the Benedict Option?
Basically, it is the idea that one withdraws from a wicked society because the “gap” is just too big. So you withdraw and live in a community of fellow believers. In a close analogue, the biblical scholar Hugh Nibley called it “The Rehkabite Principle.” At some point the chasm between two sides becomes too wide to straddle and one has to jump to one side or the other. In other words, you withdraw and live your religion on your own or with largely like-minded people. And make no mistake, this is an extremely difficult decision. You don’t choose the Benedict Option lightly. You don’t go down the Rehkabite path without careful consideration.
Traditionalists on all sides want to just paper over the differences and put their heads down and do what their parents did. That seems “conservative.” But actually, it is logically inconsistent and not really Conservative at all. There is a gulf between the groups. And that gap cannot be bridged by happy talk, tolerance, and reliance on received wisdom.
At some point you have to choose. Choose wisely.
There are several good examples of the Benedict option in history. In the 1800s the religion group the Mormons had to go to Ohio, Missouri, and finally Illinois to escape murderous persecution. When that persecution kept following them, they eventually had to leave the United States entirely and start their own community in the unpopulated Great Basin (Salt Lake City). They exercised the Benedict Option. It was the Rehkabite Principle in action.
That city eventually became part of Utah and the United States. But the Mormons originally couldn’t stay in the United States so they left and went West, given that they were hunted and murdered in the United States. Of course, that city (Salt Lake) is minority Mormon now, but those are the origins.
A more modern example is home schooling. Many families have gotten to the point where they are no longer willing to put their children in the clutches of Lefty schools. That was never even heard of when I was a child. So that is pretty dang fast! Even as an adult it seemed unusual to me and only the “fringe” even considered it. But it is getting more and more common and popular, and even though that is no longer an option for me, it is not something that I would dismiss out of hand anymore.
There is chatter about Democrat states separating from Conservative ones. A “divorce” is kind of joked about by both sides. But there is a serious edge to the joking. Yet again, this is the Rehkabite principle in action. If you are not seeing it now, you are either not paying attention or you are turning a blind eye to the facts.
So this “Benedict Option” has gotten a lot of attention lately. This is good, IMHO. But the separation of groups because of divergent beliefs is very old, indeed. It goes back to time imemorial.