Post-Christian Liberalism

During the French Revolution, radicals made no bones about attacking the Church as a source of oppression and an obstacle to progress. Marxists, of course, were hostile to religion of all types, but they really hated Christians. In America, direct attacks on Christianity started in the early 20th century, as Progressives abandoned the Social Gospel, in order to bring Jews into their movement. The point being, the Left has always had it in for Christianity, claiming it hinders progress and freedom.

We no longer have Jacobins, at least not the sort into regicide. We still have a few Marxists kicking around, but they are mostly museum pieces. Exactly no one in a position of authority in the West embraces Marxism or communism. As for Progressives, we have plenty of them in America, but their thing has morphed into a weird identity cult that hates white people, not Christians. Of course, there are precious few Christians around, at least in the ruling classes. In fact, it’s hard to find any Christian leaders in the West.

The West is post-Christian now. Leaders of all Western countries agree that Christianity has nothing to offer, in terms of public affairs. You never hear any of them make appeals to the deity or make references to Christian teaching. Every Western nation embraces some form of liberal democracy. Some nations lean toward social democracy, while others embrace neo-liberalism. American leaders will occasionally mumble something about freedom of religion, but otherwise, we are ruled by non-Christians.

The thing is, Christianity brought together certain cultural elements that made liberalism possible. There’s a reason that things like equality before the law and representative government never took root in other places and other times. The Roman Republic and ancient Athens had some features of liberal democracy, but they were largely ruled by a collection of families of equal rank. While the Greeks were able to produce an impressive amount of intellectual capital, they never came close to developing the concept of rights.

The place to start when thinking about this is the role of God in the affairs of men. The ancients were sure the gods picked sides, played games with man and did so without a grand plan. That means the gods did not see all men as being equal. Jews, of course, were really sure God picked sides. You can’t be the chosen people otherwise. It was the Christians that refined the idea that all men were in equal in the eyes of God. That’s the foundation of equality before the law and egalitarianism, at least as far as natural rights.

Another idea, essential to liberal democracy, instituted in Europe by Christianity, is the concept of an ordered universe with fixed rules. This was a concept borrowed from Greek philosophy and carried through Europe by Christianity. Not only is an orderly universe essential for the development of science, it is essential for the development of rational government. If God has created an orderly universe, governed by immutable and discoverable laws, human society should follow those rules.

You cannot have a free society without contracts. The bargain between men certainly predates Christianity, but it was the Jews who came up with the idea of a covenant, a contract that even God would abide. Christians inherited this. The idea that making a contract and sticking to it, because it would displease God to do otherwise, makes it possible to enforce contracts. The state enforcing contracts is acting on behalf of Providence. You can’t have anything resembling liberalism without contract law.

Finally, as I pointed out the other day, morality without the divine is just another set of rules made up by man. Christians were certainly not the first to ascribe the moral code to the supernatural, but they expanded on the Jewish concepts to create a whole body of morality that elevated humanity in the eyes of God. Doing the right thing by your fellow man, even when no one is looking, because God will judge you in the afterlife, allows for the development of the hidden law. It allows orderliness to spring forth organically.

That is an extremely broad overview, but the point is that what we take for granted about liberal democracy, has its roots in the Christian past. Within one lifetime ago, Western people expected to be ruled by Christian men. It was the natural condition. Even when the rulers were not very Christian, they kept it to themselves. It was just accepted that public character tracked with Christian morality. Now that we are ruled by post-Christian women, how long before all of these ideas that grew out of Christianity begin to wither away?

We certainly see some unraveling with the modern notion of egalitarianism. We have gone from men being equal in the spiritual sense, before God, to all people being equal to each other. Lacking the limiting principles that come with religion, Progressives are a click away from demanding that all of us pretend were are exactly the same in every way. The story Harrison Bergeron has gone from satire to divine scripture. The Christian regard for the complexity of God’s creation has been completely lost in the post-Christian age.

We’re seeing the return of occassionalist magic in the modern era. When the Left talks about “institutional racism” or “white privilege”, they are not talking about definable things that one can examine. These are mystery forces acting on man in the same way Old Scratch used to play the role of trickster and tempter. The difference is they assume a lack of agency in humans that prevents them from resisting these mystery forces. In many respects, Norse pagans were more empirical than the modern Progressive.

