Editors Note: By Israel Lira, Peruvian Political Theorist. Translated by Zero Schizo. In order to have myth, what is needed is that the culture in which it appears would be…
Editors Note: By Israel Lira, Peruvian Political Theorist. Translated by Zero Schizo.
In order to have myth, what is needed is that the culture in which it appears would be a mythological one. This culture supposes a complex group of mythical categories, among them those of time, space and causality. Mythoid lacks the transcendental character of myth, it isn’t, above all, overlapped with the totality of the culture in which it works. It is, in certain sense, isolated and could even oppose essential aspects of a given culture, but possess the fundamental characters of myth. (Miro Quesada Cantuarias, 1986:84-86). As exposed, myth, understood as a fact or event which does not have empirical correlate, is differentiated from mythoid, by the socio-cultural framework in which it is produced, by which in contemporaneity we would talk more of the generation of mythoids than myths, given that our current culture is found inside of a logocratic (reason) framework eminently and not a mythocratic one.
Following the aforementioned, one of the mythoids of our contemporaneity is configured in the belief in the fact that science enjoys of an absolute neutrality in which scientific research (creation of explicative theories) and technological application (execution of theories already given to concrete cases) are not just one. Disconnected, but instead they are at the same time, estranged from external powers which could exert influence in them.
This mythoid has a clear origin in Popperian vision inside of the philosophy of science, in which precisely the separation between scientific research and technological application is made. For Popper (1970), scientific research has, as such, an intrinsic value which is guided by determined norms of methodological character that could have a moral content, insofar as the objective of the investigation is the discovery, and thus the results of such research also have that inherent value, but are neutral regarding the moral. That one could make good or bad use from the results of a scientific research a-posteriori is an entirely different thing. So, the scientist has two obligations, to follow the moral requirements of the very same scientific praxis (the scientist as scientist), and to limit himself to foresee the possible uses of his results and denounce its bad praxis (the scientist as citizen).
This Popperian approach, which is the traditional one, opposes the historic-sociological approach of epistemologists like Bernal (1939) and Richta (1971), where it is remarked that by the nature of the scientific research, the scientist –in effect– has a double responsibility, to follow the norms of the scientific method, but above all to involve himself in an active way in the changing of society in order for science to fulfill its role of serving mankind, insofar as one is conscious that scientific knowledge could be used both in order to liberate and in order oppress mankind. These are symptomatic facts which are derived from the lacking of the very same social system to which science serves. Meaning, scientific research and technological application are not separated concepts, but instead they keep an intrinsic relationship.
This last point is reaffirmed by the fact that in the praxis of scientific research, the search for some theories or others and the choice between them is not an entirely free enterprise, remembering Quintanilla (1978), regulated exclusively by the canons of objectivity and in service of truth, as the unmistakable reality is that the scientist is a wage worker whose priorities of research are given as such to an order of priority which is established by particular interests which are the ones who direct, what things can be researched and what things are left relegated, “to the extent, for example, that research devoted to a determined topic are financed and not others, etc” (1978:54). As was exposed, “it is clear that we must renounce the comfortable consolation or illusion that science, in itself, has guaranteed autonomy and value despite the wrong applications that would be made of it circumstantially or despite its historical insertion in an unjust society” (1978:56).
MIRO QUESADA CANTUARIAS, Francisco. (1986). «Ciencia y técnica [en América Latina]: ideas o mitoides», in: Leopoldo Zea (Ed.), América Latina en sus ideas. Mexico: UNESCO/Siglo XXI; pp. 72-94.
POPPER, K.R. (1970). «The Moral Responsibility of the Scientist» in P. Weingarther and G. Zecha (eds.), Inducfton. Physis and Ethics. Dordrecht, p. 22-326.
BERNAL, J.D. (1939). «The Social Function of Science». London.
RICHTA, R. (1971). «La civilización en la encrucijada». Madrid.
QUINTANILLA A. Miguel. (1978). «El Mito de la Neutralidad de la Ciencia: la responsabilidad del científico y del técnico». EL BASILISCO, Revista de Materialismo Filosófico. En: http://fgbueno.es/bas/pdf/bas10105.pdf
With the rise of the BLM movement, we are not just witnessing protests and riots but the birth of an old/new religion. Summary The Black Lives Matter protests are best…
With the rise of the BLM movement, we are not just witnessing protests and riots but the birth of an old/new religion.
The Black Lives Matter protests are best understood as a religious revival, emerging from the United States but global in scale. This new religion is “Multiculturalism” and based on institutions and ideals outside traditional churches; however, its structure and sacraments strikingly resemble those of Christianity. It could even be considered a kind of heresy.
Religious revivals take place in the wake of wars and disasters, periods of elevated stress and widespread angst. They are spearheaded by and attractive to people who are relatively high in neurotic traits such as anxiety. Their disturbed mental states are, temporarily, alleviated by the religious experiences that take place through these revivals—with religion, more generally, being an adaptation that allows us to cope with an unpredictable and traumatic world.
Leftists and atheists, of course, proudly reject traditional religion and sexual morality, and we should appreciate the irony of a “religious revival” capturing their hearts and minds. However, as a group, leftists and atheists are high in mental instability—especially those who are young and female—and thus they are highly susceptible to the religious experience, if not religion as it has been historically understood.
Following the Industrial Revolution and the exploitation of fossil fuels, the world became immensely wealthier, healthier, and more comfortable, and the harsh Darwinian selection pressures that characterized previous ages subsided. One of the most impactful consequences of this is the dramatic decrease in childhood mortality. Thus, millions of people with high levels of mutations, who would not have survived childhood in previous times, walk among us in the postmodern age. These “spiteful mutants” have managed to bring about the collapse of traditional religion—which is associated with mental and physical health and evolutionary success. They have spread Multiculturalism as a religion in its place. The result is a Multiculturalist revival, where 70 years ago there would have been a Christian one.
Imagine there’s no countries It isn’t hard to do Nothing to kill or die for And no religion, too Imagine all the people Living life in peace You, you may say I’m a dreamer But I’m not the only one I hope someday you will join us And the world will be as one —“Imagine,” John Lennon
The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement swept through the Western World beginning in May 2020 after the accidental death of African-American criminal George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. The initial result was widespread riots and looting by African-Americans in Minneapolis, followed by similar scenes in other places. But this quickly morphed into an ideological movement—under the already extant slogan “Black Lives Matter”1—in which a kind of anarchy swept through American cities, encouraged by Social Justice Warriors2 and, to a large extent, the leftist media and political establishment. A kind of hysteria appeared to take hold among White Americans, including politicians and even police officers.
Flagrantly breaking the “lock down,” which had been in action for two months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Whites gathered in the streets and knelt in the name of George Floyd. Many police officers publicly engaged in this deferential behavior, often holding out their open hands to signify their willingness to make themselves defenseless. White Americans were filmed not just kneeling before Blacks but symbolically washing their feet.3 The riots were stated, by the media, to be “largely peaceful” even as buildings were aflame behind them or as White news reporters were physically attacked by rampaging mobs. There were calls to abolish the police and even for complete anarchy, under the slogan “No Justice, No Peace.”
The hysteria quickly spread to other Western countries. There were Black riots— assisted by White SJWs—on the streets of central London. White news reporters were attacked live on air. British police, in front of the gates of Downing Street, knelt before Black protestors rather than arrest them for breaking the lockdown and for rioting, as English Law demanded. Companies began to signal their support for “Black Lives Matter,” with those who were slow to do so being criticized as “racist” because, according to one slogan, “Silence is Violence.” In a BLM protest in Helsinki, the overwhelmingly White and female “protestors” didn’t merely kneel but lay prostrate on the ground in order to signal total submission and deference. Young females posted videos of themselves online renouncing their Whiteness, showing their “solidarity” with BLM. In one extreme case, a woman smeared herself in excrement as a sign of abasement.
Then came the attacks on statues and other public monuments. A statue of Winston Churchill in central London was graffitied with the word “Racist.” Britain’s Cenotaph war memorial was desecrated, and a young Black woman attempted to burn the Union Jack that hung from it. The statue of an 18th-century philanthropist and slave trader, which had stood in Bristol since 1895, was dragged down by a mob and thrown in the dock. Other statues that “offended” the sensitivities of the mob were preemptively removed, likely never to be re-erected, to prevent their destruction, including one of Belgium’s King Leopold, which stood in Brussels.
The streaming service HBO Max removed the American civil war epic Gone With The Wind (1939)—a film preserved by the Library of Congress as “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant”4—after its romanticization of the South and depiction of African slaves was deemed unwatchable in the current climate. The chairman of Warner Media called the ban a “no brainer,” a curious choice of words.5 The BBC even removed from its streaming sites relatively recent comedies, made by liberal comedians only a decade ago, such as the light-hearted “Little Britain,” because “times have changed.”6
A New Religion
This wasn’t just mob rule and anarchy. On display was a religious intensity. And people were sucked into it. If the mob declared that you were not a “true believer,” you could lose your job, or perhaps even be subject to a police investigation. So, as more people exhibited their adherence to the Cult of George Floyd, an arms-race developed to indicate ever-greater fervor.
We need to stop calling things like this “liberalism” or a “civic religion.” It’s a religion. Period. A new stage of Christianity, which has gone through major mutations before.pic.twitter.com/uKxlmxhoy6
This was all so predictable. In April 2020, experts in the study of religion cautiously suggested that there might be some kind of religious revival in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, though they focused on what might happen in churches.7 There are always religious revivals after or during wars, famines, and pandemics. Why would the Covid-19 be any different?
In other words, we are witnessing another “Great Awakening.” But the religion of a significant portion of Western populations, and especially the young, is not Christianity. This new global religion of the 21st century is Multiculturalism. That said, Multiculturalism contains many elements of evangelicalism, both aesthetically and structurally, and perhaps could be viewed as Christianity’s latest mutation.
In order to understand what has taken place, we need to make sense of what religion is; why “mortality salience” is relevant to it; and how, precisely, religious revivals occur. Once this is clear, we will see that Multiculturalism is not just an ideology, partisan politics, or passing fad; it must properly be understood as a religion itself.
One of the key predictors of becoming religious is being confronted with your own mortality or that of your loved ones. No matter what an inveterate skeptic might say or write throughout his life, when told that his mother is in intensive care or his daughter has been in a car accident, there is a very strong possibility that, in private, he will beg God for help. “There are no atheists in foxholes,” as the saying goes. So-called “mortality salience” is an extreme example of the kind of psychological stress that appears to elevate religiousness. “Feelings of exclusion” seems to cause people to become more religious, too, as do periods of dramatic change, such as significant changes in government.8
“Religion,” in the widely accepted sense of the word, involves all of the key components of an evolutionary adaptation. Religiousness is around 0.4 genetic; it is associated with physical and mental health partly at the genetic level;9 it correlates with fertility; and specific parts of the brain are associated with it.10
There are likely a number of non-exclusive reasons why religiousness evolved. One is that it promoted pro-social behavior. Those who believed in a god who told them to behave in a pro-social way were less likely to be cast out or killed by the pre-historic band and were, therefore, more likely to pass on their genes. A related possibility is that it reduced stress in the face of danger or as we become aware of our own mortality. Those who felt that their life had eternal meaning and that a god was constantly looking after them would be less likely to become depressed and anxious and would be more likely to pass on their genes.11
Consistent with this, not only do people tend to become more religious at times of stress, they are more likely to have dramatic religious experiences, in which they do not merely vaguely feel that God is present but, as far as they are concerned, see Him and hear His reassuring voice.12 People who are high in neurotic personality traits are prone to depression and anxiety, these being manifestations of “mental instability.” Neuroticism seems to decrease considerably after one has undergone conversion and other religious experiences.13
Intrinsic religiousness—genuinely believing in god—is negatively correlated with Neuroticism.14 We can see this in the average churchgoer of the past century, a man who conforms to the belief system of his community, intellectually believes in a higher power, but likely doesn’t take his religion overly seriously nor does he worship with particular emotional affect. On the other hand, extrinsic religiousness—outward conformity to religion—is positively associated with Neuroticism. We can think of the fanatic or obnoxious scold, someone who wears his faith on his sleeve, perhaps even so devoted that religion negatively affects his welfare.
Being a “religious seeker” is also associated with Neuroticism. This involves going through phases of mental instability that are alleviated by an unusual and often very extreme forms of religiosity, which are duly abandoned during periods of sound mental health.15 Overall, it’s reasonable to argue that religiousness would have been selected for, because it promoted mental health, with the result that mental health and religiosity have become genetically related, due to both being simultaneously selected over a lengthy period of time.16
Religion also would have been “kin-selected.” You can pass on your genes indirectly by aiding your kin: your children share 50 percent of your genes, and more distant kin, such as nephews, share 25 percent. If a person were highly religious, it makes their kin more attractive, because of the associations between religiousness, pro-social behavior, and mental stability. This would help explain why some Islamic fundamentalists kill daughters who have dishonored the family. It is a way of signaling the family’s commitment to Islam and, thus, elevating kin selection.17 An ethnic group is, in the sense, an extended genetic kinship group and thus a means by which you can indirectly pass on your genes.18 It is has been found, using computer modeling, that groups that are highest in positive ethnocentrism (internal cooperation) and negative ethnocentrism (external hostility) tend to dominate others in the battle of group selection.19 There is evidence implying that religiousness is genetically associated with both kinds of ethnocentrism, because a part of the brain associated with ethnocentrism is also associated with religiousness.20 And the correlation between positive ethnocentrism and religiousness would make sense because a group would be more internally cooperate if it were high in pro-social traits and low in mental instability. But our key point is that religiousness has evolved, in part, as a means of coping with stress and mortality salience.
Why Are Women So Religious?
The high female presence both in BLM protests and in churches is obvious to anyone who has ever attended either. And this shouldn’t be surprising. Women are more religious than men, across cultures, in terms of how likely they are to believe in God and engage in collective worship.21 In the United States, Catholics, Evangelical Protestants, Mainline Protestants, and Mormons are each 55 percent female. Some 70 percent of American women report an “absolute certainty” in their belief in a god, compared to 57 percent of men. American women are also much more likely to report that religion is important in their lives, and atheism is found twice as often among men than women (12 percent vs. 6 percent).22
This occurs because religion has been sexually selected for, too, as it is associated with being pro-social, rule-following (and thus not cuckolding your husband or abandoning your family and child), and with being part of a supportive group of co-religionists. These clear sex differences in the strength of religiousness will become significant later when we analyze the Black Lives Matter protests.
There are a number of probable reasons for higher female religiousness, one of which is empathy. Females are higher than in empathetic behavior, which involves being interested in people’s feelings and being able to detect their feelings from external markers, such as facial expressions.23 There is evidence that people who are high in empathy transfer this ability over to the world itself, meaning that they perceive the presence of a “mind” or “higher power” simply from looking around the world. Accordingly, low empathy—that is, stereotypical autism—is associated with atheism.24
Another reason may be adaptation to patriarchy. Females sexually select for male status because a high-status male is better able to invest in them and their offspring, meaning that both are more likely to survive.25 Until the Industrial Revolution, wealth and status strongly predicted completed fertility, and this is the case among pre-industrial peoples today. 26 If males must invest resources in the female in order to obtain sexual intercourse, then they want to be certain that the offspring in which they are investing their resources are actually their own. The result is a system of patriarchy in which females are controlled by males such that male paternity anxiety can be reduced. This system of patriarchy will tend to be promoted by the society’s religion as divinely ordained, possibly because patriarchal societies reduce paternity anxiety, meaning that they, in turn, reduce inter-male conflict, thus causing males to be more internally cooperative. And, again, as computer models have shown, societies of internally cooperative people are more likely to triumph in warfare with competing societies.27
This system of patriarchy, however, would mean that females would be strongly selected to be accepting of patriarchy and thus to be religious, as this is what the religion would promote.28 Consequently, there would be a religious “arms race” among females in order to obtain the highest-status males, especially in the kind of polygamous societies in which humans have lived for most of history, in which the highest status males monopolize the most desirable females. As such, we would expect females to be strongly prone to wishing to signal their virtue and, if religiosity were regarded as virtuous, to signal this. And they would be more convincingly able to signal it if they genuinely believed it.
Why is Religiousness Associated With Mental Health?
It is also clear to anyone that has ever attended a BLM protest that many of those involved—with their stereotypical unnatural colored hair and screams of righteous fury—are not mentally well. By contrast, females in churches appear sober and under control.
Why should traditional religiousness be associated with mental health? The answer lies in its evolutionary history. In understanding the evolution of religion, it is worth noting that it is a combination of a variety of traits, which would have been adaptive in pre-history.
1. Agency Over-Detection. We have a cognitive bias towards detecting the presence of an agent behind events. Following the “Smoke Detector Principle,” it is adaptive to assume the worst and get it wrong—such as to assume that that noise over there was a wolf rather than just the wind. This helps to explain why we might see evidence of god in the world.
2. Pattern Over-Detection. We are evolved to over-detect causation. This is adaptive because those who under-detected it would have put themselves in danger of being wiped out or not been able to analyze and understand the world around them.
