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Posted Apr 04, 2022 by Ray Patrick

Oikophobia oi-ko-fo-bi-a, n. From Gr. οἶκος (“house” or “dwelling-place”) + φόβος (“fear”).

  1. An abnormal fear of home surroundings.
  2. Hatred of one’s own nation, culture, or people.

Screw You, Dad

In the Western world, certain edgy adolescents (of all ages) display a strong loathing for their own heritage and culture, specifically anything of Christian origin. Sir Roger Vernon Scruton adapted the word oikophobia (which originally referred to an obscure irrational fear or phobia of household trappings) to describe this phenomenon. While something like mild oikophobia is a typical developmental milestone for teenagers (you might call it the “Screw you, Dad!” stage of life), it is - for most of us, anyway - a blessedly short one. However, there are those among us who never grow out of this stage, rebelling not only against their immediate household but in fact against the Western/Christian frame of mind in general. Scuton claims that the hallmark of oikophobia is an extreme aversion to all things sacred, and of their connection to the culture of the West - not in any attempt to replace them with some other coherent belief system, but simply in the desire that the sacred things and the culture that transmits them should perish. This leads to a paradox: oikophobes will embrace anything that declares itself an enemy of the West, even at the cost of embracing something much more brutal, intolerant, exclusivist, patriarchial, etc. such as radical Islam or Juche. Like atheist materialism, it is a self-defeating frame of mind because it is deeply irrational.

Get Your Own Dirt!

There’s an old joke about a scientist who enters a challenge with God. It goes something like this:

SCIENTIST. “We no longer need you, God. We have advanced to such a degree that we can create anything we may need through our own ingenuity.”

GOD. “If you’re so quick to boast, why not put this to the test? Let us each create a man from the dust of the earth, as I created Adam.”

God forms a man from the dust of the earth and breathes into his nostrils the breath of life. The man becomes a living being.

SCIENTIST. “Ok, God - we can do that too!”

The scientist starts to reach down to grab a handful of dirt.

GOD. “Hey - get your own dirt!”

The punchline turns on the idea that, even if he were to create a man, the scientist wouldn’t be proving anything after all because he still began with something that God created (dirt). If he really wanted to beat God at his own game, he would have to find some way to “get his own dirt” i.e. create dirt ex nihilo. (Even if he could do that, he still wouldn’t be proving anything, because he didn’t create himself, but leave that aside.)

I use “get your own dirt” as a metaphor here, because when oikophobes attack the Christian West for being “intolerant,” “hateful,” “prejudiced,” etc., they are really appealing to Western/Christian notions of tolerance, love, and justice. They’re forced to begin from things we’ve created. To attempt a defense of their hopeless worldview, they must smuggle in weapons from ours.

G.K. Chesterton said that “the modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad.” You see this everywhere if you look enough. Misplaced pity gives way to things like radical Veganism (although there’s nothing intrinsically evil about a vegetarian diet if done for sane reasons.) Misplaced forgiveness gives way to the idea that there is no moral law. Man was meant to doubt himself, but not the truth. Nowadays this is totally reversed: people don’t doubt themselves at all, but doubt the very existence of objective truth!

Human Nature

Why are so many people oikophobic? (We should try to get that to catch on - nothing shuts down debate like appending -phobic to something.) Why do they hate Christian morality without offering any positive, substantial thing to replace it? If your modern ears can stand to hear this, it’s because people are not basically good, but basically evil. The heart is “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (Jer 17:9); and “there is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom 3:10). Unless we put on the very righteousness of Jesus Christ, there is no way any of us can be anything but the ultimate oikophobes - haters of our very Father in heaven.

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
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