This is too big of a subject for a blog post, but it is something that is worth examination. It is assumed that the stock of human knowledge is always growing, but that does not mean nothing is lost. Western people have abandoned a large chunk of knowledge that had been formalized in Christianity. Some of it can be replaced with science, but the parts underpinning civil morality and our moral philosophy are not easily replaced by secular alternatives. Like the game Jenga, we may have removed a vital peg from liberalism.

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Dan S
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Dan S

Another thing that Christianity emphasized was the concept of inherent guilt. We were all sinners from the Original Sin and thus fallen. Only through grace could we be saved. This is another thing that distinguishes Christianity from Judaism in that Judaism doesn’t have this nature of guilt. The concept of Original Sin morphed in various incarnations, first with the rise of Protestant sects. Puritans believed we were extremely despicable, that God was mad at us, and through only showing public acts of piety were we shown to be saved. Marxism was another later mutation, which when you look at it,… Read more »

dad29
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Judaism doesn’t have this nature of guilt

Really? What were all those sacrificial lambs about, then? Rain-dances?

akajhon
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akajhon

did not remove guilt,,,as the BOOK sez,,only the blood of the Lamb of GOD can perform that,,,the lambs were a preview to the ultimate blood sacrifice,,any jew sacrifices today???? done did once and for all,,,

calsdad
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calsdad

Growing up in an area and around a LOT of Irish and Italian Catholics – I’ve come to believe that the whole guilt thing is responsible for much of what is wrong with (at least) this country. I’m largely Scottish/English – and my raised-Catholic wife is always telling me ” you never feel guilty about anything” Which is mostly true. Except maybe when I *actually* do something wrong. Seems like the Catholics and Marxists use guilt as a weapon to subjugate – instead of concentrating on actually being moral. Again – growing up around an awful lot of Catholics –… Read more »

Ivar
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Ivar

I am certainly not an atheist, but the problem with the restoration of any of the old religions is the faith/wishful thinking/escape into fantasy aspect of all of them. People have noticed a lack of divine feedback. Some Altright figures are never more patronizing than when they advocate the return of A-Religion-Which-Shall-Remain-Nameless because of its utility for social cohesion.. They invariably start speaking about ”the masses” or ”the proletariat.”. I always expect one of the Monty Python guys to pop up and say, “nudge, nudge, wink, wink.”

calsdad
Guest
calsdad

It’s pretty hard to make a case for your religion when all the religious leaders on one side have spent centuries telling the masses – to love their fellow man. And all the religious leaders on the other side have also spent centuries telling the masses to love their fellow man. Then – when the political leaders finally screw up big time and get a war started that is killing people off by the millions – the leaders representing those very same religious institutions (which are in many cases the SAME religious institutions on both sides) now tell you to… Read more »

dad29
Guest

Hear! Hear!!

Tamaqua
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Tamaqua

Poland and Hungary being the exceptions to the post-Christian “West”- although both countries are more of a unique Central Europe born of 1918, 1945, and 1989.

That Slavic/Magyar Catholic version is ethno-Christianity, and maybe that version has potential to retake Europe, after the collapse or Islamization of the dead carcass of the EU.

Dan S
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Dan S

Don’t forget these countries were under Communism. In a weird way, Communism froze the traditions in those countries due to the Eastern Bloc keeping out decadent Westernization. Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic are actually more of a generation behind in cultural mores due to this freeze. They may catch up or they may keep up the reaction based on observing how insane the West is now.

Member

Vonnegut was prescient with his Harrison Bergeron story because as a liberal he knew where progressivism takes us.

Bunny
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Bunny

This is one of your best blog posts ever. I do think progressives hate Christians in particular, though.

Ivan
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Ivan

It’s because intraspecific competition is always more ruthless than interspecific competition. Progressivism and Christianity are trying to stake out the same niche.

calsdad
Guest
calsdad

Case in point: Nazis vs Commies

Glen Filthie
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Glen Filthie

“God will judge you in the afterlife, allows for the development of the hidden law. It allows orderliness to spring forth organically….” ———————————————————————————— I might be full a beans here. I am a struggling late comer to the faith, and there are elementary school children that know more about God and the bible than I do. Like you, I used to think the bible and God were just a pantload off superstitious boojum that evolved to control men and allow them to work together. This is just me talking for myself, but when I found the faith it hit me… Read more »

Drake
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Drake

The dumb Progressives don’t think it consciously – but your faith in God is a threat to them. They want that faith to be placed in the State and the Cloud People.

calsdad
Guest
calsdad

Is it the faith in God – or the the honesty that they’re really threatened by?

