Ritual Purity With & Without God

The Social Gospel, the activities of Social Justice Warriors, Political Correctness, electioneering, and the like (and their counterparts on the right side of the aisle) are all desperate and in the end bootless Pharisaical ritual purifications, undertaken to assuage the universal feeling of having done less well than one might have. They fail, in the first place because scapegoating never provides more than a few minutes of emotional relief, and in the second because they involve no inward purgation, and a fortiori no sort of metanoia, which is the only thing that can salve the sick conscience and repair the wounded mind. They wash the outside of the bowl, but not the inside.

Severe monastics undertake heroic asceses, purifying themselves outwardly many times each day as a way of prompting and guiding their inward purgations. They engage in service work, in caring for the poor, the sick, the orphan, the widow. They fast from food and speech, and from simple hearty harmless pleasures. All this to empty themselves of everything but the love of God. The outward work is the visible sign of an inward effort, and an aid thereto. For those struggling up the pitch to sainthood, the real work is inward, and the bloody uncomfortable outer work rather a relief.

Such folks not uncommonly hide their works of charity and sacrifice. We almost never hear of them. Indeed, they barely notice themselves.

But with the Pharisee, all the outward work is undertaken as a way of avoiding the inward effort. Heroic and indeed valuable as his work may be, it is all for show. Its economic intentions are outward. So its inward effects, where there are any, are perverse, as smoothing the rough edges of wicked intentions. It is a vain repetition, which must be repeated again and again, just to keep even with the compounding guilt. But this it somehow never seems quite able to do. So the Liberal must engage in ever more strident, ever more extravagant outward displays of piety: must find some new and ever odder sort of victim to consecrate to the gods, yet another sacred cow, that may not ever be touched.[1]

The apotheosis of Pharisaism is paying someone else to plant trees – or something – so as to reduce your overall carbon footprint. You keep living just the way you had, but you get to feel virtuous because you paid for your vice with cold hard cash peeled from the surfeit of your hoard. The wealthy environmentalist of today is like a Roman voluptuary of the late Imperium, expiating his lust and gluttony by sacrificing a cock to Apollo, or perhaps financing an evening’s gladiatorial games. These days, the voluptuaries finance NPR, or Planned Parenthood, to expiate their guilt, and to win recognition of their piety.

But none of it is any good. None of it works. It doesn’t work to sacrifice something that you won’t miss.

The ancient law of the tithe requires the consecration – to sacrifice, or to some other usage of the Temple – of the first born of every womb, the first fruits of the crop, the seed corn that would otherwise finance the next year. The value of the first born is greater, because it might turn out that the first born is the only born. So dedicating the first born to the god is a demonstration of total faith in the plenitude of his grace. It is a dedication of the whole future life of the house to the god. This act of martyry, of the holocaust by matriarch and patriarch of the very meat of their union and its whole project, cannot be accomplished without a severe and determined inward movement of the heart.

If you won’t miss it, it isn’t a sacrifice in the first place. It is but vanity.

The widow’s mite was meet indeed, who gave everything. Anything less is … less; less than is meet, or right, or our bounden duty. Anything less is a cheat, and an insult – a mockery. We mock – I mock – but God is not mocked.

_____________________

[1] Now that sodomy is the law of the land, and the hunt to legalize paederasty, incest and polygamy are well under weigh, and with infanticide and zoophilia already heading toward habilitation, can necrophilia be really beyond the pale? What is there, after all, that could be really intolerable, except intolerance?

32 thoughts on “Ritual Purity With & Without God

  1. The apotheosis of Pharisaism is paying someone else to plant trees – or something – so as to reduce your overall carbon footprint. You keep living just the way you had, but you get to feel virtuous because you paid for your vice with cold hard cash peeled from the surfeit of your hoard. The wealthy environmentalist of today is like a Roman voluptuary of the late Imperium, expiating his lust and gluttony by sacrificing a cock to Apollo, or perhaps financing an evening’s gladiatorial games. These days, the voluptuaries finance NPR, or Planned Parenthood, to expiate their guilt, and to win recognition of their piety.

    I am reminded of Hegel’s remark that reading the newspaper replaced morning prayer for modern man. As you rightly point out the modern left-liberal hierarchy reeks of a Pharisaical mentality, yet I think the deeper more disturbing reality is that we all worship the idols of modernity in some form or another.

      • Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

        Does this mean you are repenting of your support of the free market?

        On a more serious and yet related note, what are the Orthosphere’s thoughts on the whole “gamergate” debate? I have only followed it in passing. I am of course reflexively against the SJWs but on the other hand the gamers seem to be basing their arguments on weak ground- “free speech” the “right to associate” etc. A lot of gamer culture is also problematic from traditionalist standpoint.

      • Hah! Good one. My thoughts on market regulation continue to evolve, and are not (so far as I know) summarized in a school that has a name. I don’t think there is anywhere a free market. Sane market regulation, on the other hand, that promoted the human good along every dimension I can think of, would be far *less* regulated (by formal regulation, anyway, as distinct from custom) than what we have today.

