March 26, 2012

The Religion of the Left

atheistsistinechapel.jpg

There is a world dimensional
For those untwisted
by the love of things irreconcilable.

--Hart Crane

I've written elsewhere that one of the "things you can't say about the First Terrorist War" is that it is, at bottom, a war of two religions. So it is with the culture wars in America today. It too is, and you are not supposed to say this either, a war of TWO religions.

Then again, that is not quite right. Try it this way.

We are fighting a war of two religions in which only one side is allowed to be designated as a religion -- the Right. "The Right" in these terms is always code for "The Religious Right", which is, in turn, code for "Christianity." This is sometimes, by the legion of scribblers ready to push out the party line at the drop of a hat, modified for form's sake into "Christian Fundamentalism." But realistic observers of this game are not fooled and know it to be the same sort of bearded shorthand by which "Islamic Fundamentalism" is made to stand in for Islam, pure and simple.

In whatever form the attack takes, we have seen -- and will continue to see -- an attack on Religious Americans by another group of Americans that previously identified themselves as "secular," but who lately are trying to wrap themselves in the raiment of religion to a greater or lesser extent. I am expecting a plethora of punditry soon that includes the phrase, "Some of my best friends are Christians, but...." at every opportunity.

But this tactic will, in the end, not suffice. It will fail because those of real faith easily see through those of false faith. And to profess a faith is worse than to remain simply agnostic. Still, it will be tried because bare atheism reveals that the Religion of the Liberal/Left is not a religion of the people, but of those who would be master. In the coming years, the acolytes of this Religion may attempt to don the fleece of the flock, but the Shepherd will always be able to tell between the quick and the dead.


The real disaster for the Liberal/Left in the last 8-years was not that George Bush was religious, but that Bush's religion was not the Liberal/Left's approved religion; the Religion of the Self. They now have their new apotheosis in Obama, a man whose professed faith is plain to see -- through.

The Religion of the Self is the most ancient religion. Indeed, many faiths were created, revealed, and promulgated to contain the Religion of the Self. I say "contain" because real faith is always a struggle to contain the Religion of the Self in the hopes of a more transformative life and a closer approach to God.

In the age of myth, the Religion of the Self first arose in the Garden as a result of a persuasive conversation between Eve, Adam, and a Serpent. As we know, but still have not learned, it did not work out well for Eve or her husband, and humanity has been struggling to get back to the state of the Garden ever since; a state that, without true faith, will forever recede beyond its grasp.

The Religion of the Self does not rest upon selfless service but upon ego, even as the ego calls upon selflessness in others to boost it to power. Today's Religion of the Self spends a good many cycles advocating that others should serve its endless causes; that others should obey its endless requirements; that others should recite only its approved catechism. Above all it demands that others should reach for their wallets to pay for it all.

The Religion of the Self elects candidates to high office that promise equality and deliver obscenity. The Religion of the Self is composed of many millions of believers whose primary aim is their own glory at someone else's expense. It is little wonder that the high priests of the Religion of the Self are today known as "celebrities," and that the highest state sought by members of this religion is to be, themselves, "celebrated."

A poet, who was taken for many decades to be one of their seers, but who has recently revealed he merely used them for his own,deeper purposes, once wrote of them:

"But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody...."

And they agreed as long as it was clear that the somebody they were to serve was always going to be the Self.

The Religion of the Self teaches, as its first and last precept, that there is nothing in this world greater than the self and -- beyond this world, out beyond even the unimaginable edges of the universe -- there is... well... nothing at all;

"purposeless matter hovering in the dark."

After all, there was, in our young, ignorant and still stumbling science, no proof or evidence anywhere they looked -- out to the edges of the cosmos or down into the stringed heart of matter -- that appeared to echo the Biblical. All was merely the blunt physical, the unbearable heaviness of animated meat. They simply cannot imagine a God that exists, but is "sufficiently advanced such that we couldn't identify him for another 1000 years." This possibility does not appear in their primitive equations and insufficiently sensitive instruments, even as our advanced cosmologists are beginning to see the faintest glimmers.

