On the subject of religion
(placing nihilism in a historical perspective)
Sometimes people write to us and want us to engage in their hunt after various "enemies": Jews, Negroes, Christians, Homosexuals etc. They've often noticed we think less of multiculturalism, democracy and the Judeo-Christian beliefs, that we promote realism, and that we think Jesus is a passive-aggressive loser, only serving the current economical trend of "equality" and "justice". They put together some emotionally charged texts and send them over, expecting us to join them in the (un)holy crusade against Christ and his followers.
While this is late night entertainment in between all important work, it's a logical fallacy to: (a) think we're interested in becoming another "hate-group", lashing out against problems instead of solving them, (b) think we're all atheists, and (c) joining the current trend of mocking Christianity. While it in many European countries 100-200 years ago was strictly forbidden to even doubt the existence of God, it has today become a popular thing to engage in the form of "scientific materialism" that has got its claws around the numb minds of the modernists: "Since I cannot see, touch or hear God, he doesn't exist - therefore Christianity sucks".
What this in simplified terms means, is that we should all hang on to the physical side of reality and deny the abstract one. That the same kind of materialism is pure morality, which in turn contradicts the statement of there not being a non-materialistic side to reality, does never bother these "anti-Christian crusaders" of the 21st century. They're happy to kick Jesus in the crouch and congratulate themselves with representing a "truthful" and "scientific" point of view, where everything they believe in is based on "facts" (as if our modern worldview of humanistic "truths" had led us into Heaven already). The business men rub their hands together, smile and exclaim: here's a new way of making fast money - start creating "anti-Christian" products and sell them to the kids, they'll love it. The unsuspecting youngsters lap it up as if it was Christmas time. This "lifestyle" is no different than being a liberal, "hiphopper", leftist or an "emo"; money's the game and they know you're insane.
While this in itself is laughable, considering that materialism probably must be the ultimate form of Judeo-Christian morality, atheism is another topic that comes to mind. While ANUS is not a religious movement per se, it's definitely against any form of superstitious materialism. If some choose to be atheists, then that is up to them -- we do not really care. As for religious beliefs, it seems to me that ANUS appreciates the naturalistic and idealistic forms of spiritualism, seen in ancient Indo-European religions as well as in pantheistic beliefs. One could say that we prefer the kind of people that are able to perceive reality on multiple levels - whether that includes an atheistic or religious form of idealism.
Therefore, when people write to us and think that we're going to publish their "important articles" on why Christianity sucks, they're barking at the wrong tree. For the same reason that we despise racism and bigot thinking, we disapprove of the kind of beliefs that at core are either reactionary or individualistic. There's a not a thing in this world that'd interest me about an "anti-Christian" article, just as I wouldn't bother listen to a long speech on why race mixing is destructive and that's that. At ANUS we tend to think in pure productive terms: if A is insane, we'll replace it with an healthy B. If A happens to be Judaism and B seems to be a naturalistic form of the same belief, then we're satisfied with that. But spending time bashing A and forgetting to introduce B, would from our point of view, be the same as glorifying A. Racists and "anti-Christians" work the same way: their focus is on being "anti", hating, and focusing on the problem itself until it becomes a religion (like with death and Christianity). Therefore they are a part of the problem, as they've failed to see why the Soviet Union broke down and why our modern society is heading towards the same path: if we have nothing to replace the current order with, we're automatically left with the lowest common denominator - and history tells us that is the root to why most great civilizations became ruins within years.
Those who write to us in order to collect more of those who lash out at any religion, belong to the same confused party. We don't hate religions and we certainly won't join in on the trend of acting smart by kicking on what's already dying - why would we? There are currently a massive overpopulation going on, cultures are being normalized down to consumerist fodder, and the politicians in power are corrupt and promote money and greed as the highest goals worth striving for in our societies. In all of this mess, why would we choose to masturbate over the obvious failure of Judeo-Christian belief? Only a self-congratulatory individual would choose to stop by the road, jump up and down on a dead horse and shout: "daddy, daddy, look here, I'm beating the shit out of this dead horse, ain't I strong?"