Issac
Guest
Issac

I don’t believe these propositions are mutually exclusive, though I wouldn’t call any religion a pant load. The argument I’ve always made is that your ancestral faith is your rosetta stone to ancient wisdom. Whether or not you feel it in some transcend way is neither here nor there and the wisdom, like that of wizened family elders, isn’t always a perfect fit for your situation or environment. At the end of the day, whether g-d made you or your ancestors made g-d, there is a remarkable incompleteness to lived experience if you don’t take in the region of your… Read more »

calsdad
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calsdad

Excellent comment. Re: ” This is just me talking for myself, but when I found the faith it hit me entirely differently: the faith is about YOU controlling YOURSELF. Be a better man, strengthen your brother, be humble, and honest. God does not threaten, he forgives and we must do likewise. ” Never having read the Bible – or having spent much time in any form of church – this is EXACTLY the way I have felt for a very long time. The total lack of personal control that I have seem from the vast majority of people I have… Read more »

Guest
Guest
Guest

Considering that the seven sins are in fact common character flaws, I think you’re spot on about the faith being about self control, and overall betterment for one and one’s own through self control. The thing about Christians being equal in the eyes og God, I would have to say rather :They are born with equal “spiritual potential”, because people will be judges by their actions, and since you cannot definitely know someones lifespan, nor what they can manage to accomplish during that vaguely specified time span, in regards to good/contract fulfilling deeds, the spiritual potential remains equal for all… Read more »

Richter Rox
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Richter Rox

The architecture of the western mind is inherently Christian, it’s no wonder as we lose our Christianity that the loss of our minds ability to function in a western society follows.

thud
Guest

Corbyn and his hard left mates are within a gnats tadger of power here and their communism is pretty pure in its form.

Member

We still have a few Marxists kicking around, but they are mostly museum pieces. Exactly no one in a position of authority in the West embraces Marxism or communism. As for Progressives, we have plenty of them in America

Marxists are only “museum pieces” in terms of labeling. The only difference between Marxists, Socialists and Progressives is velocity of change. And as we’re seeing in the past few years, the velocity of change is revving up for progressives. They’re steaming as fast as possible toward a Marxist future.

J+Clivas
Guest

Marxism and Socialism have the same goals. Marxists use revolution to achieve them whereas Socialists use the strike.

calsdad
Guest
calsdad

I’m being beaten about the head by a 2 inch diameter stick or a baseball bat – does it really matter what you call it?

Seems like people are getting hung up on technicalities.

Matrix
Guest
Matrix

The problem with modern day Christianity is the pathological altruism that pervades the modern day church. Most of my young colleagues that seem to have a faith look at you like an unfeeling monster when you talk of some sort of boundary. Why wouldn’t you invite the world? That’s who we are, haven’t we always been a nation of immigrants? It’s not their fault they grew up without a father! Cut them a break. The church use to be about personal responsibility, not anymore, that ship has sailed.

Anonymous White Male
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Anonymous White Male

“In America, direct attacks on Christianity started in the early 20th century, as Progressives abandoned the Social Gospel, in order to bring Jews into their movement.” In order to bring jews into THEIR movement? I don’t know how far back you want to go, but the jews have been involved in the “Progressive” movement since at least 1694, when they created the Bank of England. Their financing of William of Orange to overthrow the Stuarts following the “legal” readmission of jews into England by Cromwell, gave them financial control of what became the most powerful nation of the world after… Read more »

Din C. Nuffin
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Din C. Nuffin

“If God has created an orderly universe, governed by immutable and discoverable laws, human society should follow those rules.” Spend an hour or two watching the National Geographic Wild channel. Crocs eating zebras, lions dismembering buffalo, cheetahs chasing down antelope, wild dogs tearing apart baboons, etc., etc. The Creator established this pain and carnage, humans have emulated it reasonably well, so far.

Al from da Nort
Guest
Al from da Nort

D C N; The ‘law of the jungle’ is a fixed *physical* rule. Even vegans have to kill to live, after all.* The ‘law of the jungle’ only matters as a *moral* rule if animals and plants have immaterial souls and were not put here for our use, as the Bible says they were. A great deal of malicious mischief is at hand when you see the two being deliberately conflated. It is true that the physical laws of the universe don’t care about me and you. It is *not* true that the God of the universe, who made those… Read more »

Din C. Nuffin
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Din C. Nuffin

Seems to me an omnipotent creator might have devised a more humane scheme. Vegetarianism for sentient creatures, photosynthesis, just sayin’.