The only thing these "Believers" could sense that partook of the spiritual was the Self and the Self alone. Thus they made the Self into their golden idol and set it on the altar of their brief lives. Obsessed with embellishing this idol many spent large sums and long periods of introspective analysis with professionals that were paid handsomely to confirm to them, at all times and in all places, that the grim visage of the Self reigned supreme, and that only the Self and only this life in this world could be validated.

It did not matter, or it somehow escaped their otherwise sharpened intellects, that all men and all worlds dwell within a miracle and a mystery so deep and so far beyond the understanding of the human mind that we simply lack the senses to perceive it -- except through the ancient embedded sense of faith alone. Indeed, relying on the fact that "faith" is not obviously tied to any single sense organ, they would deny that it is a sense at all. And the more you deny the sense of faith in yourself, the weaker and more vestigial it becomes.

Had they looked closely at the infinitely little that is now known at the outward edges of cosmology and quantum physics they might have dimly sensed that the exercise of the power called "faith" was actually the only exercise that would allow them even a glimpse of the glory behind the material manifestation. But the worship of the Self not only obscures all dimensions outside of it, it demands their obliteration.

The reporting of and affirmation of faith by billions of human beings was to the worshipers of the Self only ancient superstition. That which was known for aeons as wisdom was to them mere myth. And the things that myth, wisdom, and faith pointed towards and revealed were all foolish because at their center they denied the primacy of the Self; reduced the Self to a small clot of cells, a few insignificant cubic centimeters of brain matter. This diminution cannot be tolerated because the Self is the most jealous and wrathful of all the gods. The Religion of the Self, preaching toleration as a central tenet, cannot tolerate faith.

For what faith does, among many other things as it reshapes a human life, is the reduction of self to its proper scale; to remove forever the capitalization of self, and render it as it is in the vaster scheme of things as they are. This reduction also means the diminution of all that the self holds dear, the sense of "I" above all, of Ego Uber Alles. Faith silences the infernal music of "Me" that the grace notes of existence can at last be heard.

This song of the self is a song our current believers learned in the cradle or, if not there, on their way into the upper realms of higher education. It was a song that needed to be sung for the proper matriculation of the budding intellectual into the material world. And this matriculation was important because, for all the protestations; all inane bromides of spirituality; all the endless bland pseudo-theologies that asked not for faith but for mere affirmation; all the ballyhooed new-age cults, psycho-babble and boutique spirituality... all these were nothing but paper-mache puppets dropped over their souls to disguise what The Believers of the Self really were -- material boys and girls on the make in a material world.

And being of that world, like religious fanatics throughout history, the members of the Religion of the Self would not be content until all others joined with and affirmed their Religion as the way, the truth and the light.

Those that voted against the Religion of the Self were seen not just as citizens who preferred to be left to their own devices, but as heretics and apostates and, worse still, unlearned and ignorant. After all, all those who were of the Religion of the Self were secure in the certain knowledge that there was but One Way; theirs. That this way did not lead to great light but only down into the pit was something they would learn, if learn they could, only at the moment beyond the very last moment; that moment when -- at last -- the self is at last expunged from the universe and yet - mirabile dictu- Creation endures.



A variation of this essay was published December 5, 2004

Posted by Vanderleun at March 26, 2012 10:01 AM | TrackBack
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Well said, indeed.

What truly amazes me is the number of physisists that have become Christians. In all the vastness of the universe, with all the theories and counter theories, none explain the precision, the attention to detail or the sheer magnitude of creation. One scientist I heard recently gave this explanation: If one could take some galactic size ruler and lay it across the cosmos, it is a well known fact that movement by so little as an inch, by any one body, would cause the entire universe to fall into complete ruin and chaos.

Another example is that of so-called evolution. Taking the one cell approach scientists have calculated the chances of life ever evolving from a single cell into the complex form of humanity. The odds are beyond unimagineable. They are so infintely small that they are virtually impossible.

