I have often in MOTO made comments that seem quite obvious to me, but bold to others. Like, “Western magic, until the turn of the 20th century was largely created by Christians for Christians” (here). I have also pointed out the following:
Modern Pagan reconstructions that seek to return to pre-Christian inspirations and sources of wisdom do so only within the context of a culture, language, education and individual mind influenced and nurtured by Christian based sources. For example, my son who has never been near a church knows on an interior level the basics of Christian belief, morality and theology. He gets it from Family Guy, the Simpsons and other avenues of popular culture. (here).
This is not to valorise Christianity or decry any other religion. After all, as I am often fond of quoting, “there is none but the One” (and that’s from an Islamic source). It is merely to point out reality, as I see it, and explain a few things concerning the western mystery tradition. After all, any depth tradition has to start with what is real and what is around us. And of course, what is around us at the moment is Christmas. And the Pope. Oh, God, the Pope.*
The church no longer believes in a literal hell where people suffer. This doctrine is incompatible with the infinite love of God. God is not a judge but a friend and a lover of humanity. God seeks not to condemn but only to embrace. Like the fable of Adam and Eve, we see hell as a literary device. Hell is merely a metaphor for the isolated soul, which like all souls ultimately will be united in love with God.
And the bloody thing went VIRAL. It’s all over Facebook and social media. People are cutting and pasting from it, creating memes – and sending THEM all over the social media too. And so very, very few are getting that it is satire. Swift could not have done better. And, when swot nosed folk like me point out the satire, the complete non-existence of a Third Vatican Council, people argue. They fucking argue. They insist it is true – no leg to stand on, no sources, no actual reality, but they argue. Does me head in, it does.
And even when they don’t argue they say things like, “he may not have said it, but he’s doing so many good things, he could have said it”. People WANT it to be true. All hail Fox Mulder’s interior decoration tastes.
And this is the nub. Pope Francis, has said a few nice, socially open things. And people love him for it. And we are not talking about Catholics here, but avowed atheists and secularists too. Look at this article: Why even atheists should be praying for Pope Francis.
People, even secular liberals WANT the Pope to be a good, social liberal. They want compassion and sense from the church. They WANT a redemption of the church. They want to believe. Because we are still essentially a Christian (based) culture – otherwise, what difference would the views of an elderly Latin American with a funny hat make? This Pope business just confirms my views of the west still being essentially Christian based. In fact it makes them stronger, as I am amazed at the number of sensible folk falling for it, wanting it to be true.
Now, many folk will rightly point out the falling number of church attendees in the west, the increasing lack of Christian adherents in government and other such examples of being, or moving towards a secular culture. These are all very true. However consider this recent Australian article (and I daresay it’s the same in other ‘post-Christian’ countries): the sticky residues of Christian faith. I think the title says much, and within it the author (himself an Anglican priest) declares:
We haven’t the courage of our secularist convictions. Churches are still afforded protection by the law. Christian organisations are still exempted from all kinds of discrimination laws and given multi-million dollar tax breaks. Church schools receive government funding. We let Christians hold us to ransom on euthanasia laws and genetic engineering. And yet, most of us never go within cooee of the church (unless someone carks it, or gets hitched – and even then, probably not).
So here we are, and it is a fine mess indeed – on the one hand we’re supposedly secular, but in reality we have the ‘sticky residue of Christian faith’. Half in and half out, and we all know that buggers any relationship, and project, in fact anything. And of course, it’s all there, had to be, in Christian scripture too :)
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. (Rev. 3:15-16)
Anyway… have a nice Christmas time or holiday time or Festivus or whatever… and remember to check your memes before passing them on. It’s only good manners :)
* Well, the Roman one of course. Let’s not forget the main other one, Theodoros II.