religion, sex and craziness

Audacious Epigone has an interesting graph on religious affiliation, sex and mental health. What makes it interesting is that there really aren’t any surprises there at all. Women are crazier than men, Christians are slightly less crazy than atheists, Jews are crazier than Christians. Muslims are the least likely to have mental health problems, which makes sense since their religion isn’t a dead religion.

And the craziest group of all? Jewish women. Which pretty much explains the entire history of the feminist movement.

It’s not very often that one has the pleasure to see a graph that confirms all of one’s cherished stereotypes!


the future of religion, part 2 – Islamised Europe or a European Islam

On the subject of the future of religion another post at A Political Refugee From the Global Village asks Will the future see an Islamised Europe or a European Islam?

Personally I’m not convinced that either is inevitable because I’m not convinced that even Islam can stop the steamroller progress of the death cult of secular liberalism.

I also fear that a European Islam might be a bit like modern Christianity – in other words basically secular liberalism with a few quasi-religious trappings. Of course Islam does lack some of Christianity’s worst weaknesses, such as the masochistic turn the other cheek stuff and the cult of hugs and feelings. Islam might be better able to resist the feminising tendencies.

What it comes down to is a religion’s ability to fight off the poison of feminism, and it’s an insidious and deadly poison indeed.

A European Islam, or even an Islamised Europe, would certainly be preferable to the sewer that liberalism has in store for us.

I should make the point (and this applies to my previous post as well) that these speculations about the religious future of society do not represent the future I would like to see. The future I would like to see is a return to something very like the pre-Reformation unity of Christendom, and something very like pre-Reformation Christianity. Unfortunately I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Of the futures that are actually likely to happen, or are at least possible, most are rather unpalatable. The religious fascism I speculated about in my previous post and a Europeanised Islam are not the futures one would have hoped for. It’s a matter of choosing the least worst option. Secular liberalism offers a never-ending descent into degeneracy and decadence and despair. Any alternative would be better than that.

the future of religion

A recent post at A Political Refugee From the Global Village tackles the question of finding a substitute for belief in God. This is a question that people like Jordan Peterson seem to be grappling with, although in Peterson’s case without any success.

The first question to ask is whether any society has managed to survive without religion. The answer is, it depends on what you mean by religion. Did the classical Greeks and Romans actually believe in their gods? Or in any god at all? They seemed to be pretty sceptical but the fragmentary nature of the sources makes it difficult to know just how much the average person in the classical world believed in religion.

One of the strongest arguments in favour of religion is that it provides the only viable foundation for morality. I think it should be noted that if the classical world was characterised by scepticism it was also characterised by depressingly low levels of morality.

What about Asian civilisations such as Imperial China? Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and Shintoism don’t seem to be religions in quite the same way that Christianity or Islam are religions. Nonetheless they seem to have worked fairly well as the basis for building civilisations and they seem to have done rather better on the morality front than the Greeks and Romans.

It might therefore be possible to base a genuine civilisation on a religion that is more like a civic or communal faith than the relationship with a personal God that is the way most of us think about Christianity. It has to be stressed however that the great danger is that such a religion will be wishy-washy and vague and woolly-minded and hopelessly feminised, just like modern Christianity. That just isn’t going to work. What is needed is a civic religion that is strong and virile and hard-headed.

There has to be a focus of devotion and if it’s not a personal God then there seem to be only two alternatives – the focus has to be worship of the state or worship of a king. Kings are hopelessly out of fashion and the ridiculous and pathetic constitutional monarchies of Europe have discredited the idea of monarchy altogether. The focus of devotion is therefore going to be the state.

That sounds like plain old totalitarianism but it isn’t, or at least not necessarily. The totalitarian societies have that so far come into being have been little more than slave states, with ordinary people being nothing more than anonymous cogs in a machine. A state religion could, perhaps, offer a great deal more. It could offer a genuine sense of purpose with the people being part of the state rather than servants of the state. It would be a very difficult trick to pull off but it might be possible.

Such a system could be described as a kind of religious fascism. It could incorporate some elements of Christianity and of paganism.

