25 11 11 - 12:10One of the biggest discoveries of life outside academia for me was how religion, like philosophy, is a language.
Once you stop trying to treat religion as literal, in the way that both atheists and fundamentalists do, you start seeing it as a symbolic language for discovering the invisible order of the cosmos.
Why do I say invisible? Why do you say the sun will rise tomorrow? We trust in intangible, non-immediate events based on there being reasons for their occurrence. That is the invisible order.
At some level, all religions succumb to this.
For example you can declare your religion to be Satanic, but if you end up preaching humanism, how far are you from Christianity? If you preach materialism, how far are you from atheism?
Even within Christianity, there are many sects. Are you a Joel Osteen Christian, or a Meister Ekhart Christian? (You could well call the former a superstition, and the latter a subset of Advaita Vedanta).
The ancient knew this and so constructed a pantheon of gods. In this, each god is not a moral force, but a description of one aspect of nature. Loki is the tendency toward chaos in the universe, or in other words that which tests the resolve of a made-up mind. Even within Christianity, you have a quasi-pantheon. Judas is the acceptance of the inevitable decline of all things; Satan is pride and a lack of obedience to God.
Naturally, all religions are destroyed by the same thing: Crowdism, or the desire of a huge group of incompetent/incontinent/selfish/delusional people to make their preferences into Truth, so that they may use that pseudo-Truth to subvert those who are ruling through natural ability. Christianity, for example, is nothing more than an aggregate of religions from India, Greece, Babylon, Italy and assorted tribes in the area. Like all other religions, Christianity is a description of the same world we all live in. Multiple religions can be true at the same time because multiple descriptions, through symbolism, of the same thing can be reasonably accurate. Multiple religions can also be wrong at the same time; a single religion can be wrong; most damningly, interpretations of each religion can be wrong.
How does Crowdism affect a religion?
In the twentieth century, we often think of Nietzsche, nihilism, and the death of God as inextricably connected. But, in this pathbreaking work, Michael Allen Gillespie argues that Nietzsche, in fact, misunderstood nihilism, and that his misunderstanding has misled nearly all succeeding thought about the subject. Reconstructing nihilism's intellectual and spiritual origins before it was given its determinative definition by Nietzsche, Gillespie focuses on the crucial turning points in the development of nihilism, from Ockham and the nominalist revolution to Descartes, Fichte, the German Romantics, the Russian nihilists and Nietzsche himself. His analysis shows that nihilism is not the result of the death of God, as Nietzsche believed, but the consequence of a new idea of God as a God of will who overturns all eternal standards of truth and justice. - Stinkfinger
People want to think that evil is outside of us.
The truth is that evil is error, or directionless activity, and it comes from within us.
We'd all love a scapegoat -- the bankers, the rich, the Christians, the Jews, the women, the men, the Negroes, the Masons, the hackers, the anarchists (although these are removable), etc. -- but the fact is that that individual moral decisions are what make us what we are as a society. Those moral decisions start with a single one, which is "Do I prefer my own thoughts to reality?" -- if you answer yes, expect yourself to go down a path that leads through mundane and inoffensive rationalizations all the way to great evil. If you answer the latter, expect to start realizing exactly what it means over the years. It's a great weight. Most would prefer not to carry it. Yet it must be carried.
Crowdism starts with one person answering yes, and then convincing others to answer yes to his yes, and soon you have a circle-jerk of people insisting that Truth is not what reality is. They then create a social force, like fashion or trends, to enforce this on others. It's how all things -- civilizations, church groups, dioceses, covens, underground Nazi armies, etc. -- die out. They die from within through the moral failings of individualism.
Crowdists naturally fear that analysis and so will do anything they can to insist on "equality," or the notion that all of our decisions are OK and we should not face consequences for any of them. It's their way of allowing us to slip outside reality and then, using social "justice," to violently subdue anyone who points out that we are racing down a path to insanity.
Christianity was afflicted by this early on because, as an aggregate, it's more like a dictionary than a guidebook. It gives infinite options for making arguments, with the thought that only the really smart interpret it correctly and use it toward positive ends. Among those really smart, the Meister Eckhart and J.R.R. Tolkien types, you find a preference for a monistic, conservative, ethno-nationalist, almost Satanic system in which vengeance upon the bad and exaltation for the good (at the expense of the little people) is part of the religion. It worships evil and the conflict with evil as that which gives meaning to life.
There is a view of life which holds that where the crowd is, the truth is also, that it is a need in truth itself, that it must have the crowd on its side.] There is another view of life; which holds that wherever the crowd is, there is untruth, so that, for a moment to carry the matter out to its farthest conclusion, even if every individual possessed the truth in private, yet if they came together into a crowd (so that âthe crowdâ received any decisive, voting, noisy, audible importance), untruth would at once be let in.
There is therefore no one who has more contempt for what it is to be a human being than those who make it their profession to lead the crowd.
A crowd is indeed made up of single individuals; it must therefore be in everyoneâs power to become what he is, a single individual; no one is prevented from being a single individual, no one, unless he prevents himself by becoming many. - SÃ¸ren Kierkegaard, The Crowd is Untruth, 1847 via Out of Sleep
The history of Christianity in the West is one of Pagan Christianity. That is to say, Pagans viewed Christianity as another depiction of an eternal truth. This is the sanest approach as it allows your values as Pagans to ultimately win. Pagans thus adopted Christianity, but only at a high cost, which was that Christianity had to accept the Pagans with their attitudes. The history of European conquest has been an internal struggle between the egalitarian forces in Christianity and the Pagan forces trying to civilize it.
In this light, in which all religions are languages describing an eternal truth that cannot be described, we can see how all religions are describable in terms of each other, but how each has hidden truth from the prying eyes of the crowd. Religions favor those who study for years, not those who pick up a holy book and try to use it to prove their product/jihad/campaign/multiculturalism.
At this blog, we will always respect the eternal truth, and any who use any language to describe it well. What we will not respect are those who insist that Truth be separate from reality.