Religion of the West

When listening to that Richard Spencer interview on Red Ice, the thing I found most interesting is the bafflement by people in the Dissident Right as to why the people in charge of the West seem to have a death wish. John Derbyshire calls is ethnomasoichism, a form of self-hatred that extends to everyone like them.

Listening to Spencer fumble through an explanation, he said one thing that caught my attention. He kept coming back to the idea of a spiritual awakening or renewal that he thinks will precede a restoration of national identity. He was not all that clear on the point so I may be misunderstanding him.

Regardless, it brought to mind something about the Roman Empire from the second century forward. That is, the proliferation of odd cults, mystics and what we would think of as Eastern mysticism. Hadrian was into the Eleusinian Mysteries. One of the later emperors fell in the grips of a mystic whose name escapes me at the moment. Of course, Christianity got going in this time, starting from a Jewish heresy into a full blown religious movement.

None of this would be possible if the old gods and the old ways were still satisfying the people. After all, there’s no need for a new religion if the old religion is scratching that itch that is there in every human society. One of the things that’s true about the Roman empire is it was a miracle it did not collapse at any point after the reign of Commodus. The reason the people, including the ruling elite, were looking for new religions is they had largely lost faith in the old one.

We tend to look at the West as a collection of countries and people located in Europe, jostling with one another for supremacy. Another way is to look at the West as the Christian flowering, the Christian era. Starting from the second century, Christianity evolved and spread until it was largely formalized in the fourth century. The fall of the Western Roman empire in the fifth century let Christianity spread throughout Europe with the conversion of barbarians over the next two centuries.

What’s happening today is Christianity is dying out in the West. No one in the European ruling class is animated by his Christian faith. In fact, they mostly mock those remaining Christians in their own lands. In the US, No one in the ruling party is Christian. Some fake it for old time sake, but otherwise there are no Christians in the Democratic Party. The GOP still has some Christians, but most of that is for show, as their party is the natural home of the remaining Christians in America.

It’s a conceit of the modern ruling elites that they have shrugged off the sky gods and the oogily-boogily, but it is just a conceit. Belief is one of the oldest of human traits, co-evolving with speech. Belief, like all traits, varies from person to person and between groups. To think that this trait suddenly fell out of the human animal a generation ago is simply ridiculous.

That does not mean there always has to be an invisible man in the sky. An anthropomorphic god or gods probably came along long after the first conceptions of the super natural. There are plenty of modern examples of belief without the man-like god or gods. Buddhists, for example, have no invisible men in the sky. Natives of the Americas did not have man-like gods.

The point here is that the collapse of Christianity as a legitimizing and organizing faith has left the people in charge searching for a replacement. Socialism and Communism filled the void until they were laughed off the stage by reality. Even the Soviet rulers threw in the towel on the spiritual side of Bolshevism after Stalin.

The grasping around at these crazy fads like climate change and anti-racism is just a search for some legitimizing answer to the eternal why. Even silly materialist fads like Apple and Uber are driven by the need to the fill the spiritual void. It’s not an accident that every dedicated Apple user has  memorized the standard response to why they over spend for a bit of electronics.

This is a blog post, not a dissertation so I’m going to keep and short and stick with the broad outlines, but I think what’s driving this weird worship of the alien, specifically brown people migrating north, is spiritual envy. They envy the natural identity and belonging these people have as members of the oppressed. Generously inviting the noble savages into your neighborhood scratches that age old spiritual itch.

The cults and mystic faiths that floated around the late Roman Empire borrowed heavily from the old ways. Even Christianity cherry picked items from the old pagan religions. Climate change obviously borrows heavily from the Jewish Bible. Cultural Marxism looks a like liberation theology, without the Christianity. It’s Gnosticism updated to the modern era.

The absurdity of these weird cults and theodicies suggest we are in that transition period between the end of the old ways and the birth of some new way. Something is going to take the place of Christianity, just as Christianity took the place of the Greco-Roman gods. I have no idea what, but I will not be around to see it.

This is obviously a huge subject and I’m still noodling my way through my own thoughts on it.

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Member

What will replace it — well, Christianity is not actually going to go away, but as a motivating force for the elites, yes, I agree. There is also a great falling away, yes. What will replace Christianity will be all the old heresies. You will have all the animist and tribal superstitions, complete with tattoos, scarring, body modification, and accompanying superstitions such as fortune-telling, nature worship, and convergence of sex and religion, aka, cult prostitution. You will also have worship of power. A technological society driven to distraction by trivia. Porn addiction has barely begun. Basically, they will be superstitious… Read more »

Member

I agree that this is one of those times like before the Bronze Age collapse when the “gods stopped talking” or late antiquity when the Greco Romans lost faith. I’ve always thought it odd that the ruling class, having started all of these bloody wars and genocides, would blame God and lose faith in Him. Maybe they just lost faith in themselves? I have come to believe that all elite worship is really just self worship. Maybe the reason Rome collapsed is that the elites never got out of the way. They tried to coopt the new culture when they… Read more »

UKer
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UKer

I think you may have a point, but I also think it worth bearing in mind that Christianity couldn’t gain legitimacy unless it incorporated lot of the ‘old gods’ and their ways. This the Virgin Mother is pretty much Mother Earth, it was ever so handy to have Jesus born on the day of the great Sun Return celebrations (aka Saturnalia) in the northern hemisphere and Easter is a time of spiritual awakening now only because it was always that way before Christianity came along. Rejoicing in new life and a rebirth after the passing of the old was a… Read more »

james wilson
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james wilson

Language, religion, race-ethnicity, in no particular order. The Jews in diaspora had all three for a very long time. Without nationalism or patriotism, since they had no country. The Chinese held an identity with written language and race, religion being weak. One thing that Christianity gets no credit for is the creation of trust as a virtue. In China trust has ever been in short supply, and honesty no virtue. Nationalism is in proportion to the degree in which they feel threatened, or have been humiliated. But we know there will always be a China, as we know there will… Read more »

Steve C.
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Steve C.

So much today feels like a replay of the 1930s.

John Hinds
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That universal “force” of which Christianity is an expression isn’t going to be replaced. Not even possible. The story of Christ really does, if one digs down to the esoteric meaning behind the metaphor, give complete satisfaction to the “why” question. I think, therefore, that Christianity’s staying power is greater than people generally grasp. Were man to be completely annihilated and sentient life begun anew another “Christ” would arise and would be in essence the same metaphor that Jesus is. The end within (entelechy), the potentiality, of Being can’t be suppressed.

Luke Lea
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What comes after Christianity? My view is that Christianity has been a complete success, having delivered us (the vast majority of ordinary people living in what used to be called Christendom) from servitude. What comes next? Here I paint the picture of a post-Christian utopia: http://goo.gl/C4k2H7

I haven’t started to promote this idea yet. Comments welcome.