Skip to comments.Explaining the Left, Part III: Leftism as Secular Religion
Posted on 08/27/2018 11:15:12 PM PDT by Kaslin
One of the most important books of the 20th century -- it remains a best-seller 59 years after it was first published -- is "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl.
Marx saw man's primary drive as economic, and Freud saw it as sex. But Frankl believed -- correctly, in my opinion -- that the greatest drive of man is meaning.
One can be poor and chaste and still be happy. But one cannot be bereft of meaning and be happy -- no matter how rich or how sexually fulfilled one may be.
The greatest provider of meaning for the vast majority of human beings has been religion. In the West, Christianity (and on a smaller scale, Judaism) provided nearly all people with the Bible, a divine or divinely inspired text to guide their lives; a religious community; answers to life's fundamental questions; and, above all, meaning: A good God governs the universe; death does not end everything; and human beings were purposefully created. In addition, Christianity gave Christians a project: spread the Good News, and bring the world to Christ. And Judaism gave Jews a project: Live by God's laws of ethics and holiness and be "a light unto the nations."
All this has disappeared for most Westerners. The Bible is regarded as myth, silly at best, malicious at worst -- there is no God, certainly not the morality-giving and judging God of the Bible; there is no afterlife; human beings are a purposeless coincidence with no more intrinsic purpose than anything else in the universe. In short: This Is All There is.
So, if the need for meaning is the greatest of all human needs and that which supplied meaning no longer does, what are millions of Westerners supposed to do?
The answer is obvious: Find meaning elsewhere. But where? Church won't provide it. Nor will marriage and family -- increasingly, secular individuals in the West eschew marriage, and even more do not have children. It turns out, to the surprise of many, that marriage and children are religious values, not human instincts. In the West today, love and marriage (and children) go together like a horse and a carriage for faithful Catholics, Orthodox Jews, religious Mormons and evangelical Protestants -- not for the secular. I know many religious families with more than four children; I do not know one secular family with more than four children (and the odds are you don't either).
The answer to the great dearth of meaning left by the death of biblical religion in the West is secular religion. The first two great secular substitutes were communism and Nazism. The first provided hundreds of millions of people with meaning; the latter provided most Germans and Austrians with meaning.
In particular, both ideologies provided the intellectual class with meaning. No groups believed in communism and Nazism more than intellectuals. Like everyone else, secular intellectuals need meaning, and when this need was combined with intellectuals' love of ideas (especially new ideas -- "new" is almost erotic in the power of its appeal to secular intellectuals), communism and Nazism became potent ideologies.
With the fall of communism and the awareness of the extent of the communist mass murder (about 100 million noncombatants) and mass enslavement (virtually all individuals in communist countries -- except for Communist Party leaders -- are essentially enslaved), communism, or at least the word "communism," fell into disrepute.
So, what were secular intellectuals to do once communism became "the god that failed"?
The answer was to create other another left-wing secular religion. And that is what leftism is: a secular meaning-giver to supplant Christianity. Left-wing religious expressions include Marxism, communism, socialism, feminism and environmentalism.
Leftism's guiding principles -- notwithstanding the principles of those Christians and Jews who claim to be religious yet hold leftist views -- are the antitheses of Judaism and Christianity's guiding principles.
Judaism and Christianity hold that people are not basically good. Leftism holds that people are basically good. Therefore, Judaism and Christianity believe evil comes from human nature, and leftism believes evil comes from capitalism, religion, the nation-state (i.e. nationalism), corporations, the patriarchy and virtually every other traditional value.
Judaism and Christianity hold that utopia on Earth is impossible -- it will only come in God's good time as a Messianic age or in the afterlife. Leftism holds that utopia is to be created here on Earth -- and as soon as possible. That is why leftists find America so contemptible. They do not compare it to other nations but to a utopian ideal -- a society with no inequality, no racism, no differences between the sexes (indeed, no sexes) and no greed in which everything important is obtained free.
Judaism and Christianity believe God and the Bible are to instruct us on how to live a good life and how the heart is the last place to look for moral guidance. Leftists have contempt for anyone who is guided by the Bible and its God, and substitute the heart and feelings for divine instruction.
There may be a clash of civilizations between the West and Islam, but the biggest clash of civilizations is between the West and the left
Yes, there is a lot of similarities between religion and leftism as secular religion. However, the Catholics have a view of salvation called “The Anonymous Christian” where other religious people and atheists can all be unwitting Christians because they have a relationship with God on a transcendental level, that they may not even be aware of, and this comes about through accepting Gods gift of grace. How they treat people tells you whether they have accepted God’s grace. People may be wrong in their ideas and judgments and deny God on a conscious level, but still accept him unconsciously.
Another interesting idea is that God came up to man from a distance (Mt Sinai) and dwelt within the Israelite camp in the Old Testament. God came closest to man when He became Jesus and lived with men in the New Testament. And then He started retreating. After the crucifixion there was only the Church left. And in our secular age the Church is dying and leaving us. But the secular age is the age most known for man’s generosity for his brethren around the world, which is THE BIG MESSAGE in the Gospel of Luke. How does a godless, secular age be so generous and caring? Maybe God got out of the way by pouring himself into his people — He became FLESH, and these people are doing his will. Further, God has given man more and more responsibility starting with the Old Testament (e.g., people were given the right to elect Kings) and now man is TOTALLY responsible for himself. God is out of the way.
This is all mysterious...
The Manson family..."it takes a village"...
>>So, if the need for meaning is the greatest of all human needs and that which supplied meaning no longer does, what are millions of Westerners supposed to do?
As a side note on this, the popularity of Jordan Peterson can be partially, maybe largely, be explained by this. And he does very subtly lead the secular, if not to religion, at least towards it.
Well said. It's plaguing our youth.
It most certainly is not generous and caring. That is just their marketing, the ubiquitous virtue signalling of this age. It is hypocrisy of the highest order.
They do it to ape Christianity but they do it completely wrong. There is no benevolence at all born of personal action. Personally, these people are bereft of any generosity. All the generosity comes at the expense of other people and it is entirely intended as a political strategy.
The left is completely motivated by hatred, not love. That is why they leave piles of bodies every time they take complete power.
Many years ago we had a daughter who was born premature and only lived for 8 hours. Because I am catholic the priest gave her an emergency baptism. She is definitely with God
Yes, and their visceral hatred for President Trump and his supporters is the visceral hatred that true believers have for heretics.
You’re right. But what I’m talking about is that people in this liberal age have given so much aid and help to other countries, have forgiven debt to Africa, have helped when disasters like tsunamis and earthquakes happen, have risked their lives when disease breaks out. We have conquered world starvation before expected and a great part of our success is due the abundance that technology has given.
Now a good many of these people are Christian and many Christian organization provide relief. But overall for being a secular age we are quite unparalleled in history for our kindness and generosity. On a cautionary note, I believe this secular age (at least in the west) is living on the inherited values of Christianity and who knows what may happen in the future? All this could change quickly... just like the Christian and highly civilized country of Germany changed in WWII and started building concentration camps.
The left is hypocritical, but there is a natural good in people (as well as evil) and we are seeing it today in spades. Further, because we in the west are wealthy, we don’t mind giving or having our governments give for us. Maybe God has become flesh by pouring himself into the people.
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