Bunny
Guest
Bunny

Yes, it’s a difficult question. Even vegetarianism involves killing, as Al noted. There was an article some years ago in Playboy, of all places, by Alan Watts entitled Murder in the Kitchen. “One of Watts’ most surprising and refreshing positions is his critique of vegetarianism. For Watts, vegetarianism is simply an attempt to evade the fact that life feeds on life, that the universe is a vast web of creation and destruction. A vegetarian is just a person who spares his own feelings by killing creatures that can’t scream.” https://www.counter-currents.com/2010/12/the-spiritual-materialism-of-alan-watts-a-review-of-does-it-matter/ It used to be in downloadable PDF for free, but… Read more »

Al from da Nort
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Al from da Nort

D C N; In principle you’re right: God might have done so but didn’t. Nobody knows why. OK, now what_? I don’t mean to slag you for your light-hearted answer which you’re hopefully not too serious about. But there is a serious point to be made. There actually are people who see themselves as great thinkers who suppose that they can put God in the dock to answer for what He did or didn’t do. I mean, if punk humans like me and you can put him in the dock, he’s not much of a god. So, there’s no point… Read more »

Din C. Nuffin
Guest
Din C. Nuffin

Al – “Now what?” Bunny thinks I’m an atheist. I’m not. But what we do now is adjust our perception of the creator. If he doesn’t give a shit because his sentient creatures suffer pain, why should I? Starving in Africa? Murdering in Detroit? Not my problem, not my fault. Screw ’em.

Al from da Nort
Guest
Al from da Nort

D C N; What people are trying to tell you is that, since ‘judgement’ implies calling a person to account for their conduct with some implication of coercive power (else ‘judgement’ is a meaningless expression of personal preference), man *cannot* judge God. Most particularly man cannot judge God by human standards, which are, after all, ephemeral. This much is logical.* IOW, if The God of the Bible is who He says He is in the Bible, He is *entirely* ‘other’ to humanity, though he He made humanity. And if he is not like that, then he is not God, but… Read more »

Bunny
Guest
Bunny

I always smile when someone cites the food chain as a rationale for atheism. It’s so simple. Animals eat animals. Where is your God now, bwa ha ha?!

Member
James LePore

Sin, punishment, repentance, redemption, salvation, these were at the core of Christianity for 1900 years. Now that sin has been eliminated as being too harsh and judgmental, Christianity is dead. The church did this to itself.

Al from da Nort
Guest
Al from da Nort

James; Agreed; But it’s *liberial* Christianity that has no antibodies to neo-liberalism. Once you pull out the Jenga block (or Jackstraw) of any concept of sin against a holy God having any consequences (because that wouldn’t be ‘nice’), the whole pile collapses. Thing is, this idea seems to me to be based on infantilism (or feminism, BIRM). If there is no god/dad or one that can be offended with impunity using ‘meaning well’ as the all-purpose ‘mommy-fix’ defense, then what’s the point of worrying about external standards of behavior. Once ‘playing well with others’ is enshrined as the supreme good… Read more »

Guest
Guest
Guest

I get down voted every time I state the obvious here, but here it goes: Christianity sowed the seeds of its destruction when it left its European cradle to become a Universal faith. The intellectual compromises necessary to adapt the Christian faith to Africa and to a lesser extent Asia stripped Christianity of any significant values. Nature abhors a vacuum, and into the void slouched the twin beasts of feminism and humanism. Exactly what is to be learned by sitting in a pew in an Episcopalian church listening to the lesbian Pastor rant about equality? We have a thing or… Read more »

KWEiler
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KWEiler

I don’t believe Christianity got watered down to adapt to Africa and Asia. It got watered down in the heart of those European nations that were heavily influenced by the Enlightenment of the 18th century & following, e.g. Germany & Britain. Today the Anglican Communion is riven between the liberal churches of the West (i.e. the Church of England, the Episcopal Church here in the USA, the Anglican Church of Canada etc.) and the Anglican Churches in places like Nigeria, Uganda etc. which are quite theologically conservative. Generally the missionaries who went to Africa and Asia in the 19th &… Read more »

Rien
Guest

Human morality can be seen on a scale from No-Indvidual rights & Maximum collective rights to Maximum Individual rights and no-collective rights.

Religion, christian religion did something unique: It provided a peg in between those two extremes. Something morality could gravitate to whenever it got out of whack. It provided a point of stability.

Without christianity, we will slide either to full collectivism or to all-out individualism.

However, note that neither of those two extremes is stable.

