purpose, unity, and intimate relationship, amongst many other positive qualities. As a mom of five children, the emphasis on the importance of the family unit was incredibly encouraging to me.
True suffering, oppression, and persecution are not popular topics of conversation in America because the United States is a country that was founded on freedom, hope, and opportunity. The “oppression” seen in America is nothing like the real oppression experienced in other countries. Dreher acknowledges this and dedicates many pages in his book to the testimonies of individuals who have faced actual persecution.
Learning the stories of those who were resilient amidst real persecution was empowering and I believe that was Dreher’s intent. He did a fantastic job researching and interviewing individuals who should be considered revolutionary heroes and honored for their tenacity and bold courage. Their stories are truly inspiring and I hope they penetrate the hearts of all who hear them.
Live Not By Lies is a necessary book for anyone who genuinely cares about the United States of America and everything this country represents. I highly recommend every American Christian read this book and then fervently pray for the resilience to resist the lies of the world in order to live by the truth of God’s Word.
*I personally purchased this book. The thoughts and opinions expressed are my very own.