The Religion of the Self explains in great clarity, the need to promote the culture of the left. Lack of moral values, self-centered indignation, ego, sloth, vanity, vulgar sex for exploitation, all are part and parcel of the Self. You reason accurately, I believe, that it is an inbred trait few Christians will not be able to see through when the anti-Christ appears, though the Bible says otherwise. Modern day quasi-christians, as you say, will fair no better in their zeal to embrace that which they do not believe.

Posted by: Ron at November 6, 2004 8:13 AM

"What truly amazes me is the number of physisists that have become Christians."

Where do you get your numbers? It's simply not true that physicists are moving toward Christianity.

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/sciandf/contrib/clari.txt

"Most U.S. scientists do not believe in a god,
but 40 percent do -- the same percentage as did in 1916."

"And although biologists showed the highest rate of disbelief for doubt......that ranking is now given to physicists and astronomers."

So out of all scientists, physicists and astronomers have the most unbelievers.

Posted by: political at November 6, 2004 9:01 AM

This is a very good piece, touching on a theme that I have been chewing on for a while, now. I've been calling it Self-worshipping Nihilism, but it's the same thing: "Be your own pagan idol." The observation that this is not a new thing, but the natural state of man absent real religion (or the state man is pulled into by the Enemy whenever he turns his back on God) is an important insight, I think.

BTW, I am a neuroscientist and a Christian of the Catholic persuasion.

Posted by: DTLV at November 6, 2004 9:41 AM

Self-worshipping Nihilism, but it's the same thing: "Be your own pagan idol."

Very good.I like that formulation quite a bit.

Posted by: Van der Leun at November 6, 2004 10:23 AM

"Be your own pagan idol."

The ultimate application of Nietzsche, to become your own god unto yourself. The deification of the self.

Posted by: FH at November 6, 2004 10:41 AM

Thank you for a good piece of writing. I concur with your observations, and will send it on to some of my kids raised inside a mileu of self above all. (they don't worship at the altar of self like most but its hard for them...)

Posted by: pbird at November 6, 2004 12:08 PM

This was well said. Chesterton-like. The entire Old Testament can be reduced to one thought - I am the Lord your God, and you are not God. Now listen to me.

Posted by: mark butterworth at November 6, 2004 1:24 PM

For Hollywood, religion is just like the backdrop on a movie set: pretty, but two-dimensional and false -- to them. A church wedding is just for the scenery, and not for the content. The odd thing is that their misplaced compassion also comes from religion, but they're too busy sniping at "The Religious Right" to admit it.

Posted by: Stephen B at November 6, 2004 1:52 PM

In this acronym riddled world, it only seems appropriate to assign one here.

I submit that Religion Of The Self should be henceforth called:   ROTS.

Posted by: Jim at November 6, 2004 6:26 PM

It strikes me that ROTS (I love that acronym!) can be equated with Original Sin. Tremendous post Gerard.

Posted by: Bill at November 6, 2004 7:39 PM

It seems we all have similar thoughts on the subject. As a Democrat who crossed party lines, I realized several years ago that the party had lost it's focus. It was supposed to be the party of the people. Average Joe America. Instead, it's guiding people talk about being for the people but it's headed by elites, socialist left, and celebrities.

Basically, they don't know who the "people" are so they can't be them anymore. They can't represent average Joe America when they embrace people that spit on America and thinks they are all stupid sheep.

Even stupid people don't like to be called stupid. A serious mis-step in "nuance"

While Mr. Luen's post was a very serious review of the situation, I poked a little more fun at the problem:

http://themiddleground.blogspot.com/2004/11/open-letter-to-democrat-party20.html

Hope you don't mind a little humorous light on the subject.

Posted by: kat-missouri at November 6, 2004 11:45 PM

political,

I didn't cite numbers.

Posted by: Ron at November 7, 2004 10:04 AM

Yes!

i've been annoyed by this for a long while now. how come my values, as a Christian, shouldn't have representation in our representative democracy when everyone from those practicing ROTS to "moderate" Muslims can?

i think this election was a clear message from those marginalized as the "religious right" (most, like myself are actually politically moderate) to the Left: "You are irrelevant. Now, go away, or we will taunt you a second time!"