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

IMO a very good observation. I would add that the purveyors of collectivism have done a great job of subverting Mainline Christianity to their cause. If you are not encouraging the use of the assets of the state and the denomination to alleviate the ills or hard circumstances of strangers on the other side of the world, and saving them from themselves and the predations of their own, through some sort of collective “solution”, then you don’t count. If you are not encouraging the use of the assets of the state and the denomination to “help” the females, the gays,… Read more »

Rien
Guest

“I would add that the purveyors of collectivism have done a great job of subverting Mainline Christianity to their cause.”

Yes, and they have done so by concentrating on the ‘love’ message. They have relentlessly driven home the message that christianity can only be defined through unconditional love of everything. And the christians fell for it. (Most of them anyhow)

As you may be aware, love in christianity is not, and never has been, unconditional.

Issac
Guest
Issac

Collectivism is a poor choice of words. Most of the pressure driving this phenomenon is selfishness and liberal individualism. Progressives don’t donate to charity at the same rate as cons and much less than evangelicals. They love state charity because it costs them nothing and burdens future genrations that they care nothing about. What’s more, you might expect a Collectivism problem to intensify the feelings of kinship to fellow community members. Not so. Progressive families are the first to estrange anyone who defies their selfish belief sytem. They are the first to flee behind high walls when the piper comes… Read more »

Thorsted
Guest
Thorsted

I think Steven Pinkers new book “Enlightenment Now: the Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress” is an attempt to make a rationalist liberal religion -without Christianity and religion. The philosopher; John Gray has a cruel review of is here where he writes “that Judged as a contribution to thought, Enlightenment Now is embarrassingly feeble. With its primitive scientism and manga-style history of ideas, the book is a parody of Enlightenment thinking at its crudest. A more intellectually inquiring author would have conveyed something of the Enlightenment’s richness and diversity. Yet even if Pinker was capable of providing it, intellectual… Read more »

Rien
Guest

I have not read the book, but the enlightenment is at its peak right here and now. The world you see today is the kind of world enlightenment brings. If we allow it to go further, it will destroy humankind as we knew it. That is not to say that we should reject science. But we should reject scientism as a religion. Religion, a real religion, tells us about ourselves and our place in the world. The relations we have with everything. Who cares about evolution theory or quantum gravity. Its about the relationships we have (with everything) that science… Read more »

Issac
Guest
Issac

Oy. I could argue this at length, but I will simply suggest that an abundance of science is not what gives rise to the enlightenment progressive religion and it’s desire to use grapeshot. The hallmark of progressive fervor is in-fact pseudo-science. Observe that long established biological theories are being discarded and even physical sciences like meteorology are bent double from progressive perversion.

Embrace the G-d of your people but do not become a dolt who rejects empirical reality because you’re convinced that holy mother church has taught all you ever needed to know.

Member

Everyone on every side is currently in search of the central set of organizing principles for whatever comes next. I still think Liberals mainly believe Government is their god. As Obama demonstrated, it is a vengeful god when disobeyed. It is a benevolent god when buttered up with the “correct” words. It has chosen people and the outcasts; saints, sinners, priests, prophets and kings; lots of real estate and plenty of disposable cash. Mine eyes have seen the glory of commissions and of boards; They are trampling out the faithful like some ancient Persian hoards. They hath loosed the fateful… Read more »

Ripple947
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Ripple947

I believe your site is being blocked by Comcast, I cannot access it that way, but I can via 4G. I guess they’ve labelled you a hate site.

RWinNoVA
Guest
RWinNoVA

You are blocked by the censorship app “Websense” at my place of employment.

Aggie
Guest
Aggie

I think the discussion has gone all the way ’round a central part of the thesis: Removing Christianity not only removes moral context, it effectively removes the primary organized source of about 2,000 years of human behavioral & societal history. With no referable history to guide human moral choices, what is the alternative? That’s right: Listen to the man on the television.

Al from da Nort
Guest
Al from da Nort

Aggie; An excellent summary of the central point. To which I would add that, in addition to providing critical politico-economic underpinning to the West and to human society, Christianity can be of great personal satisfaction and benefit. A number off commenters above have stated that. That’s certainly been true for me: I’m far from perfect, but I’m certainly a better man than I was, and I’m very likely a better man than I would have been. And my relationships are better too. And besides that, unlike the many Prog slanders, you are *not* required to give up science-the-process or critical… Read more »

Singh
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Singh

West is so post christian that the missionary industry is still huge & a cornerstone of its foreign policy।।