3. Follow the Leader. We are evolved to form strongly-bonded groups and obey authority. By working as a team with a leader, groups are more likely to survive in the battle of group selection.29
Religions will vary in the extent of the prominence of each of these factors. This means that although religiousness is generally adaptive in an evolutionary sense of promoting individual and especially group fitness, it is quite possible for maladaptive forms of religiousness—which do not promote genetic fitness—to manifest. Some devotees might be, for example, too extreme in their obedience to the leader or in their pattern over-detection, such that adhering to such a religion is harmful for its followers. An obvious example of this would be suicide cults—such as the notorious Jonestown—in which devotees are so inclined to follow their leader and so inclined to over-detect patterns that they accept a mentally ill man’s paranoid worldview and kill themselves, completely destroying their genetic interests.30 Membership of such groups is associated with other maladaptive traits—such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder—whereas traditional religiousness is genetically associated with mental health.
The relationship between religiousness and sound mental health makes sense if we delve a little deeper into how religiousness has been selected for over time. This will also be highly relevant, later, to understanding the nature of the Black Lives Matter movement. As I have discussed in my study “The Mutant Says in His Heart, ‘There is No God,’”31 we were under conditions of harsh Darwinian selection until the breakthroughs of the Industrial Revolution, which began in around 1800. The resulting improved public health and living conditions meant that child mortality has fallen from around 50 percent in 1800 to 1 percent today.32 High child mortality ensured that the surviving population was very strongly adapted to its ecology. Babies with mutations that made them unfit—such as those leading to a poor immune system—were purged from the population every generation, meaning that it overall had a very low “mutational load.” Under these brutal conditions, traditional religion—based around the collective worship of a moral god—was adaptive, meaning that it came to be selected for in tandem with other adaptive traits, which thus became genetically connected.
With the break-down of harsh Darwinian selection, we would expect the population to display increasing evidence of mutational load. This would be observed in secular increases in the prevalence of partly genetic medical conditions.33 We would also expect the development of all kinds of deviations from this delicately balanced Darwinian religious norm—deviations that would be maladaptive in terms of group and individual selection and that would be attractive to people with maladaptive traits, such as mental illness. Religious suicide cults, such as Jonestown and Waco, would exemplify this process. These religious deviants would have high mutational loads and likely be people who would not have survived childhood under harsh Darwinian conditions.
How do we know that such people would not have survived? In that the brain is 84 percent of the genome, it is an enormous target for mutation, meaning that those who have physical mutations can be expected to have mental mutations as well, which would direct them towards deviations from the most adaptive form of religiousness. Consistent with this, it has been found that, in modern samples, collective worship of a moral god is genetically associated with physical and mental health and is negatively associated with other markers of high mutational load, including autism, physical asymmetry, and left-handedness. These are associated with atheism or religious deviations, such as paranormal belief. The inability to develop a symmetrical phenotype implies a poor immune system, because a person with a poor immune system would have to use disproportionately more of his bio-energetic resources to fight off pathogens, meaning insufficient resources left over to ensure symmetry. Left-handedness is an accepted marker of “developmental instability.” If the brain develops symmetrically, people will tend to be right-handed. Failure to do so implies mutational load and, thus, left-handedness is associated with many examples of poor physical and mental health.34
So, with the nature of “religion” and its connection to mortality salience understood, let us now turn to making sense of “religious revivals.”
What Causes Religious Revivals?
Religious revivals appear to occur when the kind of situation that would lead to a period of religiousness in an individual—such as stress and mortality salience—are experienced relatively suddenly by a substantial portion of a society. There will be variation in the nature of the revival, depending on the kind of people who are impacted. But, in general, dramatic change and a period of difficulty can be expected to lead to a religious revival of some kind. These can be charted throughout history and, interestingly, there is often a time lag separating the period of stress from the revival itself.
Christian evangelists are constantly attempting to create revivals, traveling to different communities and preaching their message of conversion and redemption. However, they only seem to be able to create mass revivals during, or just after, periods of significant distress.
An examination of British revivals during the 20th century is consistent with this pattern. The first major revival of the twentieth century took place in Wales between 1904 and 1905. At the time, South Wales was ravaged by industrial unrest and unemployment in a society in which there was no welfare state. Accordingly, Welsh workers, many of whom were already heavily influenced by Methodism and were facing serious hardship and the realistic possibility of destitution.35 Interesting, there was no religious revival during World War I in the UK, nor during the Spanish Flu pandemic that immediately followed it36. There were, however, various revivals during the 1920s. The lack of communications at the time meant that it was more difficult than in the 1950s for these to become national phenomena. A major revival in East Anglia in 1921 focused around socioeconomically deprived fishing communities, which were under considerable distress even compared to ordinary people recovering from the Great War. The following year, there were revivals in other parts of the country, most notably in fishing communities in northeast Scotland.37 There was no major revival in Britain in the 1930s, other than in the deeply conservative Hebridean islands off the north west of Scotland in 1939. This year was a time of elevated distress due to very real possibility that Britain might go to war again.38
There was no major revival in the UK during World War II itself. The next Christian revival, and a concomitant reassertion of conservative attitudes, came after the War, and especially in the 1950s. There was a revival in the Hebrides in 1949, in which large numbers of people, who had not previously been especially devout, underwent religious experiences and became more involved in their church and in which those who were already religious became more fervent. According to revival leader the Rev. Duncan Campbell (1898-1972), in late 1949, in the village of Barvas on the Island of Lewis, he conducted a night-time meeting at which:
Three o’ clock in the morning came and God swept in. About a dozen men and women lay prostrate on the floor, speechless . . . We left our cottage at 3am to discover men and women seeking God. I walked along a country road and found three men on their faces, crying to God for mercy. There was a light in every home; no-one seemed to think of sleep.
At 5 AM that morning, 14 buses full of people arrived from all parts of the island and even from the island of Harris. People at these meetings fell into trances, fainted, swayed and collapsed to the floor.39 Campbell felt that he had been inspired by the Holy Spirit to go and revive the Outer Hebrides and, given the stressful conditions of the time, people were extremely receptive to religious-fervor in a ways that they otherwise wouldn’t have been.40
Wartime rationing did not cease until 1954, so it could be argued that it was only at this point that “normal life” finally reasserted itself.41 In an era of mass-communication, a spark was needed to set off a nationwide revival, and this came in the form of American pastor Billy Graham (1918-2018), as witnessed in his British rallies, which took place between 1954 and 1955. The postwar religious fervor was such that it has been estimated that roughly 21 percent of the London population attended a Billy Graham rally, while up 73 percent of the Glasgow population did so.42 In 1955, 100,000 people packed a Glasgow stadium to attend a single service conducted by Billy Graham.43 I am not aware that the relationship has been quantitatively tested, but, as a rule of British Modern History, religious revivals seem to manifest in areas of elevated mortality salience as a consequence of impoverishment or, directly, famine and other highly stressful phenomena.
What Kind of People Have Religious Experiences?
What was happening, in terms of individual and mass-psychology, during these revivals? As we have discussed, quotidian, stable religiousness—in which you are religious all the time—is correlated with sound mental health. Even religious people who are mentally healthy, however, go through periods of stress and mortality salience in which they may become more religious. They may even undergo forms of what is known as a “religious experience.”
Religious experiences are profound psychological experiences in which a person may be overwhelmed by a feeling of God’s love and even hear God’s voice or believe to have seen Him. In making sense of these kinds of experiences, American neuroscientist Andrew Newberg and colleagues argue that the mind has two effective systems, calming and arousal. When either of these systems is pushed to their extremes, through meditation or hyper-arousal—both of which can be achieved via religious services—they argue that it is dangerous for the body. Accordingly, the other system hits in, leading to alternative states of consciousness and intense psychological experiences.44 British biologist Richard Dawkins has suggested that they may be provoked by the way in which stress makes us highly instinctive, and thus prone to religious belief anyway. Dawkins also argues that we are also evolved to over-detect agency: as mentioned above, if we mistake a distant rock for a wolf, we have lost nothing, but if we make the opposite mistake, we may be killed. Accordingly, at times of very intense stress, we are much more likely to mistake some unidentified sound as the voice of God and, at the same time, find that our calming system would hit in. This would lead to an intense religious experience combined with feelings of relief and joy.45 Undergoing mild religious experiences—known as “spiritual” experiences—is about 0.3 heritable. Undergoing intense religious experiences is approximately 0.66 heritable.46 This high heritability might imply that the ability to undergo a religious experience is extremely beneficial, in evolutionary terms, because it combats stress and, due to its profound nature, keeps you low in negative feelings for a substantial period of time afterwards.
However, we must distinguish between the “religious experience” and the “conversion experience”—and also between being “religious,” being “hyper-religious,” and going through a phase of being intensely religious. American psychologist William James (1842-1910) distinguished between the religion of the “sick soul” and that of “healthy mindedness.” The religion of healthy mindedness is characterized by relatively mild religious experiences. The religion of the “sick soul,” however, is marked by a dramatic conversion experiences, which occur at times of intense stress.47 Those who lead religious revivals—people such as Billy Graham—can be regarded as constantly “hyper-religious.” As already noted, this is associated with either schizophrenia or with being a severely depressive personality. Psychological studies of those who lead religious revivals have found that most of them display evidence of these pathological traits. They require, for example, the absolute structure and order which fanatical religiousness provides in order to allay their anxiety and frequently undergo intense religious experiences.48 Such is the nature of revival “leaders.” It may be beneficial for a healthy society to be able to maintain a very small percentage of such lunatics, precisely because they are able to inspire fervent religiosity in other people and religiosity is traditionally a means of promoting ethnocentrism. In this regard, it has been noted that tribal shamans tend to the same kinds of psychological characteristics as modern-day charismatic leaders.49
But what about the followers, and those who become followers during a revival? What is their psychology? Religious revivals are characterized by the “conversion” type of religious experience, in which a person undergoes a kind of psychological breakdown and, to some extent, adopts a new identity, for example as a “Christian” or as “real Christian” in a way that they somehow were not prior to the revival.50 They, consequently, go through a transient phrase of hyper-religiosity. Transient hyper-religiosity is associated with high Neuroticism,51 while bipolar disorder and bouts of depression also predict periods of extreme religious fervor, as does schizophrenia.52 Schizophrenia, and its milder forms, is also elevated at times of stress, just as is anxiety.53 There is a range of severity to schizophrenia-type conditions. Mild symptoms are summarized as “schizoid personality.” This is characterized by anhedonia (the inability to experience joy) and apathy. More severe is “schizotypal personality,” where the schizoid symptoms are accompanied by social anxiety, paranoid ideation, unconventional or paranoid beliefs, and, sometimes, psychosis. Diagnosable schizophrenia is a particularly severe manifestation of these characteristics.54 Having undergone a conversion experience has been found to be associated with having been, prior to that experience, high in anxiety and other Neuroticism traits.55 When people suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress, which is associated with high Neuroticism, they can develop a very specific kind of religiosity known as “spiritual struggle” or “negative religious coping.” Those who undergo this believe that God is punishing them for their sins, plead for God to intervene in the world, and project hostility towards out-group members. “Positive religious coping” can cross over with this, insomuch as it involves conversion, but this also involves the belief that God has forgiven you and that you are purified of your sins.56
So, people who are high in Neuroticism—and even under the harsh Darwinian conditions prevalent until 1800, there would have been population variance in this trait—are more likely to become part of religious revivals. They will feel stress more acutely and will, accordingly, be more likely to become extremely religious in the aftermath of periods of intense societal distress. Females score higher than males in Neuroticism. For this reason alone, we would predict that females would play a noticeable part in religious revivals.57 Consistent with this, studies of religious revivals in the U.S. have found that “white and black women were among the most visible participants at religious revivals, where converts wept, wailed, writhed, and fainted as they received God’s grace.”58 Neuroticism tends to decrease with age in males. But in females, Neuroticism decreases with age until adolescence and at that point, it increases, possibly due to the adaptive need to worry about one’s children. This can be seen most obviously among university students, where females in particular tend to suffer mental health problems of various kinds that they will often have recovered from by the time they are in their mid-20s.59 Neuroticism, in women, begins to decline in early adulthood.60 For this reason, as well as due to their higher general religiousness, we would expect females in their mid-teens to mid-20s to be attracted to religious revivals. In line with this prediction, there is detailed data on those who “came forward” to receive God’s forgiveness during Billy Graham’s British rallies. In London, 65 percent were female and 50 percent were under the age of 19. In Glasgow, 71 percent were women and 73 percent were under the age of 30.61
Even those who are not sufficiently Neurotic to undergo religious experiences can be expected to be influenced by a religious revival if it appears to be sufficiently popular. Neuroticism predicts extrinsic religiousness, that is, religious outward conformity.62 People who are high in Neuroticism will fear being judged negatively or even being ostracized for failure to conform, meaning that they may fake religious fervor even if they don’t actually feel it. This means that religious revivals that become particularly prominent can envelop people who are far lower in Neuroticism than those who are, as they see it, “slain by the Holy Spirit.” Accordingly, popular revivals can generate a kind of group hysteria and thus appear far more popular than they really are. This is obvious when we consider how so many celebrities felt compelled to jump on the bandwagon of Black Lives Matter.
The Religion of Multiculturalism and Mental Health
So, with the nature of “religion” and “religious revivals” clear in our minds, we can now explore the “religious” nature of the Black Lives Matter protests. There are obvious parallels between 20th-century religious revivals—such as that that spear-headed by Billy Graham—and the Black Lives Matter revival. The leaders of the movement are extreme “liberals”—with this being clearly associated with mental instability, where conservatism and traditional religiosity are correlated with mental stability.63 The “revival” has taken place in the wake of a period of elevated mortality salience; in other words, it is a response to stress. Those who are drawn into it are politically liberal themselves, with this being associated with mental instability.64
In many respects, Multiculturalism can be argued to be a secular “replacement religion” for Christianity—and perhaps even a kind of Christian sect. The same argument has been made with regard to Marxism and even some kinds of Romantic Nationalism.
Traditional Christianity is based around a series of dogmas that you must accept in order to be regarded as a Christian and achieve salvation. These dogmas are sometimes logically incoherent—such as the Trinity—or require the acceptance of truth-claims that cannot be proved or are, on any reasonable basis, extraordinarily improbable. However, you signal your intellectual submission to the religious community by accepting these. This can be regarded as their purpose; they are tests of loyalty. In much the same way, Multiculturalism requires that you accept dogmas that are empirically inaccurate or patently nonsensical, such as that there are no race differences in intelligence or that everyone is “equal.”
2. “The Last Shall Be First.”
Christianity also tends towards idolizing the “marginalized.” It preaches that “the last shall be first” and encourages its followers to empower those who are supposedly marginalized, and humble themselves, embracing a kind of sacred poverty. Similarly, Marxism idolizes the dispossessed in the form of the “worker”; Romantic nationalism worships the “peasant”; and Multiculturalism, as espoused by Whites, idolizes non-Whites, and the more different they are—culturally and genetically—from Whites, the more they are worthy of reverence. There is evidence that humans—being evolved to tightly structured groups—have two fundamental instincts: one towards climbing the social hierarchy and the other towards equality, as groups that are relatively equal tend to avoid collapsing into discord.65 Thus, religions that preach “equality” can be highly psychologically attractive, especially to those who are not close to the top of the hierarchy or who fear they will not be able to get there. This is consistent with evidence that males who are physically strong—and thus who would have been more likely to ascend the prehistoric hierarchy via winning fights and being sexually selected for—are more likely to hold conservative views that specifically favor hierarchy and inequality.66
3. Self-Abasement and Guilt
The third key point that Multiculturalism has in common with Christianity, though not with pagan religions such as Hinduism, is the salience of “guilt.” In general, “guilt” and “shame” both function to make people “know their place,” and thus conform and behave in pro-social, cooperative ways. Accordingly, a group that adopts a religion imbued with these feelings to an optimum degree would be likely to out-compete other groups.
Christianity is a religion to which “guilt” is extremely important—“central to the biblical message” as one theologian has put it.67 According to Christian dogmas, humanity is “Fallen” as a consequence of its “Original Sin.” In other words, God is perfect and all-benevolent, whereas humanity is inherently sinful and bad, living in a sinful, Fallen world. Indeed, it was cast down into this world from Paradise as a punishment for its wickedness. The only way humanity can gain salvation and forgiveness is to admit how sinful it is and humbly worship God and follow the commands of His Church. Worldly success is, in a sense, something for which you should feel guilty—unless you are certain that God has blessed you with this success—because it implies that you are insufficiently humble; you are failing to sufficiently repent for your wickedness.
In much the same fashion, the Church of Multiculturalism tells its adherents that they are burdened by the Original Sin of Whiteness. White people are presumed to have treated people of other races in abominable ways, with images of slavery, the Holocaust, Jim Crow, and the like acting as symbols of their primal deeds. Whites must repent for their Original Sin by empowering those who are not White, such that racial “Equality” is attained. In the same way that wealthy people in Christian societies are “privileged” and must engage in charitable works to assuage their “guilt,” White people have the “privilege” of being “White”—not only being wealthy but enjoying that wealth at the expense of non-Whites, whom their ancestors brutalized, enslaved, or murdered. “Privilege” is the source of “guilt,” which must be assuaged through acts of humility and penance, potentially including not producing White children and adopting non-Whites instead.
Shame, though less obvious, is also germane to Christianity and its replacement religions. Those who refused to conform to Christianity could be “shamed” as devil-worshippers who might bring God’s anger on the community, and shunned accordingly. Those who do not “take the knee” for George Floyd or who remain silent, instead of publicly stating their support for Black Lives Matter, can be shamed as possible “racists;” with this term of abuse implying that you are not an adherent to the religious community. You are “Other.” This is because membership of the community is based around adherence to dogmas, not around blood-bonds, as is the case with pagan religions and with many forms of nationalism.68
A New Kind of Awakening
The key difference between the Church of Multiculturalism and Christianity is that there is no god—no non-physical existence. Moreover, Black Lives Matter represents an extremely “spiteful” form of religiosity, in the sense that there doesn’t appear to be any “forgiveness.” In Billy Graham rallies, you could “step forward” and be forgiven for your sins. In Black Lives Matter rallies, it doesn’t matter how many times you “take the knee,” there can be no forgiveness for your sin of being White. You must simply learn to live with the guilt, slightly assuaging it ever so often by campaigning to empower non-Whites.
