Fellow WordPresser, A Paradoxical Millennial (sorry for getting that incorrect before) has shared with us what I hope is only just the start of a short story, The Cage, linked here: http://aparadoxicalmillennial.com/2017/05/06/and-now-for-something-completely-different-the-cage/
I liked the flavor of this tale and it’s stark illustration of the barriers erected to keep a society segregated into differing spheres. Please read it yourselves to see what I mean. There was an observation incorporated into this story regarding a subject I have given some considerable thought to myself. It describes a condition present in our modern world which I do find rather disturbing: the marginalization of faith.
Before you start to get your hackles up in defense of the “have you been saved” pitch please hear this. I have no desire to convert anyone or to preach a particular creed. If we are to talk in the terms of religion, as opposed to faith which is something different, I am undeclared, non-aligned, unaffiliated. I am an agnostic. That having been said I still have formed ideas about the questions of spirituality and faith and it’s rightful place in our society. Even without holding any vested interest in one or another I am still appalled at the relentless assault upon faith and those who choose to practice a faith in their lives.
In the prevailing “progressive” mindset that resides in left leaning politics, academia and media it has become the fashionable thing to scoff at and disparage religion and faith in general and it’s practitioners specifically. Any person who declares their faith openly is characterized as some ignorant, backwoods rube who asserts that each and every word in the Bible is the inspired word of God and is to be taken literally, right down to the last Thou and Thine. I won’t try to claim that there are not those of that variety. I’ve met them, they are a little creepy for my liking, but all in all I think they are mostly harmless. The attempt to characterize any who hold their faith as an important aspect of their lives as belonging to some blindly following sect is dishonest and clearly hostile in it’s intent.
The evangelical Christian is the preferred target for this contempt, but this hostility extends to Christianity as a whole, equating any identifying as Christian as falling into the evangelical category. Oddly there are many who have adopted this attitude towards Christianity who at the same time seem to be only too willing to play hands off with Islam. Often this is taken the step further to laud the sanctity of that holy faith and extension of added consideration and protection to the rights of Muslims to practice freely. These same people are conveniently able to turn a blind eye to the tenets of Sharia law and radical clerics that are in clear contradiction of those other progressive virtues of diversity, tolerance and equality for all. It is a clear contradiction, but one which can easily be explained.
The radical elements of Islam have hijacked the faith as a vehicle to their own sinister ends. They have openly declared war upon the infidels of the west, Christian and Jew alike. You can try to pretend that this is not so but it does not change the fact. For the progressive, leftist, statist, whatever you may care to call them it is another inconvenient truth. For the further purposes of this discussion I’ll simply refer to them as “the left”. They know that the jihadis have defined the terms of engagement and they have accepted it. They just can’t bring themselves to admit it because doing so plunges them through a trap door of their own making. To acknowledge openly that the jihad has declared war upon Christianity and to then move to defend against it places them in the very uncomfortable position of being the de facto defenders of the Christian faith. For the progressive this simply will not do because Christianity is a rival church. Though it is not spoken their position in practice has become an embrace of the idea that ” the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.
The left is unable to separate cultural legacy from the religious practice. One does not have to march under the banners of Christian Knights to defend what is a historically Christian culture against that which means to bring it’s end. The jihadis have in fact borrowed a page from the left’s own playbook. The left in trying to advance any of their ideology will meet any opposition by demonizing the opponent. As an example let’s consider affirmative action preferences in granting admission to state universities. It is not possible to discuss much less debate this with the leftist on the merits of the policy. Any opposition is immediately characterized as racist. They simply redefine the terms of engagement in a manner which puts their opponent into a defensive posture. By defining their jihad as a war against religious infidels the Islamist terror syndicate has done exactly the same thing.
In many respects Christian churches have surrendered much of their social mission to the state. For much of our nation’s history there were no federal or state programs to serve as the social safety net. Those who fell upon difficult times either struggled to rise above it or if they obtained assistance that came through a church organization, whatever their particular affiliation may have been. The rise of the statists brought this largely to an end. To be sure there are still church organizations who do much to aid those in difficult circumstances, but they are no longer the primary source for this kind of aid. That role has been co-opted by the state. Where assistance was once provided with the counsel against poor choices and discretion was permitted to revoke this where the recipient made no effort to correct their errors, the state positioned itself as the benefactor and salvation without judgement. Want to have six children before the age of twenty-five with no father in the home and no visible means of support? No problem! We’ll gladly pay for these children, why it’s the Christian thing to do, isn’t it?
The biggest bat in the arsenal of the left where it concerns their battle with faith comes in the form of their mantra “separation of Church and State”. This is another case where they have conveniently redefined the language to suit their own purpose. The constitution does not say that anything associated with faith in any way whatsoever must at any cost be kept strictly removed from any state entity. That is their interpretation. What the constitution does actually say on this topic is that the state shall not establish an official religion, i.e. no state sponsored church. If there were more Americans who acquainted themselves with the history of our English forebearers they would know that the purpose of this particular provision in our constitution was to avoid the bloody sectarian battles waged in the name of either the Roman Church or the Church of England ( see Charles I ; regicide ). When these loons raise an uproar for a Christmas tree or a Nativity display on state grounds they only demonstrate their ignorance. In the case of the Christmas tree, as with so many other supposedly Christian icons, it is in fact a pagan tradition that was handily adopted by the Church to gain acceptance from the early European heathens.
When we defend those institutions which have some religious origin it is not a defense of or a promotion of the religion or any sect thereof. It is the simple acknowledgement of a cultural heritage which, whether one likes it or not, is rooted deeply in Judeo-Christian tradition and history. To recognize and accept this is not for the purpose of endorsing a particular church. It is not for the exclusion of any who may not share in that heritage. It’s our heritage and we should not try to rewrite history to placate a few malcontents because they are “offended”. The irony is that most of those who are wailing the loudest are native born Americans. For any coming into a western country who were not aware that this is a culturally Christian society I would say that perhaps you should have done more homework on this before arriving.
Religions and their churches, the church hierarchies, are a human creation, not divine. Churches have historically, and to a certain extent still are, political entities. They are a vehicle for the exercise of power, plain and simple. Faith is the manifestation of one’s spirituality. Although we may not agree with another person’s interpretation of this the freedom of conscience encoded in our constitution allows for the individuals free practice thereof. It does not say that you have to believe it. In fact it doesn’t say that you have to believe anything.
To say that I am an agnostic does not mean that I do not believe in God. I may not believe in your god, or Chaim’s god or Abdul’s god. What many reconcile themselves to as an entity that somehow resembles a human form and resides in some other plane of existence called heaven is their means of understanding the power or forces that are beyond our understanding. What one man may call the will of God I call the will of nature. There are things beyond our control and beyond our ability to understand. You may call it what you will.