        As for gamergate, I haven’t really followed it either. It’s a world I know nothing about, never having played anything other than mazerunner back when it first came out. I realized I would get addicted if I kept it up, so I stopped. From what I have gathered, the Social Justice Warriors are trying to get girls into the storylines of games. This is sort of like trying to get girls into combat roles in Treasure Island or the Iliad. Gaming may be dicey, morally – what isn’t, these days? – but it seems to me that the gamers are right to be resisting this pressure. They just want to be, and ought to be, left in peace to pursue their hobby. People really ought to be able to spend time with the people they choose, and say to each other what they mean to say. Any social arrangement that prevented them from doing so would be forcing them to lie. It would be like forcing people to convert to Catholicism.

        What I meant by mea culpa was that I am indeed haunted by the fear that, rather than being a true traditionalist, I am a dyed in the wool modernist playing at traditionalism. My worry on this score is reinforced by the repeated experience of discovering yet another aspect of my chthonic liberalism at work in me, and rooting it out. I begin to wonder if that process will ever be completed.

      • @ISE

        It’s hard not to sympathize with the gamergate guys. It would be pretty annoying if, say, consumer reports started rating tires based on which company sent over the best prostitutes and then threw a complete nutty that its customers dared to complain. It’s so obvious that the gamergate guys are right and their opponents are wrong that it’s boring to talk about. What is there to say? I mean, beyond making fun of SJWs.

        I’m ambivalent about the larger culture the gamergaters represent, epitomized on the web by Vox Day. On the one hand, it is just typical right liberal American politics turned up to 11. They seem like the kinds of people I used to meet at NRA, GOA, and libertarian functions. Like the people my dad and dad in law told me they met at Bircher meetings. People who think stockpiling ammunition and dehydrated food while practicing martial arts is a political program.

        On the other hand, they have these illiberal flashes. Freedom of speech is not fetishized in quite the same way as it used to be. The fact that you-know-who really do own and control all the key pumping stations spewing sewage into our society is openly acknowledged and thought to be relevant. They are at least sort of against atomized individualism and in favor of community and faith. Some of them believe that US foreign policy is utterly evil.

        It’s all uncooked, though. They are just as likely to start babbling about small government as they are to vaguely threaten to hang TV executives from light poles.

        They are also annoyingly parochial. Why should anyone care that the game development industry is about to fall to PC insanity? Or that some science fiction org has fallen? Obviously, those are bad things. But they are such small bad things. It’s normal for business to pay its tax to the state religion, and the game industry has not been paying. So, naturally, they are going to come under criticism. And, after a little while, they will pay. There is no other possible outcome.

    • What I meant by mea culpa was that I am indeed haunted by the fear that, rather than being a true traditionalist, I am a dyed in the wool modernist playing at traditionalism. My worry on this score is reinforced by the repeated experience of discovering yet another aspect of my chthonic liberalism at work in me, and rooting it out. I begin to wonder if that process will ever be completed.

      Hey, get out of my head!

    • Scripta – Where’d your blog go? I need to read something good and anti-capitalist. What should I read in lieu of your blog’s absence?

      • I need to read something good and anti-capitalist.

        Thanks.

        What should I read in lieu of your blog’s absence?

        The Orthosphere is pretty good. E Michael Jones recently published a large volume on the history of capitalism.

  2. Pingback: Ritual Purity With & Without God | Reaction Times

  3. “The ancient law of the tithe requires the consecration – to sacrifice, or to some other usage of the Temple – of the first born of every womb, the first fruits of the crop, the seed corn that would otherwise finance the next year. The value of the first born is greater, because it might turn out that the first born is the only born. So dedicating the first born to the god is a demonstration of total faith in the plenitude of his grace. It is a dedication of the whole future life of the house to the god. This act of martyry, of the holocaust by matriarch and patriarch of the very meat of their union and its whole project, cannot be accomplished without a severe and determined inward movement of the heart.”

    Have you Christians really sacrificed yourselves? Have you ever genuinely sacrificed even any parts of yourselves? (Your time, your pride, your emotion, your loyalty, your consideration, etc) Or, to sacrifice others in the name of self-sacrifice?

    “Anything less is a cheat, and an insult – a mockery. We mock – I mock – but God is not mocked.”

    Then why did you praise those who cheat all the time?

    In this age God is mocked all the time by those who talk about “God is not mocked”.

    We mock, I mock, and God will finally mock those who mock him under the slogan of “God is not mocked”, hardly.

    • Kristor never praised those who cheat. He never mocked God. There is a vast difference between askesis, wherein one gives up something for a greater moral good, and thyia, wherein one makes a blood-offering to an idol. When the crowd of Pharisees asks the rebbi whether he will countenance their design to make a blood-offering of the woman (“taken in adultery”) to the law, he confutes their righteousness, humiliates them, and sends them home chastened and dispersed. The law is not an idol to be worshiped; it is a revelation concerning reality to be observed. Cain was a farmer, a proto-Pharisee, and a proto-sophist. He was also the first murderer. The first law against murder came into being, not to punish Cain or to avenge Abel, but to protect the murderer, by a seven-fold threat no less. There would be no sacrifice of Cain to the memory of Abel. Nor would there be a sacrifice of Isaac to the One True God although Abraham, not yet finished with his lesson in theology, supposed that what God wanted was a human sacrifice, and of the first-born indeed, the selfsame thyia against which the whole Gospel is organized. God substituted the kid. Kids and lambs are what Abel offered to God. Cain offered a token of the harvest and was so impressed by his brother’s blood-offering that he supposed God to have favored the sibling over him. It is a regrettable stupidity of Modern English that it cannot find separate words to translate askesis and thyia.