The question is, is there a viable alternative? Liberals like Jordan Peterson would like to think we could have a kind of touchy-feely secular religiosity that is compatible with liberal democracy. This is mere delusion. Liberal democracy is a dead end. It offers nothing but futility, emptiness and death. It is a death cult. What is needed is something that would allow us to sweep liberal democracy into the dustbin of history. Whatever the future turns out to be like Jordan Peterson is not going to like it. He’s going to be doing a lot of crying.

rebuilding European demographics

Let’s assume that eventually the anti-immigration argument succeeds and the flood of immigrants into the West is stopped. OK, it seems very unlikely but let’s just assume it anyway. What is the next step?

Western countries like Britain, France, the United States and Sweden are already in a mess. Clearly it’s not going to be enough merely to stop immigration. Those countries need to be restored to functionality and even more importantly they need to be restored to the status of civilised nations. For one thing that means the apparatus of totalitarianism that has been slowly built up over the past half century needs to be dismantled. I am assuming that what we in the anti-immigration camp want is for these nations to be restored to something like the state they were in in the 1950s before the process of de-civilisation got seriously underway.

So what would need to be done? There are many who would like to see the demographic balances of the 50s restored. It’s certainly an attractive idea but could it really be done? Bismarck famously said that politics is the art of the possible, and I’m not entirely sure that  a restoration of 1950s demographics falls within the range of the possible. Existing nationalist parties have had little success even though their policies are very much more moderate than this.

It seems to me that there are four options.

1 Mass deportations to forcible restore 1950s demographics.

2 Selective deportations to achieve a more favourable demographic balance.

3 Assimilation of existing immigrants.

4 Segregation.

Option 1 is almost certainly impossible and could in any case only be carried out by a government with such sweeping powers that it would have the potential to be more totalitarian than our current system.

Option 2 appeals to a lot of people who think our problems could be solved by expelling all members of a certain religion. The Spanish did this fairly successfully after the Reconquista in the late 15th century but they needed the Inquisition to make it work. A modern attempt would need something very similar to the Inquisition.

Enforcing deportations (or immigration bans) on religious lines is not simple. How exactly do you decide if someone actually belongs to the religion in question? Do you deport everyone who was born a Muslim? Or only practising Muslims? How do you define practising? If someone claims that they have abandoned their religion or converted to a different religion can you believe them? The Spanish (no doubt wisely) were not inclined to take people’s word for it that they had sincerely converted to Catholicism. It was the Inquisition’s job to make sure.

The Spanish Inquisition in fact was not particularly brutal or even particularly oppressive. Much of its evil reputation is due to the anti-Catholicism that dominated English intellectual life for so many centuries (Henry Kamen’s excellent book on the subject which I reviewed here is worth a read). But nonetheless it was certainly intrusive and I cannot imagine that a modern version is ever likely to be politically acceptable or even desirable.

We also need to ask ourselves if deporting people for their religious beliefs is a wise precedent to establish. It could just as easily be turned against adherents of other religions, especially Christianity. It’s worth remembering that our political establishment hates Christianity a lot more than it hates Islam. They’d be overjoyed to have the opportunity to ban Christian immigrants and to deport existing Christians.

On the whole any kind of large-scale deportation, whether selective or not, seems to me to be impractical and to involve very real potential dangers.

That brings us to Option 3, assimilation. This might be an unpopular thing to say but this is actually my least favoured option. For various reasons.

Firstly, it doesn’t work particularly well and it works least well with the very people who are most likely to be a social problem.

Secondly, you have to have a viable host culture for the immigrants to assimilate to. We no longer have that. Assimilation means embracing the core values of a culture and what are the core values of our civilisation? Mindless consumerism, greed, celebrity worship,  homosexual marriage, abortion on demand, promiscuity, pornography, transgender bathroom rights and feminism. Why would anyone want to assimilate to a death cult like modern western civilisation? Why would we want to encourage anyone to do so? Do we really need more crazy blue-haired feminist harpies?

