'A good five-cent religion'
0 comment Friday, November 14, 2014 |
The Cambria Will Not Yield blog has had a spate of wonderful posts lately, and this latest is another worthy one.
...What then do we lack that our ancestors had? We lack the heroic, integral way of responding to adversity. We no longer see an evil and say, "this must not go on," (1) and strike out at the evil. Instead, we form "think tanks" and study groups. We spend years of fruitless effort in trying to get someone elected who will address the particular evil we are trying to combat. In short, we are Hamlet prior to his conversion from confused graduate student to the lawful King of Denmark. We are "crawling around between heaven and earth."
Our ancestors who built Christian Europe lived life in the heroic mode. They did not feel called upon to match wits with the devil. They felt called upon to defend their souls and their civilization from the onslaughts of the devil. The Christian hero cares only about one thing: Is his cause God�s cause? And if it is, he sallies forth and leaves the rest to God.
There's a special Providence in the fall of a sparrow.
If it be now, 'tis not to come: if it be not to
come, it will be now: if it be not now,
yet it will come; the readiness is all.
Since no man has ought of what he
leaves. What is't to leave betimes?
Every society has men of courage. But it takes more than courage to maintain a Christian civilization or to mount a counterattack against a satanic civilization. It takes courage and vision. And the "vision thing" of which George Bush senior was so dismissive is what has been lacking and is still lacking in the ranks of the far right.''
By all means read the rest.
CWNY makes one point which I have alluded to a time or two: when, as frequently happens these days, somebody on our side is decrying Christianity as the cause of our decline in the West, they often add that we need a new religion, one which will strengthen our side, unlike Christianity. Or, more likely, they say we need to go back to our 'old' religions, which presumably our ancestors held to before Christianity.
Now, I take exception to that line of thought because, first of all, being a Christian and a student of history, I think it's a groundless accusation to indict Christianity for our post-modern failure of courage and will. I won't go into that again now. But even were I not a Christian, I would find fault with this notion that we need to order up a 'better religion'.
CWNY quotes such critics here as implying:
"We need a religion to beat the barbarians � let�s buy one at the religion store." It doesn�t work that way, of course. European man has a religion, he has the religion, and it has always been his religion.
Even before I was a Christian, when I was still a spiritual seeker, I knew that "picking a religion" was not, as CWNY says, like shopping at a store and picking out the most suitable one or the best bargain. Only an atheist at heart would imagine that one 'picks a religion' as one picks out an article of clothing. If religion is a matter of expediency, or of its usefulness to us as individuals or as a people, then there is no God at all, just a series of roughly equivalent personal preferences in the line of religious merchandise, according to your tastes and lifestyle. Religion is not a consumer product that one takes back to be exchanged if it doesn't 'give us our money's worth', or if it doesn't serve as a talisman that brings us good luck and good fortune. To regard religion in that way is on the level of superstition.
Stray into your local barrio or ghetto and you will see stores peddling 'good luck' candles and scents and powders; you will see 'wangas' or fetishes meant to bring love or sexual conquests or power or money. Is this what our people think religion amounts to? We know that the more primitive peoples certainly believe so. Their religion is meant to provide power or material goods or 'love'; their 'gods' or spirits are like the genies in the old Arabian Nights stories, to be conjured up to serve them, not vice-versa.
However anyone who thinks deeply about religion or about a God ought to realize that if there is a God who is the Creator of this universe, and who created us, we ought to be in great awe of Him. We would surely not try to summon up such a Being and demand favors from him; we ought to be on our knees, not attempting to extort things from him.
I have had considerable first-hand knowledge of people who dabble in the 'natural' religions, and ultimately they all believe that their will should come first, and religion, which often amounts to little more than ritual and ceremony, ultimately is meant to be a servant to their wills. They thus see themselves as 'gods' of a sort, who wield power over supernatural forces.
In other words, they don't believe that there is one transcendental and yet immanent God, but they may believe there are multiple 'gods' who can be put into harness to serve their ends.
In that sense, I would call them unbelievers. They simply don't believe in one Creator God who is to be served, but they see themselves as small-g 'gods' and 'goddesses' who can shape reality to their wills.
Isn't this what the people are saying who claim that we have to go back to worshiping some nature 'gods'? The idea is apparently that these gods will empower us to be successful and dominant as our ancestors supposedly were in some pre-Christian 'golden age'. So we order up some gods who will act as our personal genies and who will lead us to victory.
Either there is a God who created this universe and all that is in it, or there are only small-g 'gods' who are thus not really gods at all, just some kind of magical beings who can be pressed into service towards our ends.
So the non-believer who proposes we scrap Christianity because our team is losing too many games, and we need a new mascot, truly does not understand what religion is, or what deity means. Religion is ultimately a matter of truth. If religion is not based on truth, but only on its usefulness to us in our worldly needs or on its expediency, then it is not religion in the true sense; it's magic or superstition.
Either a religion is true or it is not.
I strongly suspect that those who propose we wheel out the old pagan deities and put up altars to them don't for a moment believe that those 'gods' even exist; I suspect they believe that religions are meant to be some kind of psychological crutch or pep-talk to help us toward success. Religion would seem, to these people, to be no more than a kind of self-help system that we employ.
Our forefathers prospered and succeeded when Christianity was at its Zenith. Our fortunes in the West have waxed and waned with Christianity. But that is not a reason to be faithful to Christianity; Christianity is not a mere means to an earthly end. But it's apparent that we were blessed when we were faithful, and we've lost that blessing to a great extent as we've strayed from the faith of our fathers.
I believe, as CWNY says, that our Christianity is part of our blood and our substance, and to the extent that we have walked away from it, or have in some cases perverted it into a caricature of its real self, we have forfeited our sense of our identity and our heritage as Westerners, heirs of Christendom.

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