As previously discussed, we can conceive of two distinct kinds of religion: those which are selected for under centuries of Darwinian conditions—that tend to involve the collective worship of a moral god—and those which deviate from this norm. Due to the way in which mental health and religiousness were co-selected under Darwinian conditions as we have explored, this “traditional religiosity” is now positively associated with mental health, while deviations from it—such as New Age affectations or belief in the paranormal—are associated with anxiety and depression, either on-going or periodic. People who are high in mental instability can be expected to become highly religious in the wake of a crisis and being low in traditional religiosity as well as fervently left-wing correlates with being high in mental instability
Accordingly, we would expect such people—self-identified “liberals”—to become extremely religious (in terms of their religious deviation) in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, and this is what we appear to be seeing. In previous situations of gravity, the overwhelming majority of the British population was Christian and believed, to varying degrees, in its doctrines. This would have meant that the relationship between being a traditional Christian and mental stability would have been much weaker than is now the case. It also meant that the revivals were Christian in nature, because this was the religious belief even of the kind of mentally unstable people who tend to undergo intense religious experiences. As already noted, a specific form of religiosity has been found to manifest among mentally unstable people suffering from high levels of stress—“Spiritual Struggle.” Those who felt the Holy Spirit during this revival would be, in general, relatively high in Neuroticism, something that would be soothed, temporarily, by their religious experience. Usually, their Christian zeal would be temporary. It would no longer be psychologically required once the period of stress was over and recovered from, by which time the factor that was elevating their anxiety to intolerable levels would have dissipated.
In 2020, especially for younger people, their religion is Multiculturalism and not Christianity. Christianity is now the religion of a shrinking minority. Consequently, we would expect some variant on the kind of revival outlined above to occur in the wake of Covid-19, especially among such people. Its leaders, as with Christian revivals, would be mentally unstable people. However, many of the “followers,” caught up in the revival, would be prone to mental instability and would be going through a particularly acute phase of anxiety. As with a Christian revival, these feelings would be alleviated by the collective experience—in this instance of “Black Lives Matter”—in which they would feel a sense of certainty that they were morally superior; that they were better than most (“racist”) people; and that they were part of creating a paradise on Earth. Once the anxiety-reducing feelings this induced wore off, such people would no longer be subject to acute mortality salience and then they would return to being much less fervent believers in the Church of Multiculturalism.
We would expect any such revival to be more pronounced among Multiculturalists than among Christians. Social Justice Warriors are irreligious and liberal, both of which correlate with mental instability. “Christians” are conservative and religious, both associated with mental stability. Accordingly, in a world in which remnant Christianity is associated with sound mindedness, a Multiculturalist revival in the wake of a pandemic becomes far more probable than a Christian one—though there still may be a Christian one of some kind in the near future. We would expect this Multiculturalist revival to be elevated among young people—because people go through a period of relatively high mental instability when they are young adults—and, in particular, among young females, because females are more religious than males and they are more prone to depression and anxiety. Multiculturalism is the “new religion”—the “new morality”—and thus females would be evolved to want to signal the extent of their adherence to it, being ultimately psychologically adapted to polygamous societies in which they must compete for the highest status males by strongly signaling their religiosity and sexual faithfulness.69 Females are also evolved to a patriarchal society in which decisions tend to be made for them by their fathers and husbands. With the breakdown of patriarchy, it has been argued that we would expect females—especially young females—to make particularly maladaptive decisions.70 These would include strongly aligning with a religion that seeks to destroy their ethnic group and effectively encouragers them to be childless.
It should be noted that, in relatively religious societies, females tend to be more politically conservative than males, seemingly because females are more religious and the religion promotes “traditional” values as the will of God. However, when the influence of traditional religiousness breaks down, the female propensity towards higher empathy—and thus leftism and anti-traditionalism—begins to manifest. In 1992, in Britain, women born in the 1920s were more conservative than men of the same age. However, women born in the 1960s were less conservative than males of the same age.71 These younger women, no longer as influenced by traditional religious ideas, tend to promote leftist ones—including altruism towards competing ethnic groups—with a kind of religious zeal. One commentator astutely termed them “The New Church Ladies,” evoking the subterranean religious quality to so much of contemporary female discourse.72
Traditional religiousness took the female propensity to strongly believe in God and engage in religious worship and focused this into an adaptive form of religiosity in which God promoted group-selected values. With the breakdown of this religion, we are left with females tending to be religiously fervent and high in generalized empathy and thus attracted to Multiculturalism and leftism. Females are also higher than males in Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Neuroticism, and, thus in social conformity.73 So, for this reason as well, we would expect them to be more heavily involved in the New Church into which younger females have been inculcated.
It has been observed that highly educated young people—those with post-graduate degrees—are significantly over-represented among Black Lives Matter activists.74 One possible explanation for this—beyond the fact that university Humanities and Social Science departments are increasingly indoctrination factories for leftist ideas75—is that there is a positive relationship between Neuroticism and academic success at university, especially when this is combined with high Conscientiousness (impulse control and rule-following).76 This is possibly because anxiety acts as a motivator towards diligence or because Neuroticism means you desire greater certainty about the nature of the world and believe you can attain this through higher education. In that Neuroticism predicts extrinsic religiousness77—that is, outward religious conformity—we would expect non-SJWs who were relatively high in these traits to be drawn into this dominant, public revival due to their fear of not conforming, leading them to compete to strongly outwardly conform.
Anarchic Religious Awakenings
The other difference between the British religious awakenings in the 20th century and Black Lives Matter is the anarchy involved: BLM activists flagrantly breaking the law, engaging in dangerous behavior, rioting, inciting perpetual disorder (“No Justice, No Peace”), and engaging in iconoclasm by toppling statues and desecrating memorials. In this sense, a clearer comparison can be found in the Peasants War that took place in German-speaking states in the 1520s, in the early days of the Reformation. There are multiple reasons why the Reformation began when it did, but one of them was a period of elevated mortality salience. There had been severe famine in Germany between 1515 and 1520.78
Reports indicate that violent Protestant mobs would strip Catholic Churches of their valuables and destroy their idols. As with Black Lives Matter, educated people were heavily over-represented among early Protestant iconoclasts—they were mainly the so-called “middling sort.”79 The Protestant leaders would oppose iconoclasm, publicly stating that idols should only be removed with permission from the proper authorities. But, as has occurred in Britain in 2020, the Swiss authorities preemptively removed icons as a way of halting public disorder and also as way of appeasing Protestant leaders. In June 1524, all Zurich churches were closed in order to prevent a maelstrom.80
In other words, Black Lives Matter is a particularly pronounced religious revival. In the 1520s, this occurred, in part, due to particularly difficult conditions. In 2020, it may be that the cause was moderately difficult conditions plus a growing percentage of young people who, partly for genetic reasons underpinned by increasing mutational load, increasingly suffer from depression and anxiety and, therefore, cannot psychologically cope with what would have been historically regarded as quite normal levels of mortality salience. Contemporary young people are increasingly in a situation of “evolutionary mismatch” where—under the influence of modern, anti-traditional ideologies, over-parenting, and education— they are decreasingly socialized as children in the manner that was the norm under harsh Darwinian conditions. This has been shown to lead to severe behavioral problems in non-human animals,81 and we will explore this issue in more detail below.
Furthermore, far superior communications—social media and instantaneous reactions to events around the world—mean that what may otherwise have been isolated patches of revivalism have been globalized, impacting much larger numbers of people. And there may also be an extent to which these riots are in the interests of some powerful individuals, who are themselves fervent adherents to Multiculturalism or who desire a subservient population that will not challenge them. If the population is depressed and demoralized, this subservience is clearly better accomplished. Accordingly, the riots—which could be crushed if so desired—are permitted to run their course. It is as if ordinary people are being told: “Look what we can allow to happen to you if you elect the wrong people or vote the wrong way in a referendum.” Afraid of offending the righteous mob—and their high-level sympathizers—even leaders who oppose leftist disorder dare not act decisively. Again, comparisons to the iconoclasm of the early English Reformation leap to mind. Iconoclasts were permitted to “get away with it” during the periods when the Protestant faction, most notably led by Thomas Cromwell (c.1485-1540), wielded the most influence at Court.82
All of this leads us to a final question. How have we reached a situation where so many people—including many in positions of power—wish to destroy their own extended kinship group?
BLM and the Spiteful Mutants
Christianity, even the zealous kind of the Reformation, was an adaptive form of religiosity. Thus, a key part of it is “forgiveness”—after publicly confessing your sins and wavering of faith. With the breakdown of Darwinian selection, we see an increasing deviation from this religious evolutionary norm, including religions that are maladaptive, because they are ultimately nihilistic and lack doctrines that allow a person’s highly negative feelings during times of stress to be fully expunged. This is what we see with Black Lives Matter—the ultimate logic of which is that Whites should simply feel perpetual shame throughout their lives with no hope of it being alleviated, other than in a very mild and brief way via “taking the knee.”
Young people have been inculcated with this maladaptive religion due, in part, to the breakdown of traditional Christianity, which, like all religions that survived under harsh Darwinian conditions, tended to take behavior that was adaptive in terms of group selection and turn this into the will of God. As discussed above, as child mortality collapsed, we had more and more people who would not have survived under harsher conditions—due to their high mutational load—who had mutations of the mind that caused to hold beliefs that would be highly maladaptive if held by even a small percentage of the group—anti-natalism being only the most obvious. Due to our being a highly eusocial species—that is, interacting in a “hive mind”—we are heavily influenced by those around us. In this way, it has been found that depression can spread like a contagion. If you are around a person who is depressed then you are more likely to become depressed yourself, a condition which is negatively associated with fertility.83 As a result, these mutants— spiteful mutants84—helped to spread their maladaptive ways of thinking even to non-mutants, gradually undermining adaptive institutions, such as traditional churches, and replacing them with their Church of Multiculturalism, a church which is now clearly adhered to even by the leadership of the Church of England.85 Having taken over the state’s organs of power, such as the education system and the media, they could then inculcate young people into the New Church, alter the evolutionarily adaptive methods of socialization traditionally imposed on them, and push them—and with them, the entire super-organism—to think and behave increasingly contra to their genetic interests.
This became possible when a “tipping point” is reached, whereby about 25 percent of the population advocated anti-traditional ideas. Experiments have shown that when this happens, people perceive the new worldview as the way forward and begin to abandon the old one en masse.86 With our evolution to obedience and following the leader and the mob, this can sometimes result in a misfiring of our adaptations such that we start to engage in behavior which is not in our evolutionary interests. This is particularly likely to be the case if we are subject to “evolutionary mismatch;” if we are placed in an ecology to which we are not evolved. We are evolved to a pre-industrial ecology, so we can expect to find ourselves increasingly maladapted as the ecology increasingly deviates from this. We will engage in behavior which would have been adaptive under previous conditions – such as following the crowd – but this will be decreasingly adaptive as the crowd is increasingly evolutionarily mismatched, mutated and influenced by spiteful mutants.
In 1954, this tipping point had not yet been reached in Britain. People forced themselves, for fear of ostracism, through so-called “effortful control,”87 to believe in traditional Christianity, meaning that the revival was Christian and adaptive in nature. Around 1970, the tipping point was reached. This is demonstrated by the fact that evidence of mutational load – in the form of autism, which is associated with paternal age – did not predict atheism in the 1950s, but by the 1970s it did predict atheism. By the 1970s, in the U.S., having an older father predicted atheism in a way that had not previously been the case. This is because Christianity was so strong during the earlier period that autistics, who tend not to be religious as we have already noted, forced themselves to conform to the dominant religiosity. By the latter period, the tipping point had been reached, so they no longer needed to conform.88
The Toppling of Evolutionary Success
The Church of Multiculturalism, and its Black Lives Matter conversion rallies, is a Church with “spiteful mutants” as its priestly class. Under harsh Darwinian conditions, only those with adaptive cognitive biases survived childhood, because maladaptive cognitive biases were under-pinned by mutation, and those with high mutational load would likely perish before reaching adulthood. With the extreme relaxation of these conditions, these “spiteful mutants” walk among us in significant numbers. These are people who are programmed to behave in a way that is highly maladaptive in evolutionary terms—which results in the destruction of group and even individual fitness—and to persuade others to do likewise. All of the doctrines they advocate involve, if accepted, essentially being a “failure as an organism”:
life has no meaning so you may as well not have children;
put the interests of other ethnic groups above your own and so reduce the extent to which your own genes are passed on;
have few or no children to assist non-human animals and their genetic interests over your own.
The toppling of “racist” statues by the Black Lives Matter mob can be perceived as tearing down the “old gods,” those whom European people have venerated as heroes. These statues have traditionally been erected to honor highly group-selected people who have promoted the genetic interests of Europeans by expanding their territory and leading their ethnic group to victory over rivals. In a sense, the statues are sacred, they are idols; objects of worship. To tear them down is a way of asserting that the religion that they represented no longer has any power, is no longer sacred, simply because the idols that embody it can successfully humiliated.
In 1520, Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes (1485-1547) destroyed every Aztec idol that he could and desecrated the temples. He noticed that it left the Aztecs demoralized and less able to put up a fight.89 So, this leaves the worshipers in a state of confusion in which the previously certain, uniquely real system by which they made sense of the world—and in which they played an integral and positive part—is an under assault. They feel confused because they have got used to this system, and the comforting presence of these statues, and they feel demoralized and anxious. Any significant change can cause this by virtue of elevating anxiety about the unknown.90
This, alongside the symbolism of the system that gives their life meaning being attacked, leads them to feel depressed and looking for new certainties. But what if the certainties offered are nihilistic and tell you that you are inherently evil and should debase and even destroy yourself, never able to be forgiven for your and your ancestors’ sins? This is the ultimate message of the Death Cult that is the Church of Multiculturalism. It is, therefore, no coincidence that it attracts the same psychological types who are attracted to literal suicide cults. Indeed, a Black Lives Matter Suicide Cult, in which young White women kill themselves to repent for their racist sins, would not be beyond the realms of possibility.