Thirdly, I just don’t like the idea of assimilation. It means cutting oneself off from one’s history and cultural traditions. It means betraying one’s loyalties. Essentially it means becoming a rootless cosmopolitan and do we really need any more rootless cosmopolitans? It means you end up with a society with no actual culture (just a veneer of trash pop culture), no shared traditions, no shared history. You end up with a society that will be more and more inclined to embrace the very forces that have led us to ruin – liberal democracy, consumerism and capitalism. You end up with a society more likely to welcome totalitarianism and more likely to worship the state since they have nothing else of substance in which to believe. The descent into degeneracy will continue unchecked.

Option 4 is the one likely to provoke howls of outrage but some kind of segregation might well be the best solution for everyone. Something like the millet system in the Ottoman Empire, whereby different faiths can essentially live under their own laws and preserve their own cultures. This might seem like a very unattractive solution but it might be the best hope for preserving at least a remnant of European civilisation.

is the USA already post-Christian?

One of the more astonishing phenomena of our times is the speed at which the United States is becoming a post-Christian nation.

Of course Christianity has been declining throughout the West for at least a couple of centuries. The decline has however been a gradual one. Until three decades ago it seemed like the United States was bucking the overall trend. In the 1980s the Religious Right still had immense political clout and this was based on the fact that conservative Christians (especially Evangelical Christians) really did form an enormous voting bloc. They had power and that power was based on numbers.

Since the 80s it seems to have been all downhill, at a very rapid pace.

It’s worth taking a look at Pew Research’s Religious Landscape Study. They did two very extensive surveys seven years apart, in 2007 and 2014. In that short time span the percentage of the American population identifying as Christians fell from 78% to 71%. It was not just a relative decline – the absolute numbers fell from 178 million to 173 million.

Mainline Protestants fell from 41 to 36 million. Evangelical Christians are holding their own in terms of absolute numbers but declining as a share of the population. Catholics have declined in both absolute and relative terms.

And this is in just seven years.

If you’re a Christian there are other even more disturbing trends in the survey. The number of people identifying as out-and-out atheists has jumped sharply. These are people who are not merely irreligious, but anti-religion. And the decline in Christian belief has been most dramatic among Millennials, and most dramatic of all among the younger Millennials.

Of course there are always problems with surveys such as this. If the US was still 71% Christian then everything that has happened in the past thirty years would have been impossible and incomprehensible. Obviously the vast majority of those who identify as Christian for the purpose of surveys are not Christian in any meaningful sense. That has almost certainly been the case for at least a century. The difficulty is to estimate how many of these people are genuine believers who actually practise their religion and it’s a formidable difficulty. It would also be useful to know not just how many supposed Christians are merely nominal Christians but how this compares to other religions.

It’s also possible that being a Christian doesn’t mean what it used to mean. We’ve seen the hierarchies of most churches become more and more liberal and secular in outlook but does this apply to the ordinary rank-and-file church members? While I would suspect that most members of the rank and file are considerably less liberal than their leaders I would also suspect that they are a lot more liberal than the general run of church-goers half a century ago. If the latter is true then the prospects for any genuine revival of Christianity are grim.

It’s also worth noting that the churches that have tried hardest to survive by compromising with liberalism are the ones that are dying out most quickly. I have very mixed feelings about the Evangelicals but they do seem to be doing significantly better than the other Christian churches.

There’s another interesting conclusion to be drawn from all this. There was a popular idea a while back that Christianity would survive simply because Christians have more children than secularists. That idea is clearly completely wrong. Christians almost certainly are having more children but a very large proportion of those children end up being secular liberals. This is a subject I addressed a while back in my post conservative delusions – the War of the Cradle.

Catholic converts vs cradle Catholics

There’s an interesting post at A Political Refugee From the Global Village, Anthony Burgess on Catholic converts, on Catholic converts vs cradle Catholics. I’m not a Catholic so I’m not really in a position to have any kind of dogmatic opinion on this subject. I was intrigued though by the suggestion that cradle Catholics tended to react to Vatican II by shrugging their shoulders and accepting it, while Catholic converts like Evelyn Waugh saw it as an unmitigated disaster.

My instincts tell me that the Catholic converts were probably correct in this case.

