Michael Moore, Christianity and the Esoteric

Recently during an interview Michael Moore ‘revealed’ he was a Christian, a Catholic no less. This appears to have surprised many of Michael’s critics who often paint him as the epitome of left-wing, secular, liberal do-good, anti-everything politics. It came as no surprise to me though as Michael’s politics are absolutely those of the left-wing Catholics in America. Having mucked in on a number of protests with Christian politicos here in Australia, it seemed natural to me that he should be a Catholic. Now the ‘revelation’ of Moore’s Christianity seems to have shaken and disarmed many of the conservative, right wing, nuke-em-before-breakfast Evangelical Christians. How lovely, that there may be some actual thought in the mainstream US about the plurality of this multi-armed beastie called ‘Christianity’.

Personally I am rejoicing also that this little storm is giving exposure to Michael’s new film, Capitalism: A Love Story which I expect will concur nicely with my long held political and social views. Who knows it may even open the eyes of a few people? However, I am really, really rejoicing that we are getting quotes like these bandied across the media and the Internet:

Capitalism is evil, immoral and contrary to the teachings of Jesus. – Fr. Dick Preston

and

There have always been people who questioned basing a society on greed. That is what capitalism is. It is based on the greed motive, a radical evil. – Rev. Peter Dougherty.

I do not have the skills, knowledge or background to go into this argument from a Christian, or really Catholic perspective. However, it is clear that historically, starting from Christ himself, the Christian tradition has always wanted social justice as part and parcel of any political system. The growth of ‘charity’ since the 18th century in the west has meant that Capitalism itself is not questioned, only whether we ‘give’ enough to the poor and other unfortunates. The capitalist worldview and individualistic paradigms are rarely pinned down, scrutinised and examined. Like fish in water, capitalism feels natural to us; indeed most of the time we do not notice it at all. Do you or I feel it NOW?

I wonder as, I often have, how we as an esoteric (ahem) community should respond to such matters.  I have blogged on this before (Christianity, Magic and Politics) and will not repeat myself much here.

Historically, since western esoteric lodges or circles grew out of the Masonic phenomenon, politics and religion were and are seldom discussed.  I think this sucks.

As people engaged in conscious spiritual acts, we should, duh, be discussing religion.

As people, hopefully being moved closer to the expression of love, harmony and beauty we need to discuss how we express this love in the real, flesh and blood world.

There is a saying attributed to Maggie (Thatcher not Simpson) that there is no such thing as society, only families and individuals. The esoteric, like all depth spirituality, makes us aware of the falsity of this statement: there is in fact, only the corporate life that we participate in. We all arise in interdependence, never singularly. We are never alone, never an individual and therefore everything we do is political in nature.

My own personal need to avoid the artificial separation of spirituality and politics is the main reason I seldom practice in large Orders or groups any more. It is hard enough to find a group of magicians, let alone compassionate, political magicians 🙂 It is also why as I get older I find traditional Christian esotericism more and more fitting, where a Lodge or group can be openly inspired by Christ and the love He shows to the world.

2 comments

  1. Suecae · October 13, 2009

    Interesting. I too have somehow suspected that Moore was christian, however unorthodox. Let’s not forget that the catholic left is a force to be reckoned with, especially in Latin America where it has cooperated with social movements, unions and other progressive’s in several countries.

    I will watch Moore’s film with great interest. His greatest achievement is not always providing answers, but asking the right questions: which we in turn might ask ourselves and discuss.

  2. Adam Smith · October 16, 2009

    I also was surprised by his revelation of being a Christian, but not as much as I would have been 4-5 years ago. Over that period of time I’ve personally evolved from a die-hard capitalist to more of a socialist democrat, simply because of the way capitalism deals with the poor, the indigent, the insane, the down-on-their-luckers that want to work but cant find it. Capitalism basically says “F%$k ’em”, whereas more socialist gov’s and societies give folks a hand up till they can stand on their own. I saw this kind of society working beautifully on a 10 day visit to Norway. I am not a politico, but I can imagine a more balanced, merciful approach in our society over time, and I can only hope. Our country is so full of fat people, people that have fattened themselves at the expense of others…like Wall Street. We eat too much and don’t walk enough. I’ll be seeing his movie with interest as well.

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