Bloody shovel

Don't call it a spade

We need a new religion

Schopenhauer used to write that Judaism is not a religion, but a tribal cult, because it lacked any teachings about the afterlife. What kind of religion is that who doesn’t tell you what’s happening after you die? Isn’t the afterlife THE big question of existence? The ultimate enforcer of morality is the threat of everlasting hell after all.

Well now that you think of it, isn’t modern liberalism kinda jewish too? In that it has obnoxious moral codes, a pretty dense theology, but no teachings about the afterlife. Which makes it all pretty stupid. Why should I care about anything if, as Keynes said, long term we are all dead? Who cares about doing good things? About caring for posterity?

This sort of nihilism is often pointed out by those Christian rightists as the origin of all evil. On the other way the only thing Christianity has for it these days is that it has hell. Religion can coherently enforce morality. Liberalism can’t. Therefore we should go back to Christianity. Well I don’t know about that.

But the lack of faith in an afterlife really does poison everything. As any fairly philosophical person has surely noticed, given enough time all intelligent discussions end up talking about God. Because all morality has to ultimately be based on some ultimate authority. Reading today Steve Sailer’s, he has a post with summarizes perfectly the great divide between left and right. Who are we? The point being that liberal theology states that all humans are equal, therefore nations are illegitimate, and national discrimination verbotten. Aren’t we all the same? Then why can’t I live in your house. Ok.

Of course the obvious reduction ad absurdum is valid: if I can’t discriminate for my countrymen, why can I discriminate for my own family? Aren’t we all the same? Why should I raise my kids then? Then in the comments some clueless libertard comes out with this gem: “Maybe American workers not being able to reproduce and afford families is bad for them now, but it will be good for American in the long run and for all citizens as well”. i.e. the allegiance is not for our families, or our nation, but for ‘America’. May we all disappear from the gene pool if the future America ends up stronger.

Of course all rightists may and do strongly protest: what the fuck is the point of America if our posterity is not part of it?

Well what if it is? What is the rationale for defending our posterity if there’s no afterlife? Why should I care for my potential kids, grandkids and other posterity if I’m not certain of meeting them in some other place later? Roissy would argue: what is the point of kids? They suck the fun out of life.

There’s this modern trend of Darwinist rightists trying to answer this question with biology: we are programmed to reproduce our genes. But how is that a moral imperative? You can’t deduce an ought from an is, right?  The programming certainly isn’t very good when developed countries are objectively amusing themselves to extinction.

This nihilist zeitgeist is what makes current level of debts possible. Of course we are fucking our posterity’s future, forcing them to pay our current consumption. Who cares though? Long term we are all dead.

To the point: any intelligent political discussion will necessarily end up with this question: Why should we care for the future? Modern liberalism can’t answer this question. They know it, so they don’t even ask it. Which makes any discussion inherently stupid. And if intellectual debate is stupid by design, questions can’t get answered. Things can’t get done. We are doomed.

We need a new religion.

Advertisements

14 responses to “We need a new religion

  1. The Reluctant Apostate November 9, 2011 at 23:52

    As a nonbeliever in any of the religions around nowadays, my view of the afterlife is that it doesn’t exist–when one’s brain stops functioning, the mind it generates ceases to exist. I will admit that even if I am correct in this, that an incorrect belief in some form of afterlife may be more conducive to a functioning society and general well-being than what I believe to be the case. That said, I don’t think that a belief in some form of afterlife is necessary to value posterity, nor is a divine law-giving authority necessary to follow a moral code.

    As evidence of the former, I can put forth Judaism. If the lack of an afterlife were so critical to the valuation of posterity, surely what Schopenhauer calls a tribal cult would have withered and decayed rather than lasting so long and having so many successes in the modern world. More likely, I think it is a mistake to analyze other religious strategies in the terms laid out by Christianity but rather by how they function in the real world. Christianity has been enormously successful, and Europeans would not be who they are today without it, but it’s not a neutral template against which individual features of religions should be judged. Rather, one can compare the sum total effect that other religions have on social structure to than generated by Christianity, and given that Christianity is the largest world religion at the moment, it’s hard to see how Christianity would come out looking unfavorable in those comparisons.

    Now, that said, I do think that Christianity is a strange religion. It’s Universalist, in that anyone can become a Christian, but one doesn’t have to look far in its holy scriptures to see its roots in the parochial beliefs of an ethnic group living between the Mediterranean and the River Jordan. For example, look to 2 Kings 17 for the purported origin of the Samaritans or in the New Testament, Matthew 15:21-28 for how Jesus interacts with a Canaanite woman. While Christianity in it’s modern form is Universalist, it derives its legitimacy from the same roots as that belief system that Schopenhauer calls a tribal cult and that has certainly lead to some pathologies. Would the Crusades have happened if Europeans didn’t believe that the ancestral homeland of another ethnic group was somehow holy?