Posted by: Justin Moser at November 7, 2004 11:46 AM

Self-worshipping Nihilism, but it's the same thing: "Be your own pagan idol."

If one could travel back in time and kill one person to make the world a better place, it wouldn't be Marx, or Hitler, or Basil Zaharoff, but Nihil that I would go after.

Posted by: triticale at November 11, 2004 7:01 PM

Here's an article from "First Things" that had a deep effect on me when I came across it awhile ago, that talks about the some thing (though not really in a political context):

http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0310/articles/hart.html

Posted by: jimbo at November 11, 2004 8:20 PM

http://astuteblogger.blogspot.com/2004/11/religious-divide-explained.html


The Religious Divide Explained
Glenn linked to a good article at TECHCENTRALSTAION by Fred Turner.
RTWT - even though it COMPLETELY misses the point.
Turner creates a false dichotomy: religious versus secular voter.
Many religious people - myself and Bush included - are both deeply religious and committed secularists.

The true opposition is religious voter versus atheistic voter.
UPDATE: CORRECTION AMPLIFICATION = THE REAL DIVIDE IS UNIVERSALIST VOTER VERSUS RELATIVIST VOTER. Here's why:

The fact is that democracy was founded by religious people, and this is because democracy is historically based on the first principal of Natural Law : that all humans are created equal and endowed by the Creator with inalienable rights. The State does not grant or define these rights; UNIVERSAL Human Rights exist a priori.

Most of atheists - and ALL of cultural relativists and moral relativists - are opponents to any notion of Universal Human Rights because they believe that Human Rights can only be defined culturally/relatively. Such a view provides no universal moral basis for democracy or democratic revolutions; such a view can ONLY explain revolutions as struggles between competing power bases. Which is exactly how Marxists, and moral relativists and cultural relativists explain history. And I would include most of the Left; the Left has become overwhelmingly redefined by its relativism. This fact has been true since at least post-WW2, when post-modernism took root in the Left.

This post-modernist Leftist creed cannot offer a way to universally abolish slavery or sexual inequality, or racism, or genocide EXCEPT if-and-when there is CONSENSUS from all the world's nations and cultures - which is precisely why these relativists value multilateralism and the UN so highly: it is the only place where international/cross-cultural consensus can be reached, and for relativists cross-cultural consensus is the only means to temporal universality. This is also why they have so often stood back and done nothing as genocide has been openly committed - they can't act if they canít forge a consensus.

But true morality is NOT on based on polls; it is NOT relative; it is Universal; it holds that all homo sapiens are entitled to the same rights because we are literally and figuratively ONE FAMILY. And in this family we should not tolerate it when our relatives are systematically denied their innate Human Rights. It is our duty to help our brothers and sisters.

This concept was enshrined as part of the UN Charter when the UN adopted the Declaration of Universal Human Rights - at the time a liberal notion embraced by all of the West.

Since then, it has become regarded by the Left as a neo-con notion - an attempt by the West to culturally hegemonize the world. This shift occurred around the time that the Left realized that the working-class in the West would not lead the proletarian revolution (because of the enbourgeoisment - [their term] - of the working class - or so the Left claims), and that the revolution would be led by the Third World - especially the former colonies of the West.

This is why the Left (the hub of of atheistic, post-modernist, cultural & morally relativist political ideology) aggrandizes any Third World dictator who opposes the USA or the West, and abhors only dictators who are pro-USA or pro-West. To the extent that OBL and Saddam and Zarqawi can be seen as anti-USA/anti-West, the Left embraces them. The actual extremely low living standards and lack of basic human rights and liberties that our brothers and sisters have in totalitarian regimes doesn't matter to the Left as long as the regime is anti-USA or anti-West - like North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Iran, Syria - etc...

The Left in the USA is no different in this regard than the Left in continental Europe, and this is why they have such great affinity. They're against Natural Law; Natural Law is antithetical to their core beliefs.

