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“When the blind leads the blind, both …”

2017/07/26

Post-Christian America: Gullible, Intolerant, and Superstitious

Human beings are hard-wired to search for meaning and purpose.

In some secular progressive circles, a certain myth persists. If you defeat the forces of traditional Christianity — you know, the rubes and fools who believe the Bible is the Word of God — then you’ll make way for a more enlightened, rational, and humane nation and world. In other words, the alternative to religion is reason, and reason is mankind’s great liberating force.

Although I’ve heard some variation on this argument countless times, as I grew older I noticed something odd. Many of the best-educated and least-religious people I knew weren’t all that reasonable. They held to downright irrational views about reality. I remember an elite-educated secular friend in Philadelphia who scoffed at my wife’s Christian faith; this friend was also convinced that her child had an “indigo aura” that imbued him with special gifts. I recall conversations with Harvard Law School classmates who laughed at the New Testament but thought reincarnation was “cool.” And how can I forget the strange sight of Harvard students walking in and out of the neighborhood witchcraft store?

Just today, I saw the news that much-beloved singer Lana Del Rey has admitted to asking her fans to join a “mass occult ritual against President Donald Trump.” Here’s Del Rey:

I’m in line with Yoko [Ono] and John [Lennon] and the belief that there’s a power to the vibration of a thought. Your thoughts are very powerful things and they become words, and words become actions, and actions lead to physical charges.

You believe the Bible? How stupid. Pass me the tadpoles. I need them for my potion.

Lest you think these are isolated and meaningless anecdotes, I’d urge you to read a fascinating article in this Sunday’s New York Times. It turns out that America’s less religious citizens are far more likely to believe in things such as ghosts and UFOs than people who attend church. The author, psychology professor Clay Routledge, locates this phenomenon in the quest for meaning:

An emerging body of research supports the thesis that these interests in nontraditional supernatural and paranormal phenomena are driven by the same cognitive processes and motives that inspire religion. For instance, my colleagues and I recently published a series of studies in the journal Motivation and Emotion demonstrating that the link between low religiosity and belief in advanced alien visitors is at least partly explained by the pursuit of meaning. The less religious participants were, we found, the less they perceived their lives as meaningful. This lack of meaning was associated with a desire to find meaning, which in turn was associated with belief in U.F.O.s and alien visitors.

Americans aren’t the only “first-worlders” who nurture their superstitions. Post-Christian Europeans have their own tendencies to believe in elves, trolls, and mental telepathy.

In other words, maybe God actually “set eternity in the human heart.” Maybe man’s search for meaning will continue no matter the popular attitudes for or against orthodox Christianity — even if it takes you straight into the arms of E.T.

Here’s the core problem. In the United States we’re replacing an organized, systematic theology with basically nothing. Sure, there’s the moralistic therapeutic deism of the modern “spiritual” American, but its “God wants me to be happy” ethos isn’t quite up to the challenge of dealing with real life. So, we search and search, and in the immortal worlds of the philosopher Aaron Tippin, we learn the hard way that “you gotta stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything” — and “anything” can include indigo auras or the “vibration of a thought.”

Ross Douthat has written powerfully about the political consequences of post-Christian conservatism. It turns out that when men and women shed their faith, they don’t necessarily get more liberal, but they do get more tribal and vicious. Many members of the alt-right, for example, famously shun Evangelical Christianity (calling its adherents “cuckstians”). Indeed, as we learn from the battle between social-justice warriors and their right-wing counterparts — the emerging class of godless, angry populists — when you remove from your moral code any obligation to love your enemies, politics hardly improves.

The damage extends far beyond politics, of course. If there’s one abiding consequence of the shallow theologies and simple superstitions of our time, it’s the inability to endure or make sense of adversity. It’s a phenomenon that fractures families, fosters a sense of rage and injustice, and ultimately results in millions of Americans treating problems of the soul with mountains of pharmaceuticals.

Human beings are hard-wired to search for meaning and purpose. As we conduct that search, will our nation and culture continue to value and respect the faith that grants hope of redemption, patience through present suffering, and a means to discern between good and evil? Or will it continue to shun the way, the truth, and the life in favor of a grab-bag of ghosts, UFOs, and wishful thoughts? The choice isn’t between reason and religion. It’s all too often between religion and superstition. Post-Christian America will be a less rational place.

Read More

It Turns Out That a Less-Christian America Might Be a Worse America
Christianity, Post-Christianity, and the Future of the West
This Is What Post-Christian Dissent Looks Like

[Byline David French]

24 July 2017
National Review (edited)

Note: Before you pass judgment – Always fully read the details, do your own research, and consider the sources.


Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. ~Matthew 15:14 King James Version (KJV).

“Christians often ask why God does not speak to them, as he is believed to have done in former days. When I hear such questions, it always makes me think of the rabbi who asked how it could be that God often showed himself to people in the olden days whereas nowadays nobody ever sees him. The rabbi replied: “Nowadays there is no longer anybody who can bow low enough.”

“This answer hits the nail on the head. We are so captivated by and entangled in our subjective consciousness that we have forgotten the age-old fact that God speaks chiefly through dreams and visions. The Buddhist discards the world of unconscious fantasies as useless illusions; the Christian puts his Church and his Bible between himself and his unconscious; and the rational intellectual does not yet know that his consciousness is not his total psyche.” ~Carl Gustav Jung

Some philosophers have promoted the notion that it is impossible for human beings to invent new sins. Any “new” sin that may seem shocking to us is a sin that was likely practiced in ancient civilizations that have gone before us. In order for a nation or civilization to be strong, families must be strong. When families die, civilizations die along with them.

Looking back through history, one of the first great civilizations to collapse was in Mesopotamia. At its height of the Mesopotamian culture, Babylon was its strongest; the empire was known for strong morals and strong families, as reflected in the Code of Hammurabi, which dates to 1772 BC. As the centuries passed, family bonds and values began to collapse, and finally, Babylon became infamous due to its sexual orgies and gay relationships. The Roman Republic and Empire also passed through a similar phase, starting as a strong pro-family civilization, and ending up as an empire of decadent sexual orgies that celebrated openly its gay emperors like Caligula and Nero. The Roman Republic lay eroded and dying, its eventually cause being there weren’t enough people of character in power to sustain it.

Marcus Tullius Ciceros statement made over two millennia ago, also sounds an alarm.

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.”

So, now it is America’s turn. Our national culture surely is no different and it is duly imperiled. We are caught up in the maelstrom, spinning ever deeper into a spiral of rapid decay, morally, ethically, culturally, and economically. America is now, even with all of its technological achievements and advancements, become a pathetic shell of what it used to be.  It has become only a ghostly shadow and vague reminder of its once former greatness and true exceptionalism.

Conclusively, nothing listed herein is new and of course the historical points and perspectives can be argued, but the outcomes are much the same as those that occurred in the past, complacency, idiocy, greed, an inept democracy and government… over time all of these eat away at any nation from the inside out.

See Also

The Lessons of the Roman Empire for America Today

Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl (1946)

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