Instead, you will find that many of the intelligent members at this site either are Pantheists, Pagans or Hindus. They've already gotten over the death of Jesus and have instead turned their focus on their bloodline and culture, where old religious traditions and ceremonies are a natural part of the human existence. Whether they regard Krishna as a physical deity or Balder as a symbolic ideal to fight for, they've found several truths in ancient religious knowledge, that the modern beliefs of greed and individualism never would be able to provide them with. It seems like ANUS is more interested in exploring the spiritual and idealistic aspects of nihilism, rather than to resort to meaningless reactionism. Those who are able to take a walk through a magnificent forest during autumn, use nihilism to process the experience, and then paint a beautiful picture of a nature scene, are probably a hundred times more nihilistic, than a moron sitting in a clubhouse with his friends and headbanging to the newest generic "anti-Christian" black metal band, where the lyrics seem to be written by a 12-year old dysfunctional loser in an urgent need of eugenics.
However, it's easy to see why religion did gain such a bad reputation during certain time periods, such as the Enlightment. Europe was at that time in the hands of a Westernized form of a Judaic belief, claiming absolutist authority by a deity living in an external moral world, separated from our natural reality. While the criticism from humanists merely was a question of individualism ("I don't need no God, humans are the centre of the universe"), there was later on a much more relevant insight into why Judeo-Christian beliefs more or less were insane: they transformed moral laws themselves into ideals, which meant people replaced reference (reality) with symbolism (Jesus walked through water, how about we try it?).
When Romanticism spread throughout Europe, the spiritual belief once again became an important aspect of human existence. However, contrary to the traditional Christian belief, Romanticists turned the otherwise moralizing absolutism into an idealistic form of naturalism. God was in trees, in animals, in reality - in all of life. Taken to its logical conclusion, this led to the recognition of God being a spiritual force symbolizing our world, which to a philosopher translates into "integralism": the belief that we as individuals cannot be separated from the world as a whole, and that all moral evaluation from an individual standpoint should serve as a means of living in total symbiosis with the internal mechanisms of our reality.
In other words, the Romantic view on religion was that of a holistic one, opposed to the original basic foundation to Christianity: slave revolt against the aristocracy through different means of psychological warfare (pity, passive-aggressiveness, humanism). As soon as modernity rose in Europe, materialism replaced most forms of spiritual and religious beliefs. Although perhaps often disguised as "atheism", which literally only means "not believing in any God", modernists took humanism to its height when affirming the materialistic ideals: hanging on to the physical side of reality. While religion in ancient times often served as a form of communication between the paradoxal elements that reality consists out of (physical and abstract), the materialistic humanism became a channelled expression of the fear of death: every human life was sacred, seen from a pure material perspective.
While this fear of death arguably had been the core of Christianity since its early days of existence, it now became rampant and exploded into the situation we face today: people distracting themselves with anything (cell phones, black metal, jobs, drugs, sodomy) in order to escape the inherent emptiness of life and its unpleasant sides (rape, war, death). When placing nihilism in a historical perspective, it's absolutely crucial to understand the origin of thought behind the kind of post-modernistic thinking that philosophers like Nietzsche and artists like Kraftwerk managed to put into artistic sense: as soon as we strip away our morality, our guilt and our technology, we're left with the emptiness of life itself, and the more we try to "understand" it, the less we are able to assess as "truth".
From this point of view, life becomes meaningless. While Nietzsche was afraid of this form of nihilism, as he saw it as the end of noble ideals and traditions, Kraftwerk warned us of how our technology would mechanize us into lifeless robots, creating a subjective world of "important tasks" that in the end meant...nothing. This is the core of nihilism from a post-modernistic point of view: truth? There is no truth. God? God died when you stopped believing. Happiness? Nothing lasts forever. Peace? War is real. Knowledge? What do you see, but symbols of what actually exists?
As soon as people in the modern society reach this stage, they'll have lost the spiritual connection to reality, the will to fight even if the battle lacks inherent meaning, the beauty of painting landscapes even if no one is able to depict reality 100 percent objectively. Actually, according to post-modernistic "belief", we're already in this process right now. What the Hindus call "Kali Yuga", the Nordics choose to call "Ragnarök": the time when the forces of good meet the forces of evil, until both perish and become nothingness (beginning = end). It is said that after this, a new and healthy world once again will be born from the ashes of the old. Nietzsche affirmed this by never letting go of his heroism, while Kraftwerk managed to create beauty in synthpop art by manipulating the emptiness of our industrial society into a flowing stream of idealism: all those who dare to accept the emptiness of life and reject the things we choose to create in order to hide or escape from our fear of that same emptiness, are but drivers on the Autobahn. Travelling where, you ask? Ever onward my friend, ever onward...
October 17, 2006
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