Religious, Not Spiritual

I went to college back at the beginning of the Clinton Era,* at a third-rate public school in one of our less intellectual states.  At the time I thought it far beneath me, but now I thank the Lord for it.  Because it was third-rate, you see, none of the hotshot academics from the “good” schools wanted to teach there… which meant that the minor-leaguers who made up the faculty, having received traditional educations themselves, actually believed in paideia (though, of course, they couldn’t call it that).  I therefore got the closest thing to a traditional college education on offer in that time and place.

From this I learned the most important lesson one can ever learn: It has all been done before.  Humanity has had all of about five Big Ideas since we stopped swinging in trees, and as the most recent one was back in the Renaissance, we’ve had plenty of time to chew over the implications.  You could fill a library with examples, but as this is the Internet, the example of atheism should suffice.  Every single possible argument against revealed religion has been mooted, and answered, long ago (hell, Julian the Apostate offered up most of the “arguments” the neckbearded fedora crowd think are so clever in the 300s CE).  You’re welcome to dispute, say, Thomas Aquinas on the problem of evil, but what you can’t do is claim it hasn’t been addressed by Christendom’s best and brightest.

The fact is, no human society has ever existed without a transcendent moral order backstopping it.  It’s just part of the human firmware.  Leaving aside as unanswerable the question of which, if any, of those moral orders are true, the only question becomes: will the transcendent moral order of our society look like this, or will it look like that?  The only criterion is usefulness: Does the transcendent moral order we choose help our society flourish, or does it speed our descent into anarchy?

It’s clear that ours, whatever you choose to call it — “Cultural Marxism” will serve — has failed the utility test, but I wonder if that’s a problem with the theory or the practice.  Let’s give the atheists their binkie, and stipulate that Christianity is nothing but self-serving lies told by the elite to maintain their power.  Let’s further stipulate that the elite have always known this, and that no member of the Christian elite has ever believed word one of the Gospels.  Even in this worst-of-all-worlds scenario — which goes against all evidence and all common sense — we have to admit: Christianity worked pretty well, social order-wise.  So long as the hypocritical elite still make a public show of piety, “Christendom” does pretty well.

I wonder if Cultural Marxism might not do the same.  In the olden days, it was enough that the people at the top made a big show of their piety in front of the peasants (and even they could live like Hollywood producers while strictly among their own).  In the social media age, though, everyone’s on display all the time.  What it took the peasantry 1500 years to learn about Christianity — that it’s nothing but a pack of self-serving lies — is exposed every day, by pretty much every single SJW on Twitter (which is to say, by every single SJW in the universe).  Could they stay in power if they started making a show of following their own rules?

I doubt it, because they seem constitutionally incapable of not rubbing in our faces the fact that they’re above their own laws.  But power’s a funny thing.  I expect them to at least try, or make a show of trying, and that might help them cling to power long enough for it to cease to matter.

Interesting times are ahead.


*1988 — 9/10/2001
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8 thoughts on “Religious, Not Spiritual

  1. Recusant

    Someone mentioned to me the other day that, interestingly, the entity that most personifies the concept of “spiritual, but not religious “, is the Devil.

  2. WOPR

    Cultural Marxism can’t fill the role because it’s soulless materialism. There’s nothing transcendental about it. Therefore all there is is the here and now. If a leader is found out not following the religious strictures of the time, even though he mouths them, people are going to go “He’ll get his punishment in the end.” With Marxism, it ends up being, “They’re getting away with it,” and no one believes they will be punished later.

    1. Severian

      Cultural Marxism is clearly a religion to its adherents. “Justice” (as in, “social justice warrior”) is a transcendent concept, and they’re always going on about how they’re on the Right Side of History — you can hear the Capital Letters throughout. Don’t listen to what they say (though even there the religious character often breaks through); watch what they do.

      1. WOPR

        I agree it is religious in many aspects. However, I think why you see it always devolve into purity spirals with orgies of violence is there is no future for the adherents. Sure, they’re on the Right Side of History. But the disillusionment that always occurs with it is due to there being no final arbiter(s). That guy using the system to enrich himself is going to die just like you, rot in the grave just like you, except for now he’s going to be far better off in the here and now. If you’re a Hindu, you at least know the guy is coming back far down the chain of life. A Christian and you know punishment is possible. Any other religion has judgments against those who abused their time on this earth.

        So in answering your question, no Cultural Marxism can’t fulfill the role of an actual religion for more than a generation. Even the generation espousing it quickly tires of the false religion.

  3. Jay Carter

    Owning and operating a business in a small “college town” allows me to interact with a lot of students.
    Adelphi University, here in Garden City, New York, actively, (and very successfully) recruits from around the world.

    Some of the students I’m sure, will go back home and become a positive asset in their environs.
    As for the other students?

    What is it they say about programming?
    Garbage in. $$$$ Garbage out. 


  4. neal

    I think education should be balanced out by field trips.
    I walked two miles each way, except for deep summer. Grandma walked twelve each way.

    Life during wartime. Probably squares to the inverse of predators.

  5. Pingback: The Unbearable Self-Righteousness of Being | Rotten Chestnuts

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