Thoughts towards a ‘Christian accelerationism’

I’ve got two abandoned drafts on this subject. It honestly started as a joke, something I threw out onto twitter but which gradually started to occupy my mind. Someone pointed me to Vince Garton, who’s written some very interesting things related to this, which confirmed that there’s at least potential in pursuing such an overtly ridiculous thought.

‘Christian accelerationism’. What could such a thing be? If you’ve spent time in right-accelerationist spaces, you’ve been near enough Neoreactionary spaces to have possibly brushed elbows with some hardcore Traditionalist religious types. You know the kind of people I mean, those for whom a religion at its nastiest is a religion at its most true and uncompromising (e.g., anti-Semitic Trad Caths who believe that so-called Islamic State is a real caliphate). If I were to throw myself behind a Christian accelerationism it couldn’t something like that.

It first has to be determined what manner of accelerationism is being prefixed by ‘Christian’. Both left- and right-accelerationism orientate themselves towards furthering and intensifying technological modernity. The difference is, l/acc. treats technological modernity as distinct from capitalism, and r/acc. treats the two as identical. Unconditional accelerationism (u/acc.) is the hardest to define. Perhaps it could be summarised as ‘hold on tight’, as the intensification of technological modernity is going to happen no matter what the subject tries to do, and thus leaving the subject with a kind of radical freedom. Quoting Garton:

Taking the smallest steps beyond good and evil, the unconditional accelerationist, more than anyone else, is free at heart to pursue what she thinks is good and right and interesting—but with the ironical realisation that the primary ends that are served are not her own.

All accelerationisms deal with secular time, and Christianity is concerned with eternity, with an ontologicaly different time, with the promised Age that is awaited and yet can be met right now in the risen Christ. Christian accelerationism surely can’t posit any secular futurity as a final goal. (And certainly not postliberal fantasies of a restored pseudo-socialist, neo-feudalist, imperial Christendom.) Though of course, a Christian accelerationism can and should engage with the world and its possible futures; some futures are preferable to others, even if none must ever be identified with the promised Age.

In short, a Christian accelerationism would perhaps be identified closer with u/acc. than anything else. Holding neither a high-tech anarcho-capitalist global order nor fully-automated luxury space communism as final destinations, a Christian accelerationism would be rather a Christian response to the fact of the acceleration. This would differ (maybe or maybe not qualitatively) with the perpetual question of how the Church should evangelise the world given its present realities due to the acknowledgement of the radical character of the acceleration. If any form of accelerationism is true, then the secular future rushing in will be so substantially different to the present that, in a very real way, everything may be different, including the meaning of the human.

A Christian accelerationism is then a project of radical adaptation to and navigation through the new realities that the Church finds herself in. But we also already run into additional challenges here as we’re forced to ask — which church?

Here we maybe arrive at a distinct project for Christian accelerationists to involve themselves in, a radical new ecumenicism. A serious qustion that has to be posed and answered to allow the Church to survive is: What kind of organisational structure will be better suited to accelerating modernity? The pyramid formation of the Roman Church, or the more distributed, (one might say) patchwork formation of the Eastern Churches and — arguably! — the Anglican Communion?

Forget your seasteads, says the Christian accelerationist, we’re building arks. 

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