Christians must withdraw from society in monk-like fashion to solve spiritual crisis, says Rod Dreher

Christians ought to withdraw from society and politics and practice St. Benedicts' detachment from culture for some time to address the spiritual crisis that America is currently facing, according to author Rod Dreher.

(REUTERS / Ricardo Moraes)Brother Jose Wellington Damasio Antonio, a member of the Franciscan fraternity O Caminho, prays in the chapel of fraternity's house in the Campo Grande neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro April 2, 2013.

Speaking to The Christian Post in a recent interview, Dreher talked about his book "The Benedict Option: a Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation," which recommends a monk-like dedication to preserve the Christian faith in modern society. He predicts that believers' freedoms will increasingly come under attack in the coming years, and American Christians will eventually feel like an exile in their own country.

Dreher admitted to CP that there are many conservative evangelical Christians who are uncomfortable with his idea of practicing the Benedict Option. There are also some progressives who view this idea as mere fear-mongering. However, the publication notes that he does not tell Christians to detach completely from society.

In addition, Dreher told CP that churches in America have stopped being the "salt and light" of this world. He also observed that the message of the Gospel has already been "hollowed out from within" and eaten up by the American culture and politics.

In light of the situation, Dreher said Christians need to intentionally move away from culture for a given time to establish prayer-based communities. This period of detachment will also serve as their way of spending time with God.

'If we are going to hold on to what it means to be a true authentic Christian and present the light of Christ to this darkening world, we're going to have to spend a lot more time away from that world in prayer, in scripture study, learning the practices of discipleship," Dreher told CP in the interview.

Philosophy teacher and author James K.A. Smith is one of those who have expressed skepticism at Dreher's Benedict Option. In an opinion piece published on The Washington Post on March 10, he described this concept as "the new alarmism."

For King, Dreher's idea stems from bitterness and the feeling that one's privilege is being threatened. He said the "loss of a world" that Dreher is referring to actually just talks about "white erosion" and does not take into consideration the boom of African churches and Latino Protestantism.