    Now, in reality, we’re talking about about alternatives to liberalism, which has certainly become the civic religion of the United States. I’m not as familiar with the European zeitgeist, but looking on from afar, there seems to be quite a bit of overlap in the secular morality that has developed on both sides of the Atlantic over the past few centuries. Obviously, one of the problems with displacing a hegemonic religion is that in creating a great deal more ideological freedom of movement, the tendency is to go for ideologies that offer the path of least resistance, like Keynes’ hedonism, which cares not for the course of society in the fullness of time, but rather in how individuals are feeling right now. I agree that such ideologies that place our emotions (which in reality serve as a means to an end rather than the end itself) are bound to produce bad decisions.

    However, I fear that what has been done cannot be undone without great calamity. There is no path to hegemony available to a potential religion in the way that Christianity achieved hegemony in Europe over the centuries and furthermore, Christianity itself is badly compromised. Maybe some global Universalist religion like Baha’i could step in the breach, but I suspect that mass conversion to Baha’i would be one of the last things that Europeans societies need right now.

    Thoughts?

  2. spandrell November 10, 2011 at 00:36

    See, you are playing with language. Your ‘view’ on the afterlife is not a view, but a belief, inasmuch as we don’t really know and following Kant we can’t really know even if we tried. So you are not non-believing. Your belief in the non-existence of an afterlife is pretty much the standard belief today.

    Judaism has survived without eschatology because it hasn’t had to run a real society. It used to be a petty kingdom which collapsed every score years, and its been a diaspora cult for very long now. So its enough to function as a tribal cult. Jews are outsiders after all, as long as they keep cohesion and a certain level of intellectual performance, they can live off providing services to the peasants around them. Again nationalism is the next best cohesive besides religion, a surrounded people can perform very well just out of self-preservation instinct.

    So the question remains, you think a moral code can be sustained without supernatural authority. How so? You don’t say. Nobody has ever. We can make up some utilitarian codes between intellectuals, but that doesn’t work ultimately. You can’t answer ‘why?’.

    I don’t think Christianity claims its legitimacy from its jewish roots, but I’m no theologian.
    But anyway Christianity is dead, the Bible is a pile of shit, and people see modern science and don’t see a humanlike God. You see the human body, the world map, the galaxy’s structure and you don’t see circles and symmetry and those things that the ancients thought obvious. From an aesthetic point of view its hard to argue for a father-like God who created us and is looking for us. Intelligent design is pretty poor design as it looks.

    Yet again liberalism is suicidal. Baha’i has the same problem of Christianity, axiomatic human equality, i.e. human worship. We need an eugenic religion. Lest we end up like modern Catholic cardinals bragging about how many billions of black Africans are pumping out babies for Christ.

  3. The Reluctant Apostate November 10, 2011 at 01:44

    See, you are playing with language. Your ‘view’ on the afterlife is not a view, but a belief, inasmuch as we don’t really know and following Kant we can’t really know even if we tried. So you are not non-believing. Your belief in the non-existence of an afterlife is pretty much the standard belief today.

    I don’t see how I am playing with language. If you re-read what I wrote, you will find that I referred to it my view on the afterlife as a belief. My use of nonbeliever is pretty standard when referring to those who do not accept any of the given religions from Christianity to Islam to Buddhism to Hinduism, on and on and on, so I don’t see much merit in your objection. Obviously, there are atheists who try to shift the meaning of the word “belief”, but I am not one of them. Nonbeliever here refers to nonbelief in [religion], where in the context I used it, [religion] is all standard religions.

    Judaism has survived without eschatology because it hasn’t had to run a real society.

    I will agree that Judaism cannot function as a hegemonic religion outside of its homeland, and at the moment, they’re having some difficulty even doing that. However, I’m not sure that that’s a result of their beliefs concerning the afterlife. I’d also say that I’m not sure it’s entirely accurate to say that Judaism lacks beliefs concerning the afterlife. After all, one of the areas of contention between the Pharisees and the Sadducees from Jesus’ time was over the resurrection of the dead, which the Pharisees, the forefathers of modern Judaism believed in. Jewish religious tribalism is more rooted in the importance of ancestors (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob/Israel, Moses, etc.) and doctrines of the chosen people and the granting of Canaan to this Israelites, all of which is incredibly ethnocentric in nature and doesn’t really allow for the type of hegemony allowed by Christianity.

