Thursday, August 20, 2009

Competing apocalyptic visions: an insight into my project

This recent exchange in The Guardian between Paul Kingsnorth and George Monbiot raises many of the issues I would like to deal with in my PhD research: what is a faithful Christian response to impending civilisational decline? What role might nightmarish apocalyptic visions play in Christian moral reasoning on these matters?

I am still trying to clarify the scope and focus of my main question, though these are some sub-themes within it. At the moment, I am playing with a descriptive subtitle along the lines of "Christian moral reasoning in the predicament of social decline". I will explain what I mean by "predicament" (and how it is different from a problem) in a future post.


Ben Myers said...

Sounds good!

gbroughto said...

I'm assuming the moral reasoning will incorporate some aspect / suggestions for faithful living / public discipleship etc.???

byron smith said...

Geoff, that is precisely what I'm currently trying to work out - i.e. just where the focus ought to be.

Unknown said...


I might suggest that you spend some time watching and thinking through the TV series Millenium (Chris Carter's three-season follow-up to X-Files). Two lines from that series, which emerge in the second and third seasons, respectively, resonate with what I hear you working towards:

The first: "We are heading toward an apocalypse of our own making" --the watchphrase of the "Millenium Group" that the main character, Frank Black, has been co-opted into.

The second: "We are all shepherds" -- spoken in a moment of "scattering" by Jordan Black, the young daughter of Frank Black, when confronted with the final imminent apocalyptic event brought on, in part, by the Millenium Group.

Millenium and the music of the Pixies (yes, Chris Carter named the character Frank Black after the Pixies lead singer, Black Francis/Frank Black) were constant companions of mine as I completed Christ, History and Apocalyptic. I have no doubt that they would both stimulate your thinking and imagination as this project of yours takes shape.

byron smith said...

Nate, thanks for the tip!
And I know that I need to read your book. ;-)

Unknown said...


If you ever have to choose between the two, always opt for Chris Carter (and especially Millenium) over anything that I might write! ;-)

In fact, I had convinced myself by the third season that Carter had to have read Yoder -- the way I was seeing hints of a Yoderian-like diasporic peoplehood emerging from the ruins!