Culture Wars as Pagan Counterrevolution

31 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2017

Date Written: 2017


This essay, given as the second of three lectures comprising the Charles E. Test Lectures at the Madison program at Princeton in May 2017, continues with the project of defending T. S. Eliot’s suggestion that the future of Western societies will be determined by a contest between Christianity and “modern paganism.” The essay suggests that the progressive movement in the current culture wars can be understood as a kind of counterrevolution, or an attempt to overthrow the Christian Revolution by which Christianity triumphed over paganism in the Fourth Century. This hypothesis can help to illuminate (or so it is argued) three theaters in the culture wars: the conflict over public religious symbols, the conflict over legally implemented norms of sexuality, and the controversy over religious freedom.

Keywords: Modern Paganism, Culture Wars, Christian Revolution, Pagan Counterrevolution, Public Religious Symbols, Legally Implemented Norms of Sexuality, Religious Freedom

JEL Classification: A00, A10, K10

Suggested Citation

Smith, Steven Douglas, Culture Wars as Pagan Counterrevolution (2017). San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 17-293, Available at SSRN: or

Steven Douglas Smith (Contact Author)

University of San Diego School of Law ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States
619-260-7969 (Phone)
619-260-2492 (Fax)

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