The UK has a deep tradition of Natural Law and this is why they are natural allies of the USA. Ditto Israel.
posted by reliapundit

Posted by: reliapundit at November 11, 2004 8:21 PM

Baird,
Thank you for that link to "Christ and Nothing. "

An illuminating work.

Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at November 11, 2004 10:46 PM

If all men are born equal why are we prepaired to pay a far higher price in innocent Iraqi civilians than US soilders? Look at the most optimisitc figures and it's still about a 1:10 ratio, yet to who do we devote our attention and prayer?

All men are quite clearly not born equal in the trails they will face in this world nor the resources (both spiritual and material) they have available to face these trials.

Posted by: Mesic at November 20, 2004 8:58 AM

Have you ever noticed how Christian the Left is in the things they condemn?

Posted by: Alan Kellogg at December 5, 2008 1:58 PM

Theism is first and foremost a metaphysical assertion. There must be other alternatives to the "religion of the self" besides adhering to this assertion. Monism needn't imply solipsism.

Posted by: Novalis at December 5, 2008 4:48 PM

Once again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Posted by: Susan at December 5, 2008 5:30 PM

If one believes the superficial, ignorant summaries of modern cosmology and biology that pervade our culture, we are alone, and the universe is an unmitigated, meaningless horror; the sensitive, rational man, condemned to nihilism, kills himself, and perhaps many others out of kindness. Nietzsche and the existentialists ultimately recommend the Religion of the Self, but that leads inexorably to the Nazi death camps and communist Gulags and ever more horrors.

However, if one understands the real message of cosmology and biology, then some sort of Creator God is a proven reality. What God wants of us is still the mystery.

I recommend Timothy Keller's "The Reason for God."

Posted by: Bob Sykes at December 5, 2008 6:04 PM

My father and I were having a conversation recently along these lines and we wondered "What is it that truly separates us from the [other] animals?" The answer he gave puts the Religion of the Self into proper perspective: it is mercy. The idea that we have come so far to understand and live religious faith, with its gifts of compassion and other things that elevate humanity may not mean anything (or anything positive) to the autonomists, but their very beliefs rest on this history.

Posted by: Hannon at December 5, 2008 7:23 PM

Some thoughts on the momentous occasion of repeal day here

Half in the bag thoughts, anyway!

THis is a big deal, a day in American History when we actually all gained a little piece of freedom that the government had taken away from us. Enjoy it, I am a bottle of wine into the appreciation of liberty right now, yeahh!

Posted by:
Bob W. at December 5, 2008 8:20 PM

Mesic: Said like a true leftist.

I would change "the Self" to "the self". Capitalization of it has a unique meaning in Eastern religions that could be misunderstood in religious discussion. I understand the attempt to show that we turn the ego into our god but keeping the s uncapitalized has the same effect as leaving g uncapitalized in god- ie. pointing out it is not the real God.

Posted by: Alan at December 5, 2008 9:28 PM

Mesic: Said like a true leftist.

I would change "the Self" to "the self". Capitalization of it has a unique meaning in Eastern religions that could be misunderstood in religious discussion. I understand the attempt to show that we turn the ego into our god but keeping the s uncapitalized has the same effect as leaving g uncapitalized in god- ie. pointing out it is not the real God.

Posted by: Alan at December 5, 2008 9:35 PM

This "war" of religions is going to continue. We are the nation of freedom and we are the nation of understanding. The illuminati left wants us to all abandon our morals, bring back the liberating troops, and worship the good graces of capitalism and materialism once again.

Posted by: Rj at December 5, 2008 10:37 PM

Gerard,

Once again, and as usual, perfect. And thank you.

It's useful to notice that this identical struggle, fought in identical terms, is now being waged among the Right, in the name of "Don't allow the Religious Right to take over the Republican Party." It is exemplified in the continuing public embarrassment that is Kathleen Parker.

The barest perusal of the response streams to practically any article on HotAir will reveal the essential Narcissism of an entire generation of the confused. The Long March Through the Institutions has made enormous progress through the public schools of the West.

As I regularly reminded my students in the '90s, "Ignorance is curable; idiocy is chronic."