Converts do seem to be generally speaking more zealous than those raised in a particular creed, whether that creed is a religion or a political ideology. Converts to communism back in the pre-World War 2 period tended to be very extreme, sometimes even to the extent of becoming Soviet spies. Were they more zealous than the so-called “red diaper” babies of the postwar period, who absorbed communism with their mother’s milk? I’m not quite sure.

Converts to cults and fads (such as veganism) are of course usually very gung-ho.

And social justice warriors are often converted to the cause at university so that might explain some of their fanaticism.

The various dissident right groups (alt-right, neo-reactionaries, whatever) are of course comprised entirely of converts, which might have interesting consequences.

Getting back to religion, perhaps one reason for the weakness of modern Christianity is that it’s just not making converts on a large scale any longer. Perhaps a religion needs the zeal of converts to keep it vital and alive?

the trouble with paganism

I’ve been reading Dan McCoy’s The Love of Destiny: The Sacred and the Profane in Germanic Polytheism which I guess could be described as an exercise in neo-pagan apologetics.

The problem of religion is one that has been exercising my mind for quite some time. I’m fairly clear about the natures of the problem. I don’t think atheism is healthy for society and I don’t think it’s healthy for the individual. What I’m not clear about is the solution to the problem.
It’s a problem that many (possibly even most) people in the dissident right, alt-right or whatever you want to use as an umbrella term for such groups are aware of. The two most popular solutions are a revived Christianity or some form of neo-paganism. It’s the neo-pagan solution I’m concerned with at the moment.
I understand the attraction of the neo-pagan solution. Christianity hasn’t done much of a job of defending our civilisation in the past century or so and neo-paganism has the advantage of offering a distinctively European alternative. Blood and soil and all that.
I have however always had reservations about neo-paganism. This is a short summary of my reservations (and as you’ll see they’re all pretty much related). 
Firstly, any kind of polytheistic religion by its very nature will tend towards fragmentation. There was a time when the whole of Europe was pagan but it was certainly not a golden age of religious unity. At the time that wasn’t a major problem but what we need today is unity.
Secondly, neo-paganism has always been short on doctrine. Certainly very short on anything approaching a unified doctrine. Within incredibly broad limits you can more or less choose your own beliefs. Every man can in effect have his own private religion. The difficulty with that is that it must inevitably lead to the kind of atomisation and sense of alienation which are the very things that make liberalism so deadly. One of the functions of religion is to bring people together, not to divide them.
Thirdly, there’s no standardised neo-pagan morality. Each cult can adopt its own morality and in practice every individual can adopt his or her own moral standards. Obviously that’s a recipe for social chaos.
Fourthly, neo-paganism can very easily become just a vague woolly New Age spirituality. Even worse, it can become a sort of glorified pantheism. And pantheism is itself a sort of glorified atheism.
Fifthly, not only is neo-paganism not conducive to social discipline it’s also not conducive to self-discipline. It’s an open door to every kind of self-indulgence – moral, intellectual, emotional and spiritual.
McCoy is aware of these weaknesses but unfortunately he considers them to be features, not bugs. This is one of the many disturbing things about this book.
McCoy starts out in his introduction by assuring us that he has no animus against the monotheistic religions. We then move on to the first half of the book which is a sustained, hysterical, intellectually incoherent attack on what he considers to be the many evils of the three great monotheistic religions. Interestingly enough for McCoy the three great monotheistic religions are Judaism, Christianity and Science. His main beef with these religions seems to be that they’re anti-Nature and moralistic. For McCoy Nature is all good and morality is all bad. Because we’re all part of Nature, man, and it’s all good because, well, it’s just all good because it is. Morality of course is bad ’cause it’s oppressive, man. This is pretty much the hippie worldview.
The second half of this brief volume is marginally more interesting, giving us a brief rundown on Norse mythology and the Northern European pagan worldview. The problem here is that, to me at least, that worldview sounds impossibly bleak, fatalistic and depressing. Submitting to fate seems to be the essence of it. 
Of course it would be unfair to dismiss neo-paganism out of hand based on this one book. Nonetheless this book does confirm every one of my worst fears on the weaknesses of neo-paganism and the unlikelihood that it is going to be of much use in saving our civilisation. Mind you I suspect that the author would not be bothered by this, since civilisation is oppressive, man.