    So the question remains, you think a moral code can be sustained without supernatural authority. How so? You don’t say. Nobody has ever. We can make up some utilitarian codes between intellectuals, but that doesn’t work ultimately. You can’t answer ‘why?’.

    Well, part of it is that I think the notion that people actually derive their moral code from religion is a fiction. Certainly, moral codes are shaped by religions and other top-down forces, but ultimately, you will find differences in how morality is expressed by a Frenchman, an Englishman, and an American, even if all three are Roman Catholic. Morality is ultimately rooted in social agreement and while the positing of some deity with a formal code is one mechanism. Living in the United States as I do, it’s actually pretty hard to envision how our morality could be determined from divine fiat. While ≈85% of the population is Christian, there are actually a multitude of different denominations within that group who have much different interpretations of scriptures from each other and often communities. Furthermore, hardly any Christians strictly follow the laws of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, which are the actual laws that God purportedly laid down, so if God were the source of morality, you’d expect many more people following Kosher restrictions, for instance. My view is that morality is an intrinsic property of any human society and it will exist, independent of supernatural beliefs. Those beliefs can play a role in sculpting morality, but they are not the origin.

    Yet again liberalism is suicidal. Baha’i has the same problem of Christianity, axiomatic human equality, i.e. human worship. We need an eugenic religion. Lest we end up like modern Catholic cardinals bragging about how many billions of black Africans are pumping out babies for Christ.

    The question is how such a religion would be structured. One of the qualities that have made Christianity and Islam so successful was that they were willing to discard the importance of ethnic differences. Otherwise, why would non-Jews become Christians? Why would non-Arabs become Muslims? Both religions have the stamp of their originating tribal cults: Christianity from Judaism and Islam from an Arabicized Judaism (replacing Isaac with Ishmael, for instance) and Christianity.

    Unfortunately for Europeans, the pre-Christian tribal religions of Europe have largely been stamped out. I’m not convinced that this is altogether bad, as the older religions encouraged a tribal structure that would have led to a much different Europe than we see today, but it’s difficult to have a conventional religion if it doesn’t seem to have ancient roots to give it legitimacy. Yes, I know that there’s Ásatrú and Wiccanism among other neo-Pagan followings, but they seem pretty feeble and given that they are tied to particular groups of Europeans, they would likely lead to a fragmented religious landscape if used as the roots of a new religion.

    Part of the reason that Christianity preserves the Old Testament which is essentially Jewish lore is that Jesus derives his legitimacy from the Jewish doctrine of the messiah and his supposed fulfillment of Jewish prophesy (much of the Gospel is structured around showing Jesus to be a fulfillment of a wide range of prophesies from the Old Testament). Even recently invented religions such as Mormonism and Baha’i show the marks of their parent religion (American Protestantism for Mormonism and Shia Islam for Baha’i).

    Post-WWII, of course, any hope of a dominant eugenic ideology in the West was set back as it now seems to be mainstream consensus that eugenics is what made the Nazis evil (as opposed to any number of their other doctrines). Another problem is that for most hegemonic religions, there needs to be a strong hand that essentially forces it on the people and in the post-Industrial environment, power, knowledge, and understanding have become decentralized such that I have a hard time imagining a religion ever exerting the same amount of influence that Christianity once did in Europe.

  4. spandrell November 10, 2011 at 12:09

    I don’t mean that morality must be based on ‘a’ religion, say Christianity or Islamic’s legal minutiae.
    I mean that morality must be based ultimately in the threat of hell, or some kind of divine punishment. And conversely that long term planning is only possible if there is a belief in some sort of divine prize after death. Why should I care about anything beyond my death, if it doesn’t concern me? How can any society plan for the long term if the individuals taking decisions think they will disappear in 30 years time?

    If you frame culture as an evolutionary process, well of course morality is a societal agreement. But philosophically, theologically, and Western societies have been based on quite advanced theology for some time, you need to be able to answer logically to any challenges to the system.

    So if some Voltaire or Cromwell comes around and asks ‘Why should the King rule?’, you need a logical framework to answer that. Of course Kings rule because of historical circumstances which produced feudalism and a concentration of power within, but people don’t think that way. People think of reasons and legitimacy. So when somebody asks ‘why is fornication bad?’ or ‘why is polygamy wrong?’ or ‘why is it wrong to steal bread if I’m hungry?’ you can’t just answer “because we agreed on these laws”. Europe developed the concept of Natural Law, i.e. societal norms must be based on God’s will. And God’s will is important because he can take us to everlasting hell if we don’t heed it.

    As for particular religions, of course they are all wholly inadequate. Paganism were regional tribal cults, what we need is a steel hard theology that justifies eugenics and is not based on ancient agricultural mores. The developed world is suiciding out of sheer boredom, we need to give people a new purpose for life.