Posted by: Rob De Witt at December 6, 2008 1:04 AM

Just picked up Mike Huckabee's new book 'Do the Right Thing' and starting to read it. From what I see, he puts things in great perspective in that the religious right believes more in self-rule and self-government and taking care of one's own than selfishness and government rule.

Posted by: Webutante at December 6, 2008 3:10 AM

Dear God, Gerard! This is another stunner. Truth is a beautiful thing to behold.

Atheism killed my ability to feel much of anything. Sure, I was "sad" when my dad died of ALS in 1991. And I was "happy" when my first child was born in 1998. But the grand sweep of life's tragedy and beauty completely escaped me. Now that I've returned to Catholicism - and I had to "fake it to make it" - I am often overcome by feelings of gratitude and joy when I experience Truth. This is what your piece did to me today.

You will likely get a number of arguments against your thesis because practitioners of the religion of Self can still be "good" people. There is truth in this, of course, but it is the macro-effect which is so deadly. The lethal secular "isms" of the 20th century should be evidence enough. But ROTS does not allow for opposites to coexist as does Judaism and Christianity: you are a sinner and yet you are made in God's image and therefore have infinite worth. So for ROTSians, the fact that people who are secular are "good", must be followed by people who believe in God are bad. It is axiomatic.

I had another moving encounter with Truth recently when readings for the mass included Sirach 50:22-24:

And now, bless the God of all,
who has done wondrous things on earth;
Who fosters people’s growth from their mother’s womb,
and fashions them according to his will!
May he grant you joy of heart
and may peace abide among you;

The lector was a middle-aged man - wheelchair bound from childhood with CP. His voice faltered when he read "Who fosters people's growth from their mother's womb, and fashions them according to his will!" Another mystery offering pain and comfort simultaneously. You, Gerard, are a blessing among us.

Posted by: at December 6, 2008 7:37 PM

Oops. I was so overcome, I forgot to log-in.

Sign that last one The WC.

Posted by: Western Chauvinist at December 7, 2008 5:48 AM

THe issue is not between Christians and the irreligious, but between those viciously intolerant SOBs who call themselves Christian but are actually anything but, and everybody else. The religion of Mrs. Grundy and ultimately Nehemiah Scudder is the true enemy of those who love liberty. Allied to that group, and making use of them, is the rather large group of crooks who use God as an excuse to plunder the bank accounts of the gullible. And again, that group is virtually invisible anywhere else but the USA.

Ron: You are quite right as far as your statement goes. But consider this; you are the end result of a chain of descendants that starts in 4004 BC (if you believe Bishop Usher as many Americans seem to) or from about 3,500,000,000 BC as just about any competent scientist would say. The point is that you are the result of an unbroken chain of living beings, not one of whom (or which?) failed to have descendants, despite often grim odds. In the fundamentalist universe, this is vanishingly unlikely; in the real world, it is astronomically unlikely. Yet you are still here, typing posts on this website. The probability of that is close to zero, yet you are here.

The situation here has been rather well described. Imagine a man condemned to death by a 50-man firing squad, by an eccentric judge who states that if the condemned somehow survives the first volley he is free to go. Fifty men fire, and somehow (maybe 50 simultaneous weapon jams) he is still standing afterwards; and then decides that he is alive by design.

Rerun the story of life from the beginning, and most real scientists agree that intelligence would eventually arise; but the chance of it resembling us is incredibly close to zero. To take but one example, were it not for Chixculub none of us would be here.

Perhaps God caused man to arise in Her own image - but it is the height of hubris to assume that such resemblance is physical, and just plain silly to believe that Genesis is literal truth.

Posted by: Fletcher Christian at October 15, 2009 2:21 PM

Another fine essay. Thank you. And you are right on target about Bob Dylan. He, like T.S. Eliot, hoisted the elites on their own petards.

One of the supreme ironies of the 20th Century was the fantastic nature of physical reality accepted by the scientists and the striking resemblance that that construct bore to ancient formulations.