Black Lives Matter, “Herstory,” accessed June 20, 2020. ↩︎
See Edward Dutton, “The Return of Heresy,” The National Policy Institute, March 26, 2020, accessed June 20, 2020. ↩︎
Ara Norenzayan and Azim F. Sharif, “The Origin and Evolution of Religious Pro-Sociality,” Science, 322 (2008): 58-62. ↩︎
Edward Dutton, Guy Madison, and Curtis Dunkel, “The Mutant Says in His Heart, ‘There Is No God’: The Rejection of Collective Religiosity Centred Around the Worship of Moral Gods is Associated with High Mutational Load,” Evolutionary Psychological Science, 4 (2018): 233-244. ↩︎
Rüdiger Vaas, “God, Gains and Genes,” in The Biological Evolution of Religious Mind and Behavior, eds. Eckart Voland and Wulf Schiefenhövel (New York: Springer, 2009). ↩︎
Ara Norenzayan and Azim Sharif, “The Origin and Evolution of Religious Pro-Sociality,” Science, 322 (2008): 58-62. ↩︎
Lewis Ray Rambo. Understanding Religious Conversion (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1993). ↩︎
Peter Halama and Mária Lačná, “Personality Change Following Religious Conversion: Perceptions of Converts and their Close Acquaintances, Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 8 (2011): 757-768. ↩︎
Peter Hills, Leslie J. Francis, Michael Argylea, Chris J. Jackson, “Primary Personality Trait Correlates of Religious Practice and Orientation, Personality and Individual Differences, 36 (2004): 61-73. ↩︎
See Dutton, Madison and Dunkel, “The Mutant Says in His Heart, ‘There Is No God,’” op cit.↩︎
Yael Sela, Todd K. Shackelford, and James R. Liddle, “When Religion Makes It Worse: Religiously Motivated Violence as a Sexual Selection Weapon,” in The Attraction of Religion: A New Evolutionary Psychology of Religion, eds. D. Jason Sloane and James A. Van Slyke (London: Bloomsbury, 2015). ↩︎
Frank Salter, On Genetic Interests (New Brunswick, NJ: Transactions, 2006). ↩︎
Ross Hammond and Robert Axelrod, “The Evolution of Ethnocentric Behavior,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 50 (2006): 1-11. ↩︎
Colin Holbrook, Keise Izuma, Choi Deblieck, Daniel M. Fessler, and Marco Iacoboni, “Neuromodulation of Group Prejudice and Religious Belief,” Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 11 (2016): 387-394. ↩︎
Darren Sherkat, “Sexuality and Religious Commitment in the United States: An Empirical Examination,” Journal for the Scientiﬁc Study of Religion, 41 (2002): 313-323. ↩︎
Edward Dutton and Guy Madison, “Why Do Finnish Men Marry Thai Women but Finnish Women Marry British Men? Cross-National Marriages in a Modern Industrialized Society Exhibit Sex-Dimorphic Sexual Selection According to Primordial Selection Pressures,” Evolutionary Psychological Science, 3 (2017): 1-9. ↩︎
Edward Dutton and M.A. Woodley of Menie. At Our Wits’ End: Why We’re Becoming Less Intelligent and What It Means for the Future (Exeter: Imprint Academic, 2018), Ch. 3. ↩︎
Hammond and Axelrod, “The Evolution of Ethnocentric Behavior,” op cit. ↩︎
Rachel A. Grant and V. Tamara Montrose, “It’s A Man’s World: Mate Guarding and the Evolution of Patriarchy,” Mankind Quarterly 58 (2018): 384-418. ↩︎
Pascal Boyer, Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought (New York: Basic Book, 2001). ↩︎
Marc Galanter. Cults: Faith, Healing and Coercion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999). ↩︎
Dutton, Madison, and Dunkel, “The Mutant Says in His Heart, ‘There Is No God,’” op cit.↩︎
Tony Volk and Jeremy Atkinson, “Is Child Death the Crucible of Human Evolution?” Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, 2 (2008): 103-116. ↩︎
Matthew Sarraf, Michael A. Woodley of Menie, and Colin Feltham, Modernity and Cultural Decline: A Biobehavioral Perspective (Basingstoke, Hants: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) ↩︎
Dutton, Madison, and Dunkel, “The Mutant Says in His Heart, ‘There Is No God,’” op cit.↩︎
Pippa Catterall. Labour and the Free Churches, 1918-1939: Radicalism, Righteousness and Religion (London: Bloomsbury, 2006), 94. ↩︎
Callum G. Brown Religion and Society in Twentieth Century Britain (London: Routledge, 2006), 92.It’s worth mentioning that 1917 saw publication of first revision of the Scofield Reference Bible, which was deeply influential on the development of evangelical Christianity, apocalyptic Christianity, and Christian-Zionism. ↩
Stanley C. Griffin. A Forgotten Revival: East Anglia and Northeast Scotland, 1921 (Bromley: Day One Publications, 1992). ↩︎
Matthew Backholer. Revival Fires and Awakenings, Thirty-Six Visitations of the Holy Spirit (ByFaith Media, 2009). ↩︎
Andrew Newberg, Eugene G. D’Aquili, and Vince Rause, Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief (New York: Ballantine Books, 2002). ↩︎
Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (London: Bantam Books, 2006), 116. ↩︎
Matt Bradshaw and Christopher G. Ellison, “Do Genetic Factors Influence Religious Life? Findings From a Behavior Genetic Analysis of Twin Siblings, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 47 (2008): 529-544. ↩︎
William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1902). ↩︎
William Sargent. Battle for the Mind: A Physiology of Conversion and Brainwashing (Cambridge, MA: International Society for Human Knowledge, 1997). ↩︎
See John M. Ingham and Denis Feeney. Psychological Anthropology Reconsidered (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996). ↩︎
Thomas Hywel Hughes, Revival: The New Psychology of Religious Experience (London: Routledge, 1933). ↩︎
Hills, Francis, Argylea, Jackson, “Primary Personality Trait Correlates of Religious Practice and Orientation,” op cit.↩︎
Cheryl Corcoran, Lilianne Mujica-Parodi, Scott Yale, et al., “Could Stress Cause Psychosis in Individuals Vulnerable to Schizophrenia?” CNS Spectrum, 7 (2002): 33-42. ↩︎
Jo Hodgekins, “Schizotypy and Psychopathology,” in Schizoptypy: New Dimensions, eds. Oliver J. Mason and Gordon Claridge (London: Routledge, 2015), 184. ↩︎
Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi and Michael Argyle, The Social Psychology of Religion (London: Routledge, 1975). ↩︎
Crystal L. Park, Philip H Smith, Sharon Y. Lee, et al., “Positive and Negative Religious/Spiritual Coping and Combat Exposure as Predictors of Posttraumatic Stress and Perceived Growth in Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 9 (2017): 13-20. ↩︎
Christopher Soto, Oliver John, Samuel Gosling, and Jeff Potter, “Age Differences in Personality Traits From 10 to 65: Big Five Domains and Facets in a Large Cross-Sectional Sample,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100 (2011): 330-348. ↩︎
Kathleen Brown, “The History of Women in the United States to 1865,” in Women’s History in Global Perspective, ed. Bonnie G. Smith, (Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2004), 264. ↩︎
Paul E. Jenkins, Imogen Ducker, Rebecca Gooding, et al., “Anxiety and Depression in a Sample of UK College Students: A Study of Prevalence, Comorbidity, and Quality of Life,” Journal of American College Health (2020) DOI:10.1080/07448481.2019.1709474. ↩︎
Soto, John, Gosling, and Potter, “Age Differences in Personality Traits from 10 to 65,” op cit.↩︎
Hills, Francis, Argylea, Jackson, “Primary Personality Trait Correlates of Religious Practice and Orientation,” op cit.↩︎
Emil Kirkegaard, “Mental Illness and the Left,” Preprint (2020) doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.25598.33605. ↩︎
Sarraf, Woodley of Menie, and Feltham, Modernity and Cultural Decline, op cit.↩︎
Jerome H. Barkow, “Beneath New Culture is Old Psychology: Gossip and Social Stratification, in The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture, eds. Jerome H. Barkow, John Tooby, and Leda Cosmides (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992). ↩︎
Michael Bang Petersen and Lasse Laustsen, “Upper-Body Strength and Political Egalitarianism: Twelve Conceptual Replications,” Political Psychology, (2018). DOI: 10.1111/pops.12505. ↩︎
Timothy Tennant, Theology in the Context of World Christianity (Zondervan, 2004), 93. ↩︎
See Alain de Benoist, On Being a Pagan (Atlanta, GA: Ultra, 2004). ↩︎
See David Buss. The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating (New York: Basic Books, 1989). ↩︎
Menelaos Apostolou, Sexual Selection Under Parental Choice: The Evolution of Human Mating Behavior (Hove, UK: Psychology Press, 2014). ↩︎
Pippa Norris, “Mobilising the ‘Women’s Vote’: The Gender Generation Gap in Voting Behaviour,” Parliamentary Affairs, 49 (1996): 333-342. ↩︎
Jim Goad. The New Church Ladies: The Extremely Uptight World of Social Justice (Stone Mountain, GA: Obnoxious Books, 2017). ↩︎
Ronald W. Johnson and Joan MacDonnell, “The Relationship Between Conformity and Male and Female Attitudes toward Women,” Journal of Social Psychology, 1 (1974): 155-156. ↩︎
See: Noah Carl, Can Intelligence Explain the Overrepresentation of Liberals and Leftists in American Academia?” Intelligence, 58 (2015): 181-193. ↩︎
James McKenzie, Mahdad Taghavi-Khonsary, Gary Tindell, “Neuroticism and Academic Achievement: The Furneaux Factor as a Measure of Academic Rigor,” Personality and Individual Differences, 29 (2000): 3-11. ↩︎
Hills, Francis, Argyle, and Jackson, “Primary Personality Trait Correlates of Religious Practice and Orientation,” op cit.↩︎
Andrew Cunningham and Ole Peter Grell, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Religion, War, Famine and Death in Reformation Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 15. ↩︎
Lee Palmer Wandel. Voracious Idols and Violent Hands: Iconoclasm in Reformation Zurich, Strasbourg, and Basel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 14. ↩︎
Bridget Heal, “Visual and Material Culture,” in The Oxford Handbook of the Protestant Reformations, ed. Ulinka Rublack (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), 603. ↩︎
See Michael A. Woodley of Menie, Matthew A. Sarraf, Radomir N. Pestow, and Heitor B. F. Fernandes, “Social Epistasis Amplifies the Fitness Costs of Deleterious Mutations, Engendering Rapid Fitness Decline Among Modernized Populations,” Evolutionary Psychological Science, 3 (2017): 181-191; and John Calhoun, “Death Squared: The Explosive Growth and Demise of a Mouse Population,” Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, 66 (1973): 80-88. ↩︎
Julie Spraggon, Puritan Iconoclasm During the English Civil War (Woodbridge, Suffolk, The Boydell Press, 2003), 4. ↩︎
T.E. Joiner, “Contagious Depression: Existence, Specificity to Depressed Symptoms, and the Role of Reassurance Seeking,” Journal of Personal and Social Psychology 67 (1994): 287-296. ↩︎
M. A. Woodley of Menie, M. Sarraf, R. Pestow and H. Fernandes, H. Social Epistasis Amplifies the Fitness Costs of Deleterious Mutations, Engendering Rapid Fitness Decline Among Modernized Populations. Evolutionary Psychological Science, 3 (2017): 181-191. ↩︎
Damon Centola, Joshua Becker, Devon Brackbill, Andrea Baronchelli, “Experimental Evidence for Tipping Points in Social Convention, Science, 360 (2018): 1116-1119. ↩︎
K. MacDonald. Effortful Control, Explicit Processing, and the Regulation of Human Evolved Predispositions. Psychological Review, 11 (2008): 1012-1031. ↩︎
M.A. Woodley of Menie, S. Kanazawa, J. Pallesen, and M. Sarraf. Paternal Age Is Negatively Associated With Religious Behavior in a Post-60s But Not a Pre-60s US Birth Cohort: Testing a Prediction From the Social Epistasis Amplification Model. Journal of Religion and Health, (2020). doi: 10.1007/s10943-020-00987-9 ↩︎
Victor Davis Hanson. Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise to Western Power (New York: Knopf Doubleday, 2007), 175. ↩︎
Ara Norenzayan and Azim F. Shariff, “The Origin and Evolution of Religious Pro-Sociality, Science, 322 (2008): 58-62. ↩︎
Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from the forthcoming book “American Extremist: The Psychology of Political Extremism”. An unfortunate consequence of the medicalization and naturalizing of the mind (and the body)…
Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from the forthcoming book “American Extremist: The Psychology of Political Extremism”.
An unfortunate consequence of the medicalization and naturalizing of the mind (and the body) has been to view cognitive dysfunctions and personality disorders almost exclusively in terms of biological causes. In those situations where thinkers dare to look beyond the biological, the tendency to consider environmental and even political causes will emerge. So too, will these theorists turn towards explanations that emphasize various technological and cultural innovations (the omnipresence of visual and auditory stimuli), narcissistic industries (the arts, including fashion, music, and cinema), and the demands that changing work environments have on psychomotility), share in contributing to the phenomenon of human psycho-social dysfunction. To the credit of such thinkers, new disciplines have emerged in the last century to address these problems. However, this too has proven insufficient. This is not to say that theories of physical trauma, congenital disturbances of neurobiological processes, rapidly changing technological and environmental demands, and considerations relating to the individual’s political circumstance are not significant, but should we consider the explosion of mental health problems in industrialized and modernized societies – in particular over the last quarter century – as well as our failure to treat persistent psychiatric conditions, then we must admit that something is awry in our analysis. Thomas Szasz wrote of the myth of mental illness in 1974, but in this work I would like to discuss myth and mental illness.
Medicalization of the Mind
The how of human behavior throughout most of our history has been relegated to the domain of religion, in particular through the use of myth and parable to convey truths about our nature, and as such, to provide archetypes or models which we can then internalize and embody in our actions. Throughout our history these archetypes have provided the form for consciousness (we could also call that ‘personality’), and the use of myth and parable has served as a kind of moral and ethical education. During that time, we regarded these societal tools with great care and as such they were not easily dismissed by past regimes; when new mythical systems were adopted, almost always for the purpose of political consolidation and expansion, the most successful societies either retained significant features of the existing system, and if pressed, wiped out any trace of their existence (including the people who held on to them). What we see in our current situation is a covering, an overlaying, of the existing mythic and parabolic foundation upon which America was founded. An analogue to this may be found in Christopher Caldwell’s recent book The Age of Entitlement, where he pointed out that America is presently divided between the founding constitutional document and its mid-twentieth century legal replacement (brought about by the civil rights movement); we are not only contending with dueling legal understandings, but dual and incompatible understandings of our own mythical, historical, and parabolic origins.
Stepping aside from the technical and historical implications of that statement and moving directly to its psychological consequences, we can say that perhaps to a greater extent than people are a product of their race, ethnicity, or geographical origin, they are the result of their mythological and parabolic inheritance. If a people can be ripped from their inherited narratives, which are best understood as a true collective fiction or ideology, or merely have their narratives re-written in a way that is disempowering, then they necessarily become psychologically vulnerable to the slings and arrows of malevolent narratives and cognitive colonization. New narratives emerge which provide a different set of ethical and moral codes, which, as we can plainly see, do not foster the development of agency, maturity, and eusocial intimacy. Rather, they engender quite the opposite.
Moreover, such people become alienated from their own identities, the result of which is a kind of false consciousness and the development of an othered self-concept. Natural instincts honed over generations of natural and sexual selection thus become problematized. Conformity to a set of mythical and evolutionary behaviors, themselves finely tuned and highly adaptive are now indicators of repression, trauma, or worse, fascist tendencies. Seen in this light, mental illness can be understood as the result of a conflict between a dysgenic mythos and the natural psychological tendencies which seek realization within an orderly mental framework. While it is not ideal to describe the resulting psychological deficits using the language of mental illness (a concept so bound up in pseudo-medical and pseudo-scientific complications as to be unwieldy in helping us to achieve greater clarity), understood in its conventional sense it does give us a point of discursive origin – the dysfunction of human thought and action. Operating from the insights afforded to us by narrative theory – stated simply, the idea that storytelling is an essential component of human cognition – we would be better served to work with a parabolic and mythological conception of psychological dis-ease.
In short, the subversion of religious, national, and ethnic mythos grants a tremendous capacity for political and social control. Much of contemporary discourse is itself a fight over the rights to our foundational myths, so that they may be used to combat the social and political ills of our time – namely racism, anti-Semitism, fascism, inequality, misogyny, colonialism, imperialism, and homophobia (to name a few). One such example of this contest for cultural supremacy may be found in the work of Donna Zuckerberg who wrote the book Not All Dead White Men, partly with the intention of de-fanging classic texts (such as those of the Stoics) who, in her view, served as a legitimating force that aided far-right misogyny. In a 2018 interview with The Guardian, Zuckerberg was quoted as saying,
“The ancient world was deeply misogynistic – it was a time when there was no word for rape, feminism did not exist and women’s actions were determined by male relatives.”
Other choice quotes from the same interview bemoaned the fact that white supremacists and racists:
“…long appropriated the history, literature and myth of the ancient world to their advantage. Borrowing the symbols of these cultures, as the Nazi party did in the 1940s, can be a powerful declaration that you are the inheritor of western culture and civilisation”; that these texts were being “distorted and stripped of context”;
And that furthermore,
“Classics are wrought with histories and narratives of oppression and exclusion.”
While universities make progressive attempts to broaden the canon so students aren’t simply reading one dead white man after another,
“the manosphere rebel against this. They see themselves as the guardians of western civilisation and the defenders of its cultural legacy.”
One last statement, simply to punctuate the point,
“By quoting Marcus Aurelius – as Steve Bannon is known to often do – Red Pillers perpetuate the idea that they, white men, are the intellectual authority under threat from women and people of colour.”
We can find countless examples of this phenomenon, though I won’t go into quite as exhaustive an investigation here (but a few more will further illuminate the point I have already made). In her 1976 work, The Laugh of the Medusa, Feminist theorist Helene Cixous reinterpreted the Perseus myth as an expression of male fragility and terror. In her own words:
“Too bad for them if they fall apart upon discovering that women aren’t men, or that the mother doesn’t have [a penis]. But isn’t this fear convenient for them? Wouldn’t the worst be, isn’t the worst, in truth, that women aren’t castrated, that they have only to stop listening to the Sirens (for the Sirens were men) for history to change its meaning? You only have to look at the Medusa straight on to see her. And she’s not deadly. She’s beautiful and she’s laughing. Men say that there are two unrepresentable things: death and the feminine sex. That’s because they need femininity to be associated with death; it’s the jitters that gives them a hard-on! for themselves! They need to be afraid of us. Look at the trembling Perseus moving backward toward us, clad in apotropes. What lovely backs! Not another minute to lose. Let’s get out of here.”
A pioneering moment in what would later develop into the discipline of Queer Theology, Hugh William Montefiore wrote in 1967 of Jesus Christ’s obvious homosexuality. In the paper titled Jesus, the Revelation of God, Montefiore wrote,
“Men usually remain unmarried for three reasons: either because they cannot afford to marry or there are no girls to marry (neither of these factors need have deterred Jesus); or because it is inexpedient for them to marry in the light of their vocation (we have already ruled this out during the “hidden years” of Jesus’ life); or because they are homosexual in nature, in as much as women hold no special attraction for them. The homosexual explanation is one which we must not ignore.”
Bishop Hugh William Montefiore, author of “Jesus, the Revelation of God”.
Saint Sebastian, the early Christian saint and martyr who was killed during Diocletian’s persecution of Christians has since enjoyed a second life as a symbol for the pain of closeted homosexuals. Richard A. Kaye wrote that
“Contemporary gay men have seen in Sebastian at once a stunning advertisement for homosexual desire (indeed, a homoerotic ideal), and a prototypical portrait of a tortured closet case.”
The 1619 Project, begun by New York Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones (and which recently was awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary), is another such example of narrative-based political action heavily dependent on myth as a means for influencing thought and action. The project argued, among other things, that the American Revolution was fought to preserve the institution of slavery on the freshly settled continent. While I do not intend to rebut the arguments and reinterpretations presented in this paragraph, they do serve to underscore my position – myths make the people. Ayn Rand was alleged to have remarked positively at the release of the 1977 television series, Roots, arguing that it was an important work which provided African-Americans with a sense of myth and history, having lost this connection as a result of the slave trade. Clearly we can see what we may call mythic competition, as the story of the African slaves has been transported from a peripheral, though integral, part of American history to the front-and-center position it currently enjoys.