  5. The Reluctant Apostate November 11, 2011 at 08:01

    Why should I care about anything beyond my death, if it doesn’t concern me?

    Good question. I suspect that some secularists would take the standard nihilistic and/or hedonistic view and say that you shouldn’t care. However, I do not see my own experiences as my ideological basis of action. From my perspective, my state of mind–whether I’m happy, sad, angry, or afraid–is a means to an end as part of a broader strategy. That strategy is an unintentional one, but one that has successfully resulted in the indefinite replication of a set of molecules that through my parents became my genetic code. From that perspective, it seems foolish to privilege a certain short term state of mind as an end to be reached rather than recognizing it as part of a greater unintentional strategy. As such, I seek to ally myself with that unintentional strategy and pursue actions that allow my potential children and their potential children and so on to flourish in the future and the persistence of those who look at the world through eyes similar to my own.

    Many find this view to be unglamourous, others may find it hard to follow, and still others may find other reasons to object, so I recognize that it may not do well as a universal philosophy or even one followed by all members of a given society. Of course, there’s always the suspicion that I just naturally tend toward long term thinking and that the above explanation is merely the rationalization of a tendency I would follow whether or not I believed what I have just written.

    So if some Voltaire or Cromwell comes around and asks ‘Why should the King rule?’, you need a logical framework to answer that.

    This is a very good point. One of the functions of a religion is that it provides a common code that all can turn to during times of uncertainty and which can provide justification for actions taken in the face of doubt. I’m not sure whether you are literally calling for a defense of monarchy against republicanism or whether that was a figurative flourish of rhetoric, but if the former, I should hope that such a proposed religion would also have features to guide the King’s hand in the right direction.

    The developed world is suiciding out of sheer boredom, we need to give people a new purpose for life.

    I’m not sure that boredom is the cause, but I agree that the West needs a new direction.

  6. spandrell November 11, 2011 at 10:31

    As such, I seek to ally myself with that unintentional strategy and pursue actions that allow my potential children and their potential children and so on to flourish in the future and the persistence of those who look at the world through eyes similar to my own.

    As I said in my first post I do feel like there is an incipient theology based on biology, i.e. giving a mystic sense to the evolutionary process. I can understand what you mean, sort of that empirical observations show that there are X biological processes which determine most things, so you believe X to have a transcendent, if unknown meaning, and feel that following X is the right thing to do. Its Darwinian teleology, so to speak.

    Its a valid philosophical point but you need more complete metaphysics to really give it real meaning. I can only but encourage you to think further on those lines, to see where you can get to. We all should push ourselves to come up with better metaphysics.

    I should hope that such a proposed religion would also have features to guide the King’s hand in the right direction.

    Maybe you’re not familiar with Mencius Moldbug’s sort of revival of monarchist thought. I’m not sold on the idea, but the fact remains that republicanism is a particular Western phenomenon, and it happened mostly on ideological reasons. So I think its a good yardstick. The Kings lost their head because they couldn’t justify their existence. Whites might lose their genotype because they can’t justify it either.

    Thanks for the discussion, its been very refreshing.

  7. Olave d'Estienne November 20, 2011 at 23:19

    Interesting thoughts.

    One thing I realized a few weeks ago when thinking about the Bible was, as a non-religious resident of a historically-Christian country, I know hardly anything about the New Testament. Revelation is the basis for a whole genre of horror movie, of course, and the gospels are familiar enough, but there is some other stuff in there that gets glossed over … at least in comparison with the inordinate amount of attention that people pay to Leviticus and other aspects of Jewish law that, according Paul at least, don’t actually even apply to Christians.

    So anyway, I bought a nice King James version of the New Testament at Amazon. I figure KJV is the most literarily important, as well as the most British and least globalist of the versions I’m likely to encounter.

  8. spandrell November 21, 2011 at 00:05

    I read the NT in my teens but it failed to cause any deep impression. It doesn’t have a law, so its more a fancy piece of literature than anything else. The diversity of Christian sects today shows well that the NT has no clear meaning. Else it wouldn’t be used to justify everything as it is today.

    If you’re a native english speaker you can’t go wrong with King James. AFAIK.

  9. Pingback: We need a new religion, 2 | Bloody shovel

  10. Silenus December 29, 2011 at 09:24

    Why not go the whole hog and become a Singularitarianism?

    • spandrell December 29, 2011 at 14:09

      Its not half bad, but how do you sell that? I’d say you need something more dumbed-down for the masses to feel that special feeling of communion and purpose.

  11. Pingback: Secession | Bloody shovel

  12. Pingback: The balance of the natural and social world | Bloody shovel

Please comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s