- Creation out of nothing? (The Big Bang.)
- A beginning and an end? (the expansion of the universe. You think it's coincidental the mad rush to find all that 'dark matter'?)
- Free will? (So much for determinism after Heisenberg's Indeterminancy Principle.)
- Spirit and matter? (well, even the inspired authors of Scriptures couldn't have come up with virtual particles, the wave mechanical model, black holes, etc.)
- Heaven and earth? (multiple dimensions, infinite universes.)

In the end, it's all about the meaning of life and the duty that meaning imposes upon the believer. Here is where the materialists falter. They have chosen to stare into the abyss and when the abyss chooses to stare back, all the soma in the world will not lighten that dark night.

In conclusion, to quote Nobel Prize winner (when the award was given out for achievement and not hope) Czeslaw Milosz wrote,

Religion, opiate for the people. To those suffering pain, humiliation, illness, and serfdom, it promised a reward in the afterlife. And now we are witnessing a transformation. A true opium for the people is a belief in nothingness after death - the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murders we are not going to be judged.

Posted by: M. P. Ryan at October 15, 2009 5:01 PM

Among believers of transcendent Truth do we see a regular outpouring of terrified and hateful vilification of non-believers and anti-believers? I don't think so. But the reverse seems often true and this message is elevated in every social and media apparatus.

Thank you, Mr Van Der Leun, for another insightful essay.

As you indicate, the "war" is really between those who believe in _something_ greater than the self-- an organizing principle of sorts at the very least-- and those who are certain in their own knowledge that this faith can only be gibberish, and somehow threatening at the same time.

Posted by: Hannon at October 15, 2009 6:04 PM

Gen 3:5 "when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God".

Posted by: Fat Man at October 15, 2009 9:20 PM

What a pleasure it is to read your work, G.

Too lazy to write down the best lines, I memorize.


Posted by: Lance de Boyle at October 15, 2009 9:42 PM

Fletcher Christian by his usual arrogant anti-Christian spiel convinces me he's a know nothing when it comes to Christianity. No little irony that he lays all the world's ill at the feet of Christians while murderous Muslims plot the demise of the dear old apostate UK.

Bob Dylan wrote a prophetic song in 1989 about the new class of Pagans:

We live in a political world,
Love don't have any place.
We're living in times where men commit crimes
And crime don't have a face

We live in a political world,
Icicles hanging down,
Wedding bells ring and angels sing,
clouds cover up the ground.

We live in a political world,
Wisdom is thrown into jail,
It rots in a cell, is misguided as hell
Leaving no one to pick up a trail.

We live in a political world
Where mercy walks the plank,
Life is in mirrors, death disappears
Up the steps into the nearest bank.

We live in a political world
Where courage is a thing of the past
Houses are haunted, children are unwanted
The next day could be your last.

We live in a political world.
The one we can see and can feel
But there's no one to check, it's all a stacked deck,
We all know for sure that it's real.

We live in a political world
In the cities of lonesome fear,
Little by little you turn in the middle
But you're never why you're here.

We live in a political world
Under the microscope,
You can travel anywhere and hang yourself there
You always got more than enough rope.

We live in a political world
Turning and a'thrashing about,
As soon as you're awake, you're trained to take
What looks like the easy way out.

We live in a political world
Where peace is not welcome at all,
It's turned away from the door to wander some more
Or put up against the wall.

We live in apolitical world
Everything is hers or his,
Climb into the frame and shout God's name
But you're never sure what it is.

Posted by: bill at October 16, 2009 8:35 AM

And that worship of self is what's causing nihilism to creep into mainstream Western culture. Once you reach the limits of yourself and find out there's nothing there, what other option do you have but to believe in nothing? Worship of self is a dead-end, worship of humanity at large is even more worthless and worship of nature drives you to the conclusion that Man himself is the problem.

The concept of the noble purpose of Man can only exist within the confines of a faith that is rooted in the belief that we are fearfully and wonderfully made and uniquely blessed by the most powerful force in the universe.