To quote Derrida from his lecture “Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences” (who in turn was quoting Levi-Strauss),
“The myth and the musical work thus appear as orchestra conductors whose listeners are the silent performers. If it be asked where the real focus of the work is to be found, it must be replied that its determination is impossible. Music and mythology bring man face to face with virtual objects whose shadow alone is actual…. Myths have no authors”.
And because myths have no authors, they can be seen as part of the commons – belonging to the public domain – and therefore subject to an unending sequence of reappropriations. An unwillingness to secure a ‘rightful’ interpretation, or at least designating an interpretative or priestly class of sufficient loyalty, thus opens the populace up to powerful and unrelenting psychological manipulation. Not all political power comes from the barrel of a gun; often we find the pen to be just as mighty as the pistol.
The appropriation of myth has powerful implications for the development of a secure identity. Mythical reevaluations are to large degree the unavoidable consequence of both cultural evolution and involution; the more a people migrate from their formative circumstances, the greater is the need for their myths and parables to be recontextualized so they may make sense of new challenges and circumstances. There may be a political dimension to this process or it may reflect simple pragmatic necessities, sometimes both at once. In our present situation it is difficult to deny the political motivations behind the repurposing of Western and American mythology. Whether owing to the desire to suppress political opposition, or as the logical result of a democratization of the arts, whereby marginalized peoples seek to break the yoke of oppressive, supremacist, and phallogocentric narratives (itself a revolutionarily political act), we see in all instances a will to power seeking its own exertion and preservation.
Persecution and Suffering as foundational myth.
Persecution and suffering, being so central to the founding mythology of many Americans (be they English, African, Irish, Jewish, or otherwise) thus provides a wellspring of resentment, angst, and terror with which to be drawn from and marshaled for reasons of political efficiency. By no means are these the only themes to be found in our myths, nonetheless they have proven the most enduring and politically expedient for the achievement of control and subjugation. Consider the following realities of victimhood: The Jewish-American fears an inevitable persecution at the hands of his Gentile neighbor. The African-American fears he will never free himself from the slavery of his Caucasian oppressor. The European-American increasingly suffers under the weight of his own mythical tyranny, for increasingly his narrative is one of original sin, situating him as the sole agent of evil in the modern world. Woman, too, anguishes at her inability to escape man’s cloying grasp. And as the revolution of human rights continues its march into the adolescence our new century, homosexuals and transsexuals find themselves similarly – and in their view, most significantly – suffering victimhood for the mere crime of existing. Resentment, that rich and eminently minable psychological resource, may be the prevailing feeling of our time; so long as this remains the case we will find ourselves helpless to improve our current circumstance and realize the ambitions of the last century.
Fellow Radix stalwart Dr. Edward Dutton would tell us that political extremism and its concomitant psychological maladaptations find their origins through the evolution of the spiteful mutant. And this may be true to a very large degree. But a mere bad roll of the genetic dice alone could not account for the unprecedented level of cultural and political turmoil that the United States is presently confronted with. Amassing large swaths of human capital (be they spiteful mutants or otherwise) will aid the pursuit of political power, but as Gustave Le Bon showed us, they are not in and of themselves sufficient to achieve any purpose. They must be guided, massaged, spellbound before they may become useful political golems. Mental illness and political extremism go hand-in-hand; while evolutionary pressures integrally set the stage for psychological and political development, we must understand as well the role that myth – be it through religious, poetic, literary, cinematic, or musical transmission – plays in giving shape to the mind of man.
Western academics and media-types write a lot of drivel about Islam. Part of the problem is there is a dearth of good information, and a bounty of superficial, politically self-serving…
Western academics and media-types write a lot of drivel about Islam. Part of the problem is there is a dearth of good information, and a bounty of superficial, politically self-serving garbage. But the real problem is misplaced emphasis. Western experts and commenters are used to thinking of history in simplistic terms–as the story of human progress. This model might be a good fit for Euro-American history, it is at least workable. But the progressive model falls apart when applied to the history of Islam. Islam’s heights seem to correspond to the West’s depths, and vice-versa. The “Progress” model causes Westerners to ask the wrong questions about Islamic history. “What went wrong?” “Why has the Middle East been so beset by violence?” “When will Islam adopt modern political and ethical principles?”
This misguided criticism has two faces–liberal and reactionary. Both sides share a simplistic view of history–that millennia-long, worldwide advance of the human spirit. But each side approaches its subject with different motives. Liberals, who dominate public discourse on the subject (surprise), assume the intrinsic goodness of all people. “Islam is peace” (eye roll). They feel good when they can cite examples of seemingly precocious modernism, such as early Muslim rulers’ tolerance (in the strictest sense) for religious minorities. It makes them feel good to contrast these anecdotes with the supposedly unrelenting fanaticism of Euro-Americans throughout the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, the 19th and 20th centuries, up to and including last week. This rosy, Islamophilic picture is not really about Islam. It is just another stick with which to beat guilt into the Euro-American historical conscience.
The liberal position, while dominant, does not go unchallenged. On the other side are the reactionaries. They are “reactionaries” because they have no real position on Islam, they only know that the liberals are wrong, and reflexively counterattack. Theirs is a form of hypercriticism, given to denying long-established facts and trends of Islamic history with little or no justification other than to refute the Islamophiles. Given the current situation in the West, their excesses are understandable. But the reactionaries’ zeal leads them to stake out indefensible positions. Many of them are have ulterior motives–some are pro-Jewish fanatics or apologists for imperialism, others are democratic ideologues. But they share a defect. They lack a healthy, Faustian drive to pursue universal Truth–whether we like its conclusions or not.
Both approaches fail for two reasons. First, neither affords its subject the proper attitude of “sympathetic criticism.” The student must devote himself to understanding a culture on its own terms–learning its languages, reading its history and literature–all the while imagining things from its perspective. Once he has done this, he can render judgment on its ethics, its cultural attainments, and its overall importance to history. This was the approach of the great orientalists of the late 19th and early 20th century. They devoted tremendous intellectual effort to comprehending Islamic civilization, yet they were unafraid to pass judgment on its shortcomings. The liberals have no aptitude for criticism, the reactionaries have none for sympathy.
Second, the liberals and reactionaries neglect the questions of philosophical history. It is from this oversight that they fall into their assumption of perpetual historical progress. But there is a better way. One hundred years ago, Oswald Spengler reframed the discussion of history by tearing down an idea of progress (at least as it is commonly understood). His “Copernican revolution” in historical thought worked wonders for the study of Classical civilization and Europe, but it would prove even more effective for understanding the meaning of Middle Eastern history. Spengler shifted the emphasis away from time and toward Cultures. Following Spengler, we can understand how meaningless most of the questions posed by conventional commenters are, and begin to see Islam for what it really is.
The Magian Reformation
Spengler rejected the conventional historical focus on religions and polities. He saw these as merely superficial expressions of something deeper–the Culture. Cultures, in Spengler’s scheme, are a complex of peoples who share a world-outlook. This outlook–the spirit of a Culture–drives it to produce or adapt a religion. “Religion” is the outward expression of the world-outlook and includes such things as prayer rituals, religious architecture, calligraphy, and sculpture. For example, while Euro-Americans and Korean evangelicals may both be “Christians,” they do not belong to the same Culture, because their world-outlooks differ so drastically, despite their notionally common religion. A present-day American protestant has more in common, spiritually, with a 9th-century Norse pagan than with a modern-day Korean convert, despite professing the same doctrines. Cultures are the basic unit by which to analyze history.
Islam is part of the “Magian” Culture. In his Decline of the West, Spengler defines the Magian Culture as comprising the Muslim Arabs, but also many pre-Islamic Middle Eastern groups such as the Babylonian Jews, the Zoroastrians, the Coptic and Syriac Christians, as well as syncretic/heretical groups like the Manichaeans. It arose around the time of Christ and lasted until the 12th century when the anti-rationalist thinker Al-Ghazali dealt the deathblow to Magian philosophical speculation. All of subsequent Magian history was, in Spengler’s view, “civilization”–grandiose, bombastic, imperial, but sterile. No new philosophical or religious ideas could arise from the Magian world outlook. The culture had run its course.
So the birth of Islam does not represent the foundation of a new religion. It was, rather, a revolution in Magian religious thought. As such, it is analogous to the Reformation in Western history. Like Luther, Muhammad preached a puritanical systematization of earlier currents in the spiritual thought of his Culture. Muhammad and Luther were both anti-clerical, iconoclastic reformers who exhorted their adherents to build a more personal relationship with God. They both made the scripture accessible to the masses–Luther by translating the Bible into the vernacular, Muhammad by “receiving revelations” in easily memorized rhymed prose. After their deaths, their Cultures were unified the culture by marginalizing the earlier creeds and, at the same time, quickly spawning an array of heresies. The puritanical movements unleashed a storm, driving the post-reformation Europeans and post-Islam Magians to conquer half the world in a fanatical outburst of religious fervor–compare that to the religious and colonial wars of Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Both movements, to a large degree, cleansed their cultures of foreign influence. Hellenistic influence on the Middle East, while not wiped out, was severely reduced in the first centuries of Islam. The Greek language, long the lingua franca of the Eastern Mediterranean, died out in Egypt and Syria, and later in Anatolia. To use Spengler’s term, Islam ended the Hellenistic pseudomorphosis (false-development) of early Magian Culture, allowing it to come into its own. Likewise after Luther, Northern Europe was free to work out its own cultural development. Free of Rome, the North underwent its own Renaissance. Florence and Rome were replaced by Nuremberg, Rotterdam, and Weimar. The Italian composers of the baroque were, by degrees, superseded by the likes of Bach and Handel. Thus Muhammad is not an Islamic Jesus, but a Luther. His movement, Islam, is a puritanical systematization of earlier currents in the Magian spirit.
Islam needs a Reformation
All this flies in the face of the conventional wisdom. Lacking any deeper insight into the place of Islam in history, the Mass-Media has been promoting a meme, “Islam needs a Reformation” eg: (WSJ and HuffPo). It makes sense superficially. Based on the conventional historical assumptions, one would compare Muhammad to Jesus as founders of world-religions. It follows then that Islam, having gotten a late start, is due for a reformation. After all, it’s been 14 centuries since Muhammad fled to Medina, and about the same duration separates Jesus from Martin Luther. The pre-Reformation Church superficially resembles current-day Islam.
But with a deeper understanding of history, comparing Jesus to Muhammad is preposterous. In contrasting the current state of the West and the Middle East, it would be ridiculous to set the two up as analogs. Jesus no longer matters to Faustian man. When the decadent West looks for myths and heroes, it looks for world-denying saints of Tolerance and Progress. New heroes must spring up or be manufactured–MLK and Gandhi, Anne Frank and Mother Theresa. Jesus would seem to fit the mold, but he is too bound-up in the popular imagination with the distant past. And in the popular imagination, History is Progress, therefore the farther back you go, the more evil everything is. But the West has absolutely no need for heroic men-of-the-world like Luther, so his place in our history is undervalued.
But the reborn Islamic fury, much pondered in the West, is not the necessary outcome of Islam’s doctrines. That the Middle East is still populated by “Muslims” is of less consequence than its stage of historical development. Islam is in winter. For centuries following the Crusades the Arabs and Persians were inactive. Islam’s last great conquests were not carried out by these “core-Magians,” but by the Berbers, Turks, and Mughals. And these imperial peoples could only prolong the agony of Magian decline. After c. 1500, the Magians had no meaningful history. They have endured wars and changes of dynasty, but no revolutions of thought or spirit. Classic histories of Middle East recognized this historical void–in over 750 pages of The History of the Arabs, the Lebanese Christian scholar Philip Hitti devoted less than 100 to anything after the 13th century.
What’s to be done
The liberal and reactionary views of Islam are shallow and polemic. They are worthless as history. Neither framework allows us to understand the relationship between Magian culture and ours because the Magians are actually ahead of us. Their decline did not begin in the 19th century, but in the 11th. Their reformation did not happen in the 16th century, but in the 7th.
Where are we now? Today’s situation resembles the era of the Crusades, with the roles reversed. Like Islam of the 1100s, the West has passed its peak. Our spirit is dying, our philosophy and art have ossified. We find ourselves beset by external enemies, barely able to summon the strength for our own preservation. Like Europe of the 1100s, the Middle East is the matrix of peoples–young, vigorous and aggressive.
What can we look forward to? If the West follows the same trajectory as Islam did after 1100, we are doomed. While Islam expelled the Crusaders and launched counteroffensives on its Eastern and Western frontiers, it only did so because it received infusions of fresh blood semi-civilized converts. These barbarian peoples adopted the outward forms of Magian Culture–Islam–but were unable to revive its spiritual vigor.
So contrary to the common view, the West does not face an ancient religious enemy. Islam died centuries ago–any invocation of its doctrines is now entirely superficial. The Arabs have for centuries wallowed in spiritual decrepitude. The “refugees” are not driven on by religious fervor, but simple greed, lust, and envy. They are not so much religious fanatics as they are zombies. Soulless and decrepit, they swarm to history’s last civilization. Do we still have the spirit to do what needs to be done?
Holland, Tom. In the Shadow of the Sword: The Birth of Islam and the Rise of the Global Arab Empire. New York: Doubleday, 2012.
Spengler, Oswald, and Charles Francis Atkinson. The Decline of the West: Perspectives of World-history. Vol. 2. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1957.
“In the gentle fall of rain from Heaven I hear my God. But in the thunder I still hear Thor.” (Brother Athelstan)
Ragnar: So have you returned to your faith, renounced ours? Athelstan: I wish it was so simple. In the gentle fall of rain from Heaven I hear my God. But in the thunder I still hear Thor. That is my agony. Ragnar: I hope that some day our Gods can become friends.
Whenever political activists talk about culture, they need to be careful about not over-reading the artist’s intent.
Rather than guessing what he meant politics-wise, activists have to look for the influences, heretical or mainstream, he drew upon. Unlike the intended message, which is subject to interpretation, cultural influences can be identified with sufficient likelihood.
In Canadian-Irish TV series Vikings, this influence is close to obvious. Though the show’s screenwriters may not have read it—I would be very surprised they haven’t at least heard of it—they seem to have been influenced by it at least through an intermediary text, or person, which/who conveyed Russell’s message.
Russell established in his book that the Christianization of Germanic Europe (in the broad sense, including Scandinavia) was two-sided: the indigenous Pagan faith was replaced, by fair means or foul, by an exogenous one; and in doing so, Christianity was altered by its prey, a process which had actually already begun in the Roman empire.
The ubiquity of Pagan symbols and rituals in European Christianity
This is a reality that is hard to talk about with Christians—and the more conservative, the harder. It is like Edgar Poe’s Purloined Letter: what is right before one’s eyes is what they cannot see. The omnipresence of Pagan rituals and symbols in European Christianity is such that many Christians see them as having always belonged to their faith, even in its first stages, when it was still a markedly Oriental religion.
In some countries, “king cakes” are baked for the celebration of the Epiphany, and crepes are cooked for the day of Candlemas. Both symbolize a Sun disk, and these two Winter feasts were, before Christianity phagocytated them, meant to prepare the return of the Sun.
Of course, we also know that the Christmas holiday was established to replace the celebration of the Winter Solstice, which was a solar cult in various European indigenous religions, most notably in Rome (Sol Invictus).
Interestingly, since the fracture between Catholicism and Protestantism roughly corresponds to that between Latin and Germanic Europe (please note my emphasis on “roughly” before mentioning Catholic Flanders or Calvinist Romandy), Protestants are usually more aware of this unholy origin. As Richard Rives at WND proudly reminded us, Christmas used to be illegal in many Protestant countries. Below is a screenshot from Rives’s video:
That Rome has influenced Christianity is made evident by the fact that the Catholic Church is established in the Eternal City, that the Pope is called “Pontifex Maximus” as the Roman Emperors used to be, and of course that Latin is the main liturgic language. But do all Catholics know that cardinals wear purple cassocks just like Roman senators used to? That priests (in Western churches) are clean-shaven and keep their hair short like the Romans? And that nuns cover their hair as Roman free women did, to distinguish themselves from slaves?
Christianity didn’t merely conquer the Indo-European world. It was also molded by it, almost beyond recognition after centuries of reciprocal acculturation.
This is chiefly what the two first seasons of TV series Vikings are about.
Ragnar (left) hands his plunder over to Jarl Haraldson.
When the story begins, Ragnar Lothbrok is an under-achieving farmer, who occasionnaly goes raiding with other Norsemen in the Baltic lands. He resents the authority of Jarl Haraldson, who is a generation older than he.
Every year, after the harvest, Haraldson orders his men to raid East. The plunder is meager, since Balts are not really richer than Vikings. But even though their farms are hardly sufficient to support their families, Ragnar and the other young raiders have to hand over all the booty to Haraldson, who comfortably stays home. If the story was taking place in today’s West, Haraldson would likely be a baby-boomer expecting his children to pay for his retirement pension after a pat on the back, and then wonder why they, unlike him, cannot make both ends meet. But I digress (or do I?).
Ragnar has enough, and so does his brother Rollo (not to be confused with the founder of the Duchy of Normandy; the story is contemporary to Charlemagne, over a century before the Norsemen’s settlement in France).
