Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Good Read: The Rise of Secular Religion, By David P. Goldman ("Spengler")

This is an interesting essay, walking us through some of the sacraments of the Secular Church. 

It is a response to this essay "The Things We Share", in which a Catholic author (Joseph Bottum) makes his case for same sex marriage. I'm not so interested in this essay, but I am posting it as a point of reference. 

What I am interested in is this:

When people don't have religion, or G-d in their lives they fill their life with all kinds of silly and progressively narcissistic things. 

So as per Goldman: 

"Today’s American liberalism, it is often remarked, amounts to a secular religion: it has its own sacred texts and taboos, Crusades and Inquisitions. The political correctness that undergirds it, meanwhile, can be traced back to the past century’s liberal Protestantism. Conservatives, of course, routinely scoff that liberals’ ersatz religion is inferior to the genuine article."

"Joseph Bottum, by contrast, examines post-Protestant secular religion with empathy, and contends that it gained force and staying power by recasting the old Mainline Protestantism in the form of catechistic worldly categories: anti-racism, anti-gender discrimination, anti-inequality, and so forth. 

"What sustains the heirs of the now-defunct Protestant consensus, he concludes, is a sense of the sacred, but one that seeks the security of personal salvation through assuming the right stance on social and political issues."

"Precisely because the new secular religion permeates into the pores of everyday life, it sustains the certitude of salvation and a self-perpetuating spiritual aura. Secularism has succeeded on religious terms. That is an uncommon way of understanding the issue, and a powerful one."

(Not so new though, Ann Coulter has written extensively on this topic with devastating wit and wisdom.) 

"While the children of the Mainline occupy themselves with yoga, organic gardening and expanded gender identities (Facebook now offers more than fifty categories to choose from), popular culture becomes moribund."

"The 20th century’s variations of the social gospel seem genteel next to what populates America’s metaphysical realm today. Americans spend more time with supernatural monsters than ever did the Christians of the Middle Ages, from vampires to zombies to demons of every hue. In 2012, the horror genre supplied one out of eight American feature films; a decade ago it was roughly one out of twenty-five."

"Strip away divine immortality from American spirituality, and it embraces the undead variety."