And no, I am not talking about Chuck Norris. :)

Posted by: ExurbanKevin at October 16, 2009 8:51 AM

Lately I have been seeing bumperstickers around town, "Proud member of the Religious Left". Looking around the web for information on who the Religious Left might be, I found this:

http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6916

The National Council of Churches (NCC) is the front organization for the Religious Left:

"....Among the more notable member denominations are the Presbyterian Church USA, the United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the American Baptist Churches in the USA."

All of these churches have experienced significant membership declines, and have cut their funding to NCC. So who is funding the National Council of Churches?

"Recent contributors to NCC include the Sierra Club, TrueMajority, ACORN, People For the American Way, MoveOn.org, and the Connect US Network, which has ties to George Soros' Open Society Institute. Foundation contributions to NCC have come from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Beldon Fund, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Lilly Endowment, the Rasmussen Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the United Nations Foundation, the Tides Foundation, and the Ford Foundation...

...the Council "is more dependent financially upon the Ford Foundation than upon 32 of its 35 member denominations." Most of the NCC-supporting groups share several characteristics:

(a) They are not affiliated with an NCC member communion, or any other church body.
(b) Christian unity and common witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ do not appear to be among their principal aims.
(c) They have a much stronger interest in addressing social and political issues.
(d) Their positions on those issues, insofar as they can be discerned, lean overwhelmingly toward the left."

Thank you for this illuminating post and the insightful comments as well. I've learned a new acronym, R.O.T.S.!!


Posted by: Boots at October 16, 2009 1:03 PM

Praise God. There are folks who still cling to an age old faith that there exists a power greater than our mortal selves and that human life is more, and means more, than a mere hard scrabble will to personal power to justify the miracle of our existence. I've found myself cleaving ever closer to my belief in direct proportion to my observation of the effects of disbelief.

Anyway, I've got Nietzsche's 'The Anti-Christ' in my reading cue and upon reading your post I'm moving it to next on my list. I bought it upon learning that he went quite insane after writing it and I wanted to catch a glimpse into the rot that ultimately consumed the father of western ROTSism (love that acronym) which in turn consumed large swathes of the world in the fires lit by his nihilism.

Van der Leun not a post goes by where you don't inspire either introspection, a search for knowledge, or a hearty belly laugh and I thank you for it.

Posted by: monkeyfan at October 17, 2009 11:10 PM

I am amazed at what I read here, and I read every word of the article, "The Religion of the Left", and most of the posts.

Earlier today I was reading and thinking on what's written in James 1:22-25

I realized more deeply than before that a "doer of the word" is one who truly lives by honest faith in God. A "hearer" of the word, is one who is able to learn, and understand it, but does not actually live from the heart, according to genuine personal faith in the living God.

Living by faith is a moment-by-moment living experience for me.

Jesus stated, "If any man would be my disciple, let him deny himself..."

Yeah, I would be a disciple, and the article I read here was edifying - I thought.

Posted by: William Monahan at January 2, 2010 1:10 PM

Yeah but this is ancient, its truth vs lies, Christianity vs the rest of the world, as always. The rest seems to be winning right now, but we were told to expect that. I've read the end of the book, though. I know how it turns out.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at March 26, 2012 10:13 AM

Theism is first and foremost a metaphysical assertion. There must be other alternatives to the "religion of the self" besides adhering to this assertion.

Metaphysical is not another word for "wrong" or "nonsense." In any case, humans are religious creatures, we will worship something. If its not a deity, its going to be something created and usually ourselves in modern culture.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at March 26, 2012 1:02 PM

"322"

Posted by: B Lewis at March 26, 2012 3:21 PM

In your unabridged Oxford Dictionaries, the word "faggotry" denotes the bundling of steel to be hammered or rolled together.

Mammalian evolution is entirely heterosexual. 

Monogamy is not required for evolution, monogamy is a tenet of religion.

To prohibit polyandry and polygyny is an ecclesiastic rule of law.

To establish an ecclesiastic standard of monogamy for homosexuals is nothing but RELIGIOUS FAGGOTRY

Posted by: Winston Blake at April 14, 2012 8:08 PM
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