Ragnar buys a sun compass to a merchant, which enables him to find his way West, beyond the strait that separates the Baltic Sea from the North Sea. There, the merchant told Ragnar, fabulous riches await him in a place named England. Further South is the even-richer “Frankia” (the Kingdom of the Franks).
Since all the ships belong to Haraldson, Ragnar needs a new boat. He asks his friend Floki (reminiscent of the God Loki), to build a flat-bottomed one, that can both navigate on rivers and high seas. The Scandinavian drakkar is born. Floki’s odd appearance and erratic behavior are a nod to Heath Ledger’s Joker (Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight), as illustrated by a scene in the second season when Floki tells Ragnar’s son that he’s “just a joker”.
“All things begin and end as stories”
Compass, boat… Ragnar now needs a crew. Rollo gathers the region’s best warriors and sets up a meeting. Wary of Ragnar’s intentions at first, and afraid that Haraldson might punish them for disobeying him, the men are, one by one, taken by Ragnar’s Tyler Durden-like speech. Ragnar doesn’t try to convince his audience by way of factual arguments or logical demonstrations. Rather, he inspires them with a dream, a story they’ll tell their children. As Ragnar puts it, “all things begin and end as stories”:
As could be expected, Ragnar’s raids on Northumbria (one of England’s seven kingdoms at the time) significantly increase his prestige and power in Kattegat, still under Haraldson’s rule. This inevitably leads to a conflict between the two men. Being hunted down by Haraldson’s men, Ragnar challenges Haraldson in combat and, predictably, kills him and becomes Jarl.
“Why are we not looking outwards to the West?”
Being now an important ruler, Ragnar will try to unify the Vikings, still spending most of their formidable energy fighting each other (something Madison Grant lamented). After an epic battle leaving no victor between two Viking armies, one led by Ragnar, the other led by his brother Rollo, Ragnar delivers a speech in which he urges all men to “look outwards to the West:”
During his first raid on Northumbria, Ragnar met with a Saxon monk, named Athelstan. He spared his life not out of mercy, but because, Athelstan speaking Norse in addition to Old Saxon, Ragnar thought (rightly) that he’d be of great use to him.
At first a hostage and then a slave, Athelstan soon became Ragnar’s protégé, and even his main advisor, due to his cleverness, courage, and wits.
This symbolizes the encounter between Nordic Paganism and Christianity. At first disgusted by the Pagans’ uncouth manners, Athelstan will more and more forget his Christian faith and convert to the Vikings’ Pagan religion (or maybe I should say “revert,” since continental Saxons had only recently been Christianized under the iron fist of Charlemagne, who was not always the gentle-hearted, loving king both popular and elite culture have pictured along the centuries).
Of course, the acculturation goes both ways: Ragnar is impressed by the Christians’ ability to build wealthy, efficient societies, while his people are still wasting their tremendous strength in suicidal, internecine berserk.
Christianization, a “come-together” moment for Europeans
For all the legitimate criticisms that Pagan or Nietzschean alt-righters can have about Christianity (especially today’s Christianity, whether Catholic or Protestant), they souldn’t forget that it was the first religion that gave a feeling of kinship and a common purpose to Europeans.
Descendants of the long-forgotten Indo-European people, Europeans had scattered across the heterogeneous continent they conquered and branched off into a number of peoples, speaking many different languages, to the point where they saw each other as foreigners, and even “Barbarians.”
(And it happened again during the first half of the 20th century. Then, Europeans worldwide nearly annihilated each other in wars driven by petty nationalisms that were wrong on all counts: genetic, cultural, moral.)
Christianization, despite Christianity’s extra-European origins and universalistic outlook, was for Europeans a “come-together” moment, and this encounter between two Germanic peoples once separated by faith illustrates it well.
Odin on the Cross
Back to the series, this back-and-forth between Paganism and Christianity reaches a higher level when Athelstan is captured by King Ecbert of Wessex during a new Viking raid. Recognized as a Saxon and thus as an apostate, Athelstan is crucified (see picture on the right) by the local bishop (likely a historical inaccuracy since Emperor Constantine had outlawed crucifixion in the 4th century A.D. and none were documented afterwards).
What struck me when I saw the scene was the way Athelstan was represented. Look at the picture closely. Having been beaten up by the Christian populace, his eye is so black that he looks one-eyed, just like Odin. Given the emphasis on his appearance on the cross, I doubt it is coincidental.
Luckily for Athelstan, King Ecbert arrives just in time. He orders the bishop to cut him down, and once again, Athelstan becomes the ruler’s protégé and counsellor. (Priests advising kings was commonplace then: one of Charlemagne’s main advisors was Alcuin, an English monk.)
Of course, King Ecbert wants to know more about the Vikings to be able to defeat them. He is a symetrical character to Ragnar’s: like the latter, Ecbert rules over a portion of a divided country, and hopes to unify England under his rule. The war with the Vikings must be a way, thinks he, to assert his legitimacy, since he is the only one able to resist them. As we know, however, it is two centuries later a Norseman, William the Conqueror, who will succeed in this endeavor at the Battle of Hastings.
The second reason why King Ecbert takes interest in Athelstan is because as a former monk, he is fluent in Latin. Ecbert wants Athelstan to translate and read him aloud the lives of the Roman emperors (likely Suetonius’s Twelve Caesars), thinking Roman civilization was superior to Early Medieval Europe, which is another historical inaccuracy. The very idea of the “Dark Ages” is a modern fabrication devised by French revolutionaries to justify the Enlightenment’s tabula rasa. Roman basilicas and Gothic cathedrals still stand to testify that the “Dark” Ages were actually bright.
The similarities between Paganism and Christianity
Being forced into returning to Christianity, Athelstan has a hard time forgetting Paganism, as if the latter was a natural faith to him while Christianity necessarily needed constraint. During Mass, he almost falls out when a crucified Christ appears to be bleeding, which reminds him of a Viking, Leif, who was sacrificed at the Pagan temple of Uppsala:
Increasingly, Athelstan is struck by the similarities between Paganism and Christianity. When King Ecbert asks him to tell him more about Odin, Thor, Loki or Freyja, Athelstan responds in a way that both thrills and frightens him:
“Their gods are very old… and sometimes I could not help noticing some similarities with our own God… and His Son.”
Later, when Ragnar and Athelstan meet again (King Ecbert and Ragnar are seeking a truce), Ragnar asks Athelstan whether he has returned to Christianity and abandoned Paganism. But things are not so simple:
Ragnar, who unlike his brother Rollo has not received baptism at this point (this was one of King Alle of Northumbria’s conditions for the peace talks), takes a growing interest in Christianity, which foreshadows the Vikings’ conversion. This of course is a historical short-cut, given that Norsemen would not become Christians before the 10th and 11th centuries.
But religious acculturation is a long march, which proceeds with seemingly benign but, in retrospect, irreversible and accelerating steps. Over three centuries passed between Nero’s persecutions against Christians and Theodosius I turning Christianity into the Roman Empire’s official State religion (380). The latter happened “only” 43 years after Constantine’s conversion on his deathbed (337).
In the series, such benign step is the scene in which both Ragnar and Athelstan recite a Pater Noster before going into battle against King Horik of Denmark. Once victorious, Ragnar becomes the uncontested ruler of the Vikings. A Promethean figure, Ragnar proves that boundaries exist to be tresspassed.
The second season ends on this note (Season 3 will be released in 2015) and I could finish my review here, but I think that beyond the depiction of the Pagan-Christian synthesis, Vikings asks a capital question for us, which is:
Returning to Paganism poses a major problem. As Karl Marx famously put it, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” And I fear a return to Paganism would be such a farce, from what I can judge when I take a look at recent forms of Paganism. Pagans can’t act as if Christianity hadn’t vanquished their faith. I hear the argument that Paganism was just in a state of dormition, and that for most of European history (including when Europeans had no consciousnness of being one people), Europeans were Pagans.
But then, how would it not contradict the imperious necessity of a European Brotherhood? The absence thereof was arguably Paganism’s main flaw, and Christianity, for all its vices, allowed Europeans to get together.
Most readers of this article would return to Germanic and Nordic religions, while the author would have to choose between Gallic and Roman ones (the latter would be more to my liking, by the way; I consider myself a Roman rather than a Gaul). Slavs would be separated from the rest of us. Again.
The same argument works for Christianity. Once united by faith, Christendom has been torn apart by the wars between Catholics and Protestants. These Wars of Religion ended on a “draw,” leading to the triumph of the secular State, which paved the way towards Modernity. That’s where we are now.
Critics of Christianity on the Alternative Right usually blame it for its universalism, but I think the main problem with Christianity is the belief in the Apocalypse. Whether we precipitate the End of the World or wait for it, we can’t have a future (a future far beyond the death and rebirth of our own individual souls, a selfish concern if there ever was one) if we don’t believe that something awaits us (“us” being the long chain linking our ancestors to our descendants) after the Earth has become inhospitable for human life.
Enter this futuristic religion I was mentioning as the third option. The main trap for it would be to amount to “Modernity on life support,” with the West, now encompassing all of Mankind, escaping to new worlds after having made the original one unwelcoming. This would happen only if Europeans keep refusing to drink at Tradition’s rejuvenating spring.
Tradition that comprises both Paganism and Christianity as sucessive, necessary steps in European Man’s upward journey. Yes, that presupposes a belief in linear time. For our mortal planet’s lifespan is linear, too.
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (U.S.A.) VOTES THAT JESUS CHRIST “MAY HAVE BEEN GAY AND TRANSGENDERED”
Editor’s Note: This was originally published by the race realist satire blog Diversity Chronicle. The site has managed to troll major media in the past and is an interesting venture in seeing how ridiculous our society has become that these stories are now believable news stories.
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (U.S.A.) VOTES THAT JESUS CHRIST “MAY HAVE BEEN GAY AND TRANSGENDERED”
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in a decision that has enraged fundamentalists and those on the radical and extreme right, has voted to recognize that Jesus Christ “may have been gay and transgendered.” This decision has provoked some extremists to accuse the Presbyterian Church of blasphemy and even apostasy. The Presbyterian Church reports receiving hundreds of angry letters of homophobic hate-mail since the decision, expressing hateful, bigoted, retrograde and ignorant views against the LGBT community. Previously, the church voted to ordain openly gay clergy and to allow ministers to officiate at gay weddings, rightly earning praise from progressives.
In another decision that is only controversial among hateful and intolerant bigots, the Presbyterians have decided to begin teaching children of all ages about homosexuality and the transgendered. Experts agree that it is important to reach children at the earliest ages in order to inculcate a spirit of tolerance for alternative lifestyles. Children need to understand that all sexual orientations and lifestyles, as well as all sexual acts, are equal and morally equivalent under all circumstances. No orientation or type of sexual act is better than any other – all are equal!
Statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and other groups, showing that homosexuals are more likely to contract AIDS or other STDs, can have no basis in fact. They are quite obviously the result of a shockingly pervasive institutional homophobia. There can be no other rational explanation. In another decision, praised by progressives, condoms will be distributed at every Sunday school class. The church has decided to give out new glow-in-the-dark condoms in an effort to get children and teens more interested in practicing safe sex.
Children will be taught reinterpreted Bible stories, which include positive LGBT role-models. Based on a literal reading of some biblical verses, like 2 Samuel 1:26, it is now widely accepted that King David, the ancient Israelite hero, was a proud homosexual. The verse reads “I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.” Another verse even includes a kiss between David and Jonathan! “And as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times: and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded.” (1 Samuel 20:41)
We even read that Jonathan stripped himself of his clothes before David! 1 Samuel 18:3-4 says “Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.” Although most scholars agree that the Torah does prohibit homosexuality rather explicitly (Leviticus 20:13) the Old Testament teaches that, where love is concerned, even God must bow to human feelings and abrogate His law! This might sound like God has changed His mind, which might disturb some fundamentalists, but the Bible cites other examples of this. God regretted that He had made man at one point (Genesis 6:6-7), and He regretted flooding the earth and vowed never to do it again. (Genesis 9:10-11)
LGBT and Liberation Theology Pastor Douglas Calvert observed that “There is actually a great deal of evidence that Jesus Christ was not heterosexual. According to tradition he had very long hair. He was very effeminate and soft spoken. He never married. He had no children, and he never expressed a romantic interest in the opposite sex. He did hang out with twelve guys though, and travelled with them all the time. When they were alone with nothing else to do, did they experiment with each other? Did they sleep together, or engage in orgies? We may never know for certain, but the answer is most definitely that they probably did.”
Paul Oestreicher, an Anglican chaplain at the university of Sussex, agrees. His article “Was Jesus gay? Probably” can be read here. More and more mainline protestant denominations are becoming open to the idea that Jesus Christ, whom they regard as the Son of God, and the third person of the Trinity, may have been gay. Instead of finding this as a source of shame or disconcertion, Christians should be proud and loudly proclaim the fact that Jesus Christ was gay! They should march through the streets advertising it with banners and shouting it through megaphones, loudly proclaiming “We are proud God is gay!”
Although most other prominent religious figures were married, or were polygamous, Jesus Christ never married. Many male pagan deities had wives or several wives and concubines as well. Shiva, the Hindu deity, had at least eight wives and countless concubines according to tradition. Despite Jewish tradition upholding marriage, Christ never married, nor did he own any slave girls. Curiously, the chief founder of Christianity, who sought to propagate it after Christ’s death, the Apostle Paul, also never married. Perhaps Christianity was the first world religion accepting of homosexuality.
Moses, Muhammad, and even the Buddha married and had offspring. Is it possible instead that Christ was not homosexual but perhaps was impotent? Is it possible that he had no sexual drive? Was he a sexually repressed heterosexual, who merely avoided women? Perhaps he was socially awkward with women? While these things cannot be ruled out, they seem unlikely. Some critics point to verses seemingly extolling the virtues of a eunuch’s life. (Mathew 19:12) Those verses however only serve to further reinforce the fact that Christ despised and abhorred the very idea of heterosexual sex!
Feminist Professor Claudia Jackson noted that “Jesus Christ was an early feminist; he understood that any sexual activity between a man and a woman was always rape. It is rape even if a woman expressly asked a man to have sexual relations with her. Men have always enjoyed a position of superiority over women. Thus the relationships between the sexes have always been unequal. Therefore heterosexual sexual activity always represents an indecent assault upon women.”
The Gospel of John refers to the gay lover of Jesus Christ “and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved…” (John 20:2) Before his death by crucifixion the Bible tells us, in John 19:26-27 “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” Clearly Jesus was saying something like “Mom, I’ve married a man. We are gay lovers. So, he is your son-in-law. He should live with you now, and take care of you.” This could not be more clear.
Some fundamentalist opponents of homosexuality cite verses like Leviticus 20:13 “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” There are several possible answers to this, besides the one mentioned earlier. The New Testament clearly teaches that God’s law was nailed to the cross and abolished on the basis of Christ’s sacrificial death. Thus God’s laws in the Old Testament are no longer binding for Christians. (Colossians 2:14) If one is Jewish, one could perhaps argue God was once homophobic but is no longer. God has reformed Himself and become more tolerant. Another retort might be that this verse, incompatible as it is with God’s love, was never inspired by God to begin with and should be dismissed as not truly of divine origin.
The particular explanation that one adopts is not important as long as we understand that homophobia is an ugly crime that we must never accept. We cannot countenance it under any circumstances. We must never allow bigotry to cloak itself in the garments of religiosity or spirituality! A homophobic religion is not worthy of tolerance, but only of hatred and contempt! To persecute such a sick and dangerous cult would not be intolerant, but virtuous and vitally necessary! Intolerance warrants no tolerance and tolerating intolerance is arguably the greatest evil of our time.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 is also used by homophobes and haters to attack the LGBT community. The verses read “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
Although abusers of themselves with mankind does explicitly refer to homosexual activity, and that is even more apparent in many other translations, these verses too could be rejected as incompatible with God’s love. Progressive Jews and Christians see the Bible as an evolving document. It must change and our interpretations of it must change with the times so that it remains relevant in every generation. To do otherwise would be to make ourselves prisoners beholden to an ancient literary work. Books are written by people, not by the hand of God onto stone! Good and evil or right and wrong are social constructs, evolving and changing over time.
Let us not forget, the Bible also calls shellfish unclean. Shall we all change our diets because of something that primitive nomadic, unwashed, lice-infested, neck bearded and barely literate peoples wrote several thousand years ago? Remember, these are people who owned slaves, sold their own daughters into slavery and murdered their family members and neighbours. Why? For worshipping the wrong supernatural sky buddies or picking up sticks on the wrong day. Hell, even saying that Asherah was Yahweh’s girlfriend was enough to warrant death for an Israelite! They were all, clearly, very far from perfect.
As Progressive Christians understand it, the Bible is the inspired word of God. However, it must evolve and be interpreted in light of present circumstances and conditions. It must not be rigid, unchanging, or seen as somehow inerrant. Likewise, Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, and Nelson Mandela were inspired by God. The Bible must not be seen as an exclusive or even primary source of truth in life. To do so would be to worship a book, to fall into the sin of bibliolatry. God is love, and therefore love and its daughters, tolerance and pluralism, and not the Bible should ultimately guide us. The Bible is an important literary work, but it only has value to the extent that it affirms humanist virtues.
Although religious fundamentalist homophobes like to claim Jesus Christ was a right-wing Christian who hated gays, the truth is far from that. Jesus opposed public prayer, and prayer in school. Jesus wanted to keep prayer in the closet and out of the public sphere “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:6 KJV.) Jesus said to keep prayer, and not homosexuality, in the closet, contrary to what so many bigoted and intolerant fundies proclaim!
