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Ignoble Savages—Aaron Wolf Against the Anti-Missionaries

Over the first three issues of this year Chronicles presented an illuminating series of essays by executive editor Aaron Wolf. Titled “Ignoble Savages,” this three-part work took as its starting point the venomous, even celebratory reaction of much of the secular West to the slaughter of a Christian missionary who had sailed to North Sentinel Island last November. John Chau wanted to bring the Gospel to an uncontacted people and was greeted with lethal violence. For centuries, missionaries regularly risked martyrdom. What was novel in Chau’s case was the preponderance of opinion that he deserved his death and his cause was an unrighteous one.

This was a new, or at any rate a heretofore examined, manifestation of the culture of death—a culture, as Aaron proceeded to show over the three installments of the story, rooted in the worldview of Rousseau, Darwin, and their disciples. The postmodern West might force a foreign people to be “free,” but it will not tolerate peacefully preaching the Word of God to those who have never heard it. “The First Pillar of Postmodernity,” Aaron wrote, “is this: There is one god, Ourself, and Rousseau is his prophet.” 

Rousseau finds a complement and accomplice in Darwin: as Aaron writes in his third part, “In postmodern technocratic Western societies, evolution serves equality. Challenge an egalitarian on questions of sex, ‘gender,’ or the nature and extent of ‘universal human rights’ (such as the right to live in a ‘democracy’), and he will immediately trot out the old Darwinian warhorse to trample down your faith-based argument.” From the safeguarded paganism of the Sentinel Islands to the new “gender” politics of the West, the old Christian values have been turned upside down. Even conservatives and Christians have abetted the revolution. Aaron wrote to cure their ignorance. He, too, was a missionary.

On Easter Sunday, Aaron was called away to the eternal celebration of the Word. Chronicles this week spotlights these essays that eloquently bespeak our friend’s noble heart and keen intellect, as well as the faith that guided his life.

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