We know that Jesus was a trained carpenter by Joseph the husband of Mary. It seems likely that along with building homes and furniture, Jesus offered decorating tips and ideas to clients. In his business, he would have had ample opportunity to discuss and explore interior decorating. No less an authority than Elton John noted that Jesus would have backed gay marriage and was gay himself.
In “The Secret Gospel of Mark” Jesus teaches a youth – who was wearing only a linen cloth over his naked body – the “Mystery of the Kingdom of God.” Obviously, Jesus was initiating him into his first homosexual activity! There can clearly be no other reasonable explanation. The Christian Church rejected this gospel as apocryphal, because of homophobia and intolerance!
Jesus Christ was a strong advocate of economic levelling and redistribution. He once told a rich man “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24) He predicted a world where the poor would one day rule and hold all property in common, while the rich one percent would come last, as punishment for their crimes. “So the last shall be first, and the first last…” (Matthew 20:16)
Jesus even drove the capitalists out of the Temple and forbade them from selling their wares there. (John 2:14-16) Jesus was also a renowned peace activist. (Matthew 5:9) Jesus said we are to be judged based on how we treat the least of his brethren. “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40) A rich man asks Jesus what he must do to gain eternal life. “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” (Matthew 19:21)
Clearly Jesus was a homosexual and a progressive who favoured economic levelling, banning public prayer, and who strongly denounced the rich. The guy was a radical Jewish liberal as the Bible shows, persecuted and hated by the conservatives of his time! Those conservative leaders ultimately instigated his murder, so great was their hatred of him! It is ironic that conservatives and right-wingers claim to follow his teachings. They do so by systematically ignoring or distorting most of them!
It’s time for progressives to take Jesus back. We should not allow the radical and extreme right to hold the memory of one of our own hostage! Let us reclaim Jesus, who no doubt, if he were alive today, would proudly march with us under a rainbow flag in an LGBT parade denouncing injustice, inequality and intolerance! At LGBT parades across the nation and around the world this year, the Christian LGBT community will march with banners proudly proclaiming “God is Gay!” in his memory!
Coulter’s understanding that Africa is ultimately a global cultural “follower” reflects a more sophisticated understanding of reality than American Christians who act as if Africa will redeem the West for Christ.
Because of her latest column about Christian missionaries in Africa and their role in bringing Ebola to the United States, Ann Coulter is being called “monstrous,” “sick,” a “detestable harpy” and a “bitter, vicious troll” – by the American Right. Coulter made the case that Dr. Kent Brantly and his nurse engaged in self-righteous moral preening for choosing to work in Africa. In response, a cavalcade of screeching conservatives began wailing at a level unheard since Tumblr heard that someone called Lena Dunham fat.
Coulter made the obvious point that by going to Africa, contracting Ebola, and necessitating a massively expensive effort to fly back to the United States for treatment, Dr. Brantly squandered millions of dollars that otherwise would have been used to save lives. In response, conservatives joined the Left to engage in a massive exercise in morally indignant wishful thinking. As Breeanne Howe, contributing editor at RedState put it, “He saved lives! You put a price on that?”
He probably did, though not in the way Howe means. By inadvertently sabotaging charitable efforts in Africa, he may have saved many more African and European lives in the long term. After all, he sabotaged stubborn Western efforts to keep African populations at levels they can’t sustain. This overpopulation leads to the famines, resource wars, and monetary costs that plague them and us each and every day. He also accidentally cut the demand for African immigration into the West, thus sparing us the vibrant rapes, murders, and social disorder it entails. European children yet unborn thank you Dr. Brantly! And while we’re at it, probably some Africans too.
Still, for the sake of argument, let’s accept Coulter’s premise. Dr. Brantly’s extravagance probably cost some lives in the short term at the monetary price of more than $2 million and counting, not including government expenditures. Conservatives used to understand that however much we may sympathize with Dr. Brantly and his colleague’s suffering, “good intentions” are no excuse for harmful results. It would be demonic to gloat at Dr. Brantly’s suffering, a fate I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Yet the cold reality is that Dr. Brantly increased the potential that far more will die in the admittedly unlikely but quite possible scenario that Ebola is not contained in the United States.
Besides the obvious cost/benefit argument, Coulter makes more substantial points that (not surprisingly) seem to have gone over the heads of American conservatives:
In the long term, the fate of Christianity in Africa and the world will ultimately depend on its strength in the First World, what we once called Christendom. In Coulter’s apt phrase, “[A]ny good that one attempts downstream is quickly overtaken by what happens upstream.”
To choose to work in Africa instead of America isn’t an act of courage – it’s the easy way out. As Coulter put it, “[I]f Brantly had evangelized in New York City or Los Angeles, The New York Times would get upset and accuse him of anti-Semitism, until he swore—as the pope did—that you don’t have to be a Christian to go to heaven. Evangelize in Liberia, and the Times’Nicholas Kristof will be totally impressed.
Finally, African charity is a cheap way to garner social praise. “There may be no reason for panic about the Ebola doctor, but there is reason for annoyance at Christian narcissism.”
Coulter’s understanding that Africa is ultimately a global cultural “follower” reflects a more sophisticated understanding of reality than American Christians who act as if Africa will redeem the West for Christ. Some “conservative” Episcopalians have aligned their ancient seats with the Church of Nigeria, “traditional marriage” campaigners place their hopes on Uganda, and Christian missionaries compensate for the death of the Faith in the West by carving out a new Kingdom of God in the Dark Continent. All of this reflects surrender, rather than a crusading spirit. It’s a way to be surrounded by helpless, dark skinned, agency-free mascots who, as a bonus, have never heard of Christopher Hitchens.
Of course, this is precisely the same way SWPLs use Africa. The only difference is that the pathological altruistic kick comes from racial cuckoldry rather than the Holy Spirit. With luck, you can even fail miserably at providing charity, thus allowing you to experience more of that sweet, sweet shame. As one white Huffington Post contributor (naturally) put it in a column bashing “little white boys” and “white girls,”
Our mission while at the orphanage was to build a library. Turns out that we, a group of highly educated private boarding school students were so bad at the most basic construction work that each night the men had to take down the structurally unsound bricks we had laid and rebuild the structure so that, when we woke up in the morning, we would be unaware of our failure. It is likely that this was a daily ritual. Us mixing cement and laying bricks for 6+ hours, them undoing our work after the sun set, re-laying the bricks, and then acting as if nothing had happened so that the cycle could continue.
To her credit, while the author is still moral preening via the Huffington Post, at least she recognizes that her attempt to “help” was inefficient at best. Christian critics of Coulter seem completely unaware of this possibility in regards to Dr. Brantly.In their mind, only good intensions count. More importantly, “respectable” conservatives (koshercons) see this as an opportunity to purge Coulter, ridding “the movement” of someone who upsets the open bar circuit when she gives anti-immigration speeches at CPAC.
Ultimately, what is at stake is the focus of Christian morality. Christians historically considered their religion as part of the social order which defined and sustained that entity known as Christendom. This concept survived even the massive bloodletting that followed the Reformation and the collapse of the Christian consensus in the non-Orthodox West. Even well into the post-French Revolutionary era, there was an understanding of Christianity’s role that did not necessarily deny belief but also did not require it. As Napoleon Bonaparte said, “I do not see in religion the mystery of the incarnation so much as the mystery of the social order.”
A traditional Christian has duties to his God, his family, his country (and sovereign), and his kin—none of which requires immoral behavior towards humanity at large. Traditionalists and Kinists are some of the few survivors of this kind of Christianity, which would have been recognized by men of sincere faith like Stonewall Jackson. God i s the source of all, and as such, is also at the pinnacle of the great Chain of Being, a concept which is older that Christianity itself. It’s this civilizational Christianity that Coulter is defending, however distantly.
One “Latino conservative” who goes by “SooperMeixcan” said, “So, ironically, Christianity would never have come to @AnnCoulter if early Christians thought the way she does. That’s how stupid she is.” Of course, Christianity spread throughout the West and came to Ann Coulter – and the rest of us – because it was turned into a Germanic religion of Empire. Absent Constantine, we might be Odinists, Mithras worshippers, or Muslims—which is why Christians historically saw Constantine as an instrument of divine will, along with Charlemagne.
The faith was spread to the European pagan and the foreigner through steel, not alms. “SooperMeixcan” is Christian because conquistadores forced it on his indigenous ancestors. Today, Christianity is dying in its Middle Eastern birthplace by the sword – and the Christian Right could not care less. One would think they could at least spare a hashtag.
The god that is “worshipped” by many mainstream Christians can’t really be called “God” at all. It’s simply liberal morality conflated into the figure of a personality known as “Jesus,” or, if you are one of the more enthusiastic Judeo-Christians, “Yeshua.” Many Christians, like the conservatives at “Twitchy,” are content to engage in PC Judo in order to prove that they are the real universalists and the real liberals. The result is rather than a real religion, we get a floating deracinated abstraction – a belief in “Jesus” as your savior, however that is interpreted – which defines a global “community of believers.” Those “conservative” denominations that still exist take care to reinterpret Scripture at a stately pace, keeping behind the culture at large, but still moving in the same direction.
Therefore, to spread the belief in Christ as Savior to as many people as possible is more virtuous than trying to build a Christian community or nation at home – because community and nation ultimately don’t matter except insofar as they lead people to profess belief in the abstraction. Nor can many Christians even agree what social norms should be anymore. Even enforcing behavior such as supporting restrictions on sexual behavior or traditional gender roles becomes secondary to spreading the faith abroad. This only seems to intensify as the faith collapses at home.
As even a casual comparison of the “Christianity” of Haiti, China, Nigeria, or South Korea shows, how the belief in “Christ” is understood is apparently not that important. To quote the one Bible verse all leftists know, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28 KJV)
But if modern Christianity leads to a moral structure ultimately indistinguishable from secular humanism, why not just dismiss the supernatural elements? Well, exactly – hence the great secularization taking place throughout the West, and now even in America. Christians who ground their apologetics in trying to rationally explain the irrational concede the battle. As Coulter implies, if Christianity collapses in the West, its cultural colonies in the West will collapse too, and whether they are a generation or so behind the times in terms of feminism or gay marriage will make no difference to the survival of traditional moral values. What we will be left with is slave morality without a master, divine or otherwise.
What conservatives and many American Christians are doing is simply playing for time. They can avoid the crucial struggles at the core of the global system by kidding around at the margins. As if in an unconscious parody of Marx, they are moving the process of History forward by trying to drag Africa out of barbarism into liberal modernity, and so sowing the grounds of their own irrelevance. By valuing abstract belief over civilizational order and identity, and seeking praise from liberalism rather than its destruction, the American Right is taking the easy way out. Getting Ebola is less morally terrifying than being called a bigot. And feeling like you helped someone (and getting lots of applause for it) is far harder than confronting the cold truths that human well-being rests upon.
Both liberals and modern Christians (or do I repeat myself?) need Africa. It is the Passive Continent, always that which is acted upon, rather than acting for itself. Whether it is the source of meaningless and poorly understood “conversions” or a tool to enhance the self-satisfaction of white liberals makes no difference. Far easier to save 10 African souls or build a well in a village than run a public school for one day in a typical American city.
Be it for Christians or SWPLs, the African humanitarian trip is as pure of an expression of modernity as playing Clash of Clans on your cell phone. It’s an indulgence – in both senses of the word. And if Africa didn’t exist, it would be necessary for them to invent it.
To close with a reading from the Good Book,
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (Matthew 6:2, KJV)
“But Rabbi,” we can almost hear the modern disciples say, “what about our Facebook likes?”
How can you pervert a perversion? The Marvel version of Thor has about as much to with Germanic heathenry as the screeching crone Madonna has to do with the Theotokos. The entire history of the character is an insult to the old European belief system, and was intended as such. But the recent controversy over Marvel’s “Thor” being transformed into a woman shows that even bastardized Western symbols have to be subverted, as modern culture is unable to create something original and admirable.
How can you pervert a perversion? The Marvel version of Thor has about as much to with Germanic heathenry as the screeching crone Madonna has to do with the Theotokos. The entire history of the character is an insult to the old European belief system, and was intended as such. But the recent controversy over Marvel’s “Thor” being transformed into a woman shows that even bastardized Western symbols have to be subverted, as modern culture is unable to create something original and admirable.
The Thor of the comics was not simply the God of Thunder put into a fictional universe so he can fight Galactus or Absorbing Man. Thor has a dual identity within the Marvel mythos as he is sometimes Dr. Donald Blake, a physical weakling. Odin forced Thor into this identity in order to teach him a lesson about humility and become “worthy” of wielding Mjolnir.
The latest Marvel movies, which inform how most people think of the character today, dismissed the dual identity premise. Even when he is not wielding Mjolnir and stripped of his divine power, the movie character is still a highly effective warrior capable of, in Agent Coulson’s phrase, “making some of the most highly trained professionals in the world look like a bunch of minimum wage mall cops.”
At the same time, they have kept the larger idea of breaking the proud Thor and turning him into a soldier for egalitarianism (and mysterious multinational government agencies). Thor’s highbrow speech and noble lineage is a punch line, and Thor only becomes “worthy” when he tells Loki to stop being like Hitler and sacrifices himself to make the world safe for Natalie Portman.
But while the movie Thor is perverted, he’s still a dull reflection of the actual Thor, a greater Western archetype of strength. More importantly, the character always thinks of himself as Thor, even when he’s lost his supernatural powers. The subversion is one of ideology, not identity – Thor’s strength and character is “broken,” rebuilt, and then used to save democratic man (or woman, in Portman’s case). It’s simply the cinematic version of Seal Team Six going through hell so their daughters can be like Miley Cyrus.
In contrast, the comic book divorces Thor’s essential characteristics from the character itself. Stan Lee pictured Thor in his true form as “looking like Vikings of old, with the flowing beards, horned helmets, and battle clubs.” But Thor’s consciousness is somewhat divided. While “Blake” is always “Thor,” his status as one of the Aesir is something conditional, rather than something that he just is. Thus, as recent apologists for Thor’s sex change argue, Thor in the comics is not always a mighty Norse god–sometimes he’s just a man—or even a frog. Like the word Christ, Thor is apparently less a name than a title.
Thus, Marvel can say, “This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR. This is the THOR of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before.” But it’s not really. It’s just transferring the personification of power into a more politically correct vehicle. In the Marvel Universe, Thor isn’t really the hero or even really Thor – Mjolnir and the power it contains is. After all, the weapon is inscribed, “Whomsoever wields this hammer, if he [or she apparently] be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.”
Within Marvel’s announcement there is a representation of the “Unworthy Thor” stripped of power, who looks like some kind of archaeo-futurist barbarian borne of the collective unconscious of the New Right. Maybe he just got tired of fighting to make the world safe for Tumblr.
As with all actions of this type, there is a financial motivation. Marvel says it will “speak directly to an audience that long was not the target for super hero comic books in America: women and girls.” But as Time magazine points out, even young boys don’t buy much in the way of comic books these days, let alone girls. While there might be a slight uptick in female readers, a “gimmick” like a sex or race change gets the niche market of comic book fans–mostly “middle-aged men”–to make sure they pick up the latest issue.
The female Thor accordingly corresponds to the cover girl aesthetics of “strong” female characters—who don’t exactly resemble female powerlifters and couldn’t put up 225 on a squat rack, let alone duel a frost giant. Fictional portrayals of “strong” women like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Lara Croft are mostly designed to appeal to men by combining cover girl aesthetics with masculine actions. This of course is prompting criticism that we must have feminine superheroes who defeat enemies through “feminine” abilities. (Like what? Posting selfies featuring handwritten slogans about tolerance?)
But there is also an ideological motivation. Comic book heroes–especially those “born in Lower East Side at some point between 1938-1944”–have often reflected the a dual fantasy of subversion and assimilation, with Superman as the obvious example. He is alien–yet he is also the ultimate representation of the American nation. Yet as America herself has become passé and unacceptably tied to a European past, superheroes have had to renounce ties to the historic nation and even to their own racial identity in order to remain “heroes.”
To facilitate this, we get the racial transformation of various characters, such as Nick Fury morphing from a World War II soldier (albeit one who led a “racially integrated elite unit”) into Samuel L. Jackson in both print and film. Similarly, comic books today are less telling stories than about beating the correct political ideology into a dumbed down audience. Therefore, Archie will soon die taking a bullet fir ed by a fanatical gun rights supporter at his gay friend, who is “married” to a black man. Soviet propaganda looks like a model of subtlety in contrast.
What never seems to catch on is the actual creation of heroes that don’t owe something either to a past White identity or Western archetype. Those that are created come off like unintentional comedy, like “Black Panther”–and he’s probably the best of the lot. He hails from the “technologically advanced” nation of Wakanda, menaced by the evil quasi-Afrikaner nation of Azania and its evil champions (like “Voortrekker.”) The defining characteristics of affirmative action heroes–indeed their only characteristics–are that they are black, have a vagina, or practice one of the sexual fetishes that our society has deemed worthy of celebration.
Therefore, we are constantly hectored that existing heroes of comics and the screen must be made black–we need a black Batman or a black James Bond. By doing this, we will somehow convince minorities of various sorts that they too can be universally appealing heroes.
After all, Black Panther represents… being black.
And, Wonder Woman represents… being a woman.
So to get around this, we’ll transform characters with greater appeal. Archie was supposed to be about wholesome Americana… so we’ll make it about homosexuality and gun control.
Captain America represents patriotism… so we’ll make him black.
It is a cultural form of the cargo cult role playing which has led to such historic spectacles like Faustin I of Haiti aping Napoleon by putting a cardboard crown on his head, or America collectively pretending that Maya Angelou’s sub-literate nursery rhyme at a Presidential Inaugural was really a poem.
But Thor is a special case. The deity Thor is perhaps is most important personage of the indigenous European religious tradition, and certainly the most popular god among ordinary people of the pre-Christian age. Rather than identifying Odin as the symbolic champion of the old ways, John Lindow in Norse Mythology notes that medieval Scandinavian sources portray “the conversion as a struggle between Thor and Christ.” During the period of uneasy coexistence between Christians and pagans, believers in the Old Gods would wear Thor’s hammer pendants around their necks–a practice continued by heathens today (and, for that matter, some metal fans).
Therefore, Thor is culturally specific in a way that Superman or Batman isn’t. Putting him in a comic book is bad enough, as the character is based on a deity that was once the dominant figure for Germanic civilization and who understood and pictured their gods in highly specific ways. One imagines that the adventures of “Moses” calling on God to drown a mugger in Greenwich Village or “Muhammad” using a friendly jinn to trick Dr. Octopus might be seen as distasteful (although hilarious).
But even if the point to “lighten up” is graciously conceded, Stan Lee pictured Thor along the lines of the romanticized image we have of Vikings of the late heathen period. He wrote him as part of that. He therefore fits in a certain context that represents a group of people that once existed. The comic book hero’s adventures and changes have to be limited by what makes sense with the character. The usual objection that “anything is possible” because fictional heroes are in a world of magic misses the point–the character is based in a specific cultural context and is indeed defined by it.
Moreover, even in fictional universes, magic and supernatural occurrences have rules and context. A Song Of Ice and Fire has magic, but Ned Stark’s severed head can’t simply start flying around in the middle of the story any more than the wildlings can breach the Wall with an Abrams tank. Even within the Marvel universe, Thor can’t be a woman and remain Thor just as Cat-Woman can’t be a man and remain Cat-Woman.
Thor’s sex change is political and is defined by its creators as such. The reason is that to have a white (indeed Nordic) male character associated with the Germanic past and traditional masculine virtues is simply impermissible. Even in the most bastardized, degraded, perverted form, the existence of a white male Thor in pop culture is an insult to everything our culture is telling young boys to be. The Marvel Thor has to be a woman – and it has to be a different race next.
Political correctness can only achieve popular appeal through subverting symbols that already appeal to mass constituencies because any new symbols will appeal pathetic by comparison. And certainly European cultural symbols, even in their most debauched form, are superior to affirmative action culture. Most Americans, especially children, instinctively sense this. After all, “social justice man” is hardly something to appeal to the imagination of a typical seven year old.
To be fair, shapeshifting and even gender bending is nothing new even within the lore of European religion. Loki is, after all, the mother of Sleipnir, having transformed into a female horse as part of a ruse against a giant. However, while the shapeshifting, androgynous Loki helps various gods (including Thor) on several adventures, he is also the father of monstrous beings who will ultimately unleash chaos and the destruction of the gods. In this we see the understanding that perversity and chaos, even if used for temporary advantage, further a process of degeneration and final destruction. Loki is a deeply perverted character, although not an entirely “evil” one in the Christian sense.
Interestingly, there is a story in the lore where Thor must pretend to be a woman–the Þrymskviða. Assisted by Loki, Thor must disguise himself as Freyja and attend “her” wedding in order to reclaim his stolen hammer. The giants recognize something is amiss (like when the “bride” eats an entire ox) but Loki comes up with one hilarious excuse after another. One can imagine our ancestors roaring around a fire hearing this light-hearted tale.
Of course, the reason Þrymskviða is funny is because European religion and Germanic Christianity had a sense of social norms and hierarchy as serving a necessary function. Bending gender roles on occasion could be used for humorous effect or perhaps in extraordinary occasions (like the “shield-maidens” of legend). However, it would be absurd to take “pride” in the idea that you are subverting a norm and deriving worth from it–the louder someone boasts of their pride, often the less they have to be proud of.
But America can’t admit that. “We are all created equal” after all. So even gods, symbols of gods, and even the fictional heroes of less degenerate times need to be twisted in order to make people feel better about themselves. In the end, the value of such symbols are frittered away and become objects of indifference or even scorn–arguably, what is happening to American patriotism and identity today.
What Marvel is doing to Thor is part of this. We should be glad because even though young boys swinging a plastic Mjölnir is better than nothing, such actions ultimately postpone the inevitable. European cultural symbols, practices, and even gods need to become the source of a vital living Tradition, not objects of exploitation used to propel the elaborate practical joke we call American culture.
Besides, Thor is a red bearded war god, not a socialist teddy bear. The existence of Marvel’s she-Thor may make it a bit easier for Europeans to start looking into the distinctions and rediscover the living well of Tradition media companies have been leeching from for years.
Yes, it’s an insult. But we should laugh at how utterly pathetic it is that people feel compelled to act this way in order to feel moral.
And we should remember the end of the Þrymskviða. Thor gets his hammer back and deals with the situation as the God of Thunder usually does–by using it to slaughter all of his enemies.
There can be these games for a while, and comics’ new world begins, where nonwhites are paid for existing, and transqueers don’t pay for their sins. But as surely as Water will wet us, the sons of Europe will learn–and The Gods of the Copybook Headings, or the Gods of the North will return.
Nations are defined through war. Phony nations are defined through phony war – namely sports. And in a time devoid of meaning, a corporate spectacle with flags is the closest the modern world can come to providing most people with a sense of identity.
Nations are defined through war. Phony nations are defined through phony war – namely sports. And in a time devoid of meaning, a corporate spectacle with flags is the closest the modern world can come to providing most people with a sense of identity.
Most nations are less a creation of peoples than a creation of armies. The multinational, multilingual monarchies of the Middle Ages slowly transitioned into the national armies unleashed by the French Revolution, who were gathered by conscription to spill the “impure blood” of the foreigners. “Us” and “Them” were determined on the battlefield.
However, the postwar world saw the end of “blood and soil” nationalism in the West. Nations transformed into units of economic competition, vaguely linked by international finance and watery doctrines of “human rights.” Mass immigration further complicates the process, as citizenship no longer reveals anything about a person’s race, religion, cultural heritage, or even language.
Yet nationalism persists – largely because we have nothing else to fall back on. Race is socially unacceptable and religion (at least Christianity) is dead as an organizing force for society. And so even as it is unimaginable that European youth will soon be drafted and sent forth to fight for their country, a rudimentary patriotism is still required to link the masses in the developed world together in a more or less orderly fashion. The flag and some vague concept of “values” usually serves, but underneath, the ghosts of Blut und Boden still linger. And this needs an outlet.
Enter the World Cup. The players sing the anthem of their fatherlands, echoed by hundreds of thousands of screaming fans. Fans dress in their national colors. The game itself has a kind of mythic quality (outside the United States anyway), as fans will casually speak of games that took place decades ago or even refer to a single incident (like Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal). Rivalries, heroes, and cultures develop in a dull echo of the warlike past.
Absent war, concepts such as “national honor” are identified with the outcome of soccer games. Sometimes, it is almost equivalent to war, with Argentina’s victory over England in 1986 interpreted as “revenge” for the Falkland Islands.
Germany’s crushing 7-1 defeat of Brazil (with the Netherlands putting the boot in 3-0 in the third place game yesterday) is seen as a national disgrace in the host country. Pictures of Brazilian fans giving rise to guttural cries of despair and horror could be mistaken for something coming out of Gaza.
Many of the players from historic European nations are non-White. Some of the players on the American team have almost casual connections to the United States, and even the coach is a German who formerly represented his real country both as a player and as a coach. As with professional sports in America, most players have nothing to do with the community they are ostensibly representing racially, culturally, or even geographically. The pageantry and patriotism of a World Cup is equivalent to the usual penalty in the Beautiful Game – it’s a big showy fake.
The flag waving is consciously used as a way to reconcile the White West to making peace with demographic dispossession, and the need for “us” to “win” is used as justification to dilute identity. The tactic has already been used successfully with rugby in South Africa and college football in the American South.
After France won the World Cup in 1998, the heavily non-White team was used as an argument to promote more immigration into the Republic and portrayed as a triumph of assimilation. Today, American politicians such as Nancy Pelosi argue that we need immigrants – because otherwise, we would have a terrible soccer team. And reporters attack the – as of yet –unassimilated nations of Eastern Europe where players still have something to do with the country, and their fans haven’t learned that patriotism is supposed to be ironic.
Faux patriotism is even used to keep countries together. Spain’s World Cup victory in 2010 presented a problem for Catalonians who wanted independence. Belgium, the soulless husk at the center of the European Union, uses its soccer team as a club to beat Flemish nationalists and promote the continued existence of the phony kingdom. And the reason Brazil has been hit so hard by its soccer defeat is because soccer was all they had to show to the rest of the world. The country is the very exemplar of the multiracial nightmare White advocates have been warning against for decades, plagued with crushing social divisions, crime and inequality. No wonder they care so much about kicking a ball around.
And yet, even people who should know better fall for the appeal of faux nationalist pageantry. Websites from around the racialist right rejoiced at the German defeat of Brazil, as if the Bundesrepublik of Merkel was still the Fatherland of Bismarck, or as if winning the game meant that Turks would have to leave. White racialists can even tell themselves that soccer possesses a more “White” and European sensibility than American basketball, and therefore give themselves approval to identify with certain teams.
Despite it all, faux nationalism tells us something, speaking to the deep roots of identity that can’t be explained, defended, or even described—only felt. It means something that Mexican-Americans still can’t bring themselves to root for the American team. It means something that Algerians in France riot after the Algerian team plays a game, even with the historic prominence of Algerians on the French team. And it means something that many Europeans, especially Germans, feel it is permissible to be proud of their ethnicity in a sporting context—although they are ashamed of it in other circumstances. Indeed, already the opinion monitors are cautioning people that Brazil feeling “national humiliation” because of a soccer loss is only a short jump away from countries adopting fascism, or something.
Nationalism remains. The old symbols still speak to the hearts of the masses. What they mean to different people will always be fought and argued over but they have not lost their power. The World Cup is a safety valve and a corporate scam – but it is also an expression of a force that is not yet spent.
This is a problem for a Dissident Right which is already moving beyond the old borders and identities of the past. The Dissident Right in America has practically reached an intellectual consensus on an un-American position, from those who think the American Revolution was a mistake to White advocates pursuing the Sorelian vision of the ethnostate. European Identitarians are working hard to transcend the national rivalries of the past. And secession movements, in many cases supported by right wingers, are challenging the very existence of some of the most established and prominent countries in the world –from the United Kingdom to Italy.
However, most people opposed to the status quo are still nationalists, fighting to defend a romanticized past based on an already existing national institution. The Americans opposing their own government in Murietta, CA wave the Stars and Stripes or even the flags of the military. Parties like UKIP and the National Front pledge to defend the UK and France from a grasping European Union. And Eastern European nations such as Hungary or Poland still have strong patriotic movements with mass constituencies that define their goals in terms of national independence, rather than some sweeping ideological revolution in the West.
Sports fandom is often expression of that peculiarly pathetic race cuckoldry that many White males seem comfortable with. And it’s easy to simply say “Don’t watch the World Cup.” But the faux nationalism of the World Cup is as much a reflection of the suppressed identity of the European peoples of the world as a perversion of it. And it reflects the political and emotional reality that God may be dead in a historical sense, but the Nation lives.
Unfortunately, the nation-state of the modern West is as much an enemy of White people as a political expression. We are supposed to believe that a country is somehow still the same even if the entire population is replaced – so long as the new population waves the same flag. Yet at a gut level, one senses that people know what it is to be a real German, a real Frenchman…and even, (with apologies to Hulk Hogan) a real American.
The problem we face goes beyond either surrendering to soccer hysteria or congratulating ourselves for ignoring decadent mass culture. It is about whether the Dissident Right can somehow build off populist patriotism and transform it into a true ethnonationalism, or whether the nations themselves should be discarded as reactionary debris obstructing the development of a new vision. The former is largely the approach taken during the past six decades of failure. But the latter, although more intellectually compelling, is likely to produce a “movement” with no resonance among the larger population.
The answer may be found in your own reaction over the last few weeks. When you see a crowd overwhelmingly of your own race, waving the flag of your country, you may feel pride. You may feel sickening disgust, knowing how your country is being betrayed, or how it betrayed you. Or you may, like me, feel some kind of combination. But the Dissident Right needs to make sense of that confusion because it’s not words or even philosophies that govern the world, but symbols and identity.
Their power is terrible. Despite despising the values of the Bundesrepublik, despite raging at the weakness of the Last Men of the former Fatherland, despite my disgust for the whole politically correct spectacle… I can’t help but cheer for Die Mannschaft. And hate myself for it.
And that’s not the worst of it. I’m glad Team USA didn’t make it to the finals. Because if they did, I know I’d be pulling for them even more.
Brooks informs us that American culture is too centered around attaining happiness, at the expense of a different goal in life that is deeper and more important. Already, we think that this is a very strange proposition. Perhaps we find it hard to disagree. But since this is the Elite of our society, let’s go ahead and assume they have an evil ulterior motive.
David Brooks recently gave talk before the Aspen Institute. Brooks writes for numerous establishment papers, and has a reputation as the sort of conservative liberals like. Considering the pathetically liberal situation of the conservative movement in America today, this is really saying something. The Aspen Institute, let us recall, is hardly a town-hall meeting in Tupelo. Brooks informs us that American culture is too centered around attaining happiness, at the expense of a different goal in life that is deeper and more important. Already, we think that this is a very strange proposition. Perhaps we find it hard to disagree. But since this is the Elite of our society, let’s go ahead and assume they have an evil ulterior motive.
These ideas and these conferences have a trickle-down effect to the wider culture. Thus, they are very instructive in finding out where the Elite wants to take the country. Desire is a permanent feature of the human condition. Buddhism set its goal out explicitly as the elimination of desire (they desired to end desire) and one glance at modern Japan should instruct as to how successful this 2,600 year experiment was. Desire for happiness is such a nebulous idea that philosophers have spent volumes arguing about whether happiness and satiation are identical or whether one can be happy if one wanted to be, and became sad, etc. One thing is certain: Happiness is not the opposite of depth. Shallowness is. He might appear to be arguing against shallowness, but he uses the term “Happiness”. I wonder why. For a man smart enough to be able to call up complex cabbalistic arguments for accepting the misery of the human condition and continuing to serve one’s fellow man, this seems to be a strange oversight. Then there is his idea of “depth.” Traditionally, “depth” has been viewed as a function of contemplation. The contemplative and the active lives were known to Dante and the medievals by the parable of Rachel and Leah. The contemplative has always been viewed as higher, but it had very little intrinsically to do with the “service” that Brooks speaks about. It was in an inner direction, and service and charity are outward foci.
The real reason for the talk should be clear: they are priming us for “the new normal” when previously promoted things like rampant consumerism become untenable. They directed us to the one thing when it served their interests to do so and now they direct us to the other. The Elites have determined that, having served their agenda by spreading false values across the planet and by reducing all existence to a sort of chattel slavery to Mammon, it now suits them to reduce us to the level of serfs, and we might as well be prepared to accept our lot with all the amor fati of a character out of Russian literature. That’s pretty simple, and that is the most likely reason Brooks is making these points.
Of course, there is no point in saying we should try and be “deeper”. Some people are already “deep” and they will remain so, others will remain superficial. Miguel Serrano, in his classic travel memoir, “The Serpent of Paradise”, pointed out that perhaps, in the wake of the enormous psychological upheavals of the 20th century, the West would become more contemplative, and the East would become more active. This is exactly what we are seeing today, with the rise of the Asian Tiger economies and India, while at the same time the religious traditions of those countries are becoming less and less profound. Today, seminars on the business applications of the Bhagavad Gita are all the rage in India, and in China, my sources inform me that every single Taoist master is dead or in hiding. We in the West are getting less involved in the affairs of the world, or less able to involve ourselves. We are amply compensated: spiritual currents in the West are becoming more and more profound- look at the current right-wing “scene”. Interest has exploded in Evola and other metaphysical thinkers–while fewer rightists care very much about the “science of race”. This is mirrored in the general populace, which is increasingly rejecting climate science, evolutionary science, psychological science, etc. It matters little and less. The science of the skepticism movement is by no means limited to flyover country either. Many of our young undergrad philosophers are becoming enamored with complex arguments for the irrelevance of empiricism and positivism and all that “19th century baggage.” Perhaps for the wrong reasons, but these reasons do not matter. We are at the end of an Era. This is–for better or for worse–the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.
But back to Brooks. He wants to get us used to less, and this is not necessarily a bad thing. Here is the Big Secret. The processes which control the destinies of man and civilizations are cosmic and universal. Everyone is merely acting out his or her role in the drama, lila, the play. In a healthy, sustainable society, people have less materially, but also want for far less. Instead of waking up at 40 and asking, “is this it?” they will be inserted into the passion of the seasons, of Sowing and Reaping, Working and Sleeping, Sex and Death. They will struggle with the land and love it, they will raise their families and feel the warm embrace of community and identity. The future is Agri-Cultural. It is the Growth of the Soil. The elites are inadvertently paving the way for a beautiful future, because they cannot help but do so. They are themselves constrained by the stars.