      Mocking belongs not to askesis but to thyia; it is a preliminary of thyia, as liberals teach us day after day.

      • “Kristor never praised those who cheat.”

        He knows who I was talking about if I show him the name of that person, and God knows.

        “He never mocked God.”

        I didn’t specifically talk about him personally in this issue, I meant generally.

        I am not interested in such theories and arguments you presented, as I have stated many times before. Anyone with a certain degree of knowledge and intelligence can talk about such things, not everyone of them can be them.

        Who truly mocks God, they know it inside, and God knows it, everything will be fully revealed, at last. Mocking or not mocking do not depend on what theory one chooses, it depends on what soul one has.

        “The law is not an idol to be worshiped; it is a revelation concerning reality to be observed.”

        Sadly there are not many people today can directly observe such reality, rather to worship it as an idol in the name or disguise of observing a revelation.

      • Matthew 18: …if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, go on his blog, and comment various and vague aspersions, allude to nebulous plots and secrets. Then claim “spiritual abuse” and make a new commenting handle: “FundieSurvior2014.”

        Commenter Bible Translation

    • Commenter, as so often happens when I read your comments, I came away from this one thinking that you had a point, that you had missed the point, that you had belabored an obvious point, and that your point was completely obscure.

      You have a point: aside from the saints, Christians have not made adequate sacrifice. I never yet met a serious Christian who was not acutely aware of, and worried about, his shortcomings in this regard (especially the saints). Christian life *just is* the struggle to make a complete sacrifice of sin.

      You have missed the point, or at least this is how it seems, for you don’t seem to have noticed that Christian criticism of the Pharisee, from its beginnings with John Baptist on down to this very blog post, is criticism *aimed at Christians.*

      You have belabored the obvious, for challenging us on this score is coals to Newcastle. You say that “God will finally mock those who mock him under the slogan of ‘God is not mocked.’” Now this is true, but it is … *just obvious,* at least to a Christian, Jew or Moslem.

      Finally, your point is completely obscure. When have we praised those who cheat all the time? Who are they? I mean, sure, apart from the saints, everyone cheats God of his due – me, you, everyone – and so any praise of anyone other than a saint is praise of a cheater. But that a man has not yet attained sainthood does not mean he is incapable of praiseworthy deeds. What can you possibly mean here, other than the trivially true admissions I have made in this paragraph?

      • “I came away from this one thinking that you had a point, that you had missed the point, that you had belabored an obvious point, and that your point was completely obscure.”

        Obscurity would show what an obvious point can not show. As I said, I have my consistency inside, they just appear as inconsistent.

        “You have a point: aside from the saints, Christians have not made adequate sacrifice. I never yet met a serious Christian who was not acutely aware of, and worried about, his shortcomings in this regard (especially the saints).”

        Actually you have met one, I don’t want to directly point out his/her name here. I even don’t care that they are not aware, and don’t worry about it, that person is not aware, and doesn’t worry about it, and at the same time pretends to be something completely opposite in front of people.

        “Christian life *just is* the struggle to make a complete sacrifice of sin.”

        I really hope their life “just is” the struggle, but in fact there are many whose lives just are pretending to struggle. As I said, I even can accept they don’t want to struggle, the problem is they want to pretend to struggle in order to look superior to others, to be able to oppress others.

        “for you don’t seem to have noticed that Christian criticism of the Pharisee, from its beginnings with John Baptist on down to this very blog post, is criticism *aimed at Christians.*”

        You know that there exists a worst kind of people, who criticize those sins which themselves actually are the biggest representatives in this world, and such kind of people are not few in number in the present world.

        I am not against true Christians, I am against “Christians”.

        “You have belabored the obvious, for challenging us on this score is coals to Newcastle. You say that “God will finally mock those who mock him under the slogan of ‘God is not mocked.’” Now this is true, but it is … *just obvious,* at least to a Christian, Jew or Moslem.”

        I believe that Newcastle no longer produces coals now, as Christianity no longer produces true Christians in this age.

        It is “just obvious”? No, it is not that obvious at all in practical reality, everyone can talk about this, who would truly believe in this with all his spirit and soul, and be able to select out and hate those who mock God?

        “When have we praised those who cheat all the time? Who are they? ”

        As I said, I don’t want to directly mention the name of that person, you can guess. You have been totally confused by his/her superficial appearance.

        “I mean, sure, apart from the saints, everyone cheats God of his due – me, you, everyone – and so any praise of anyone other than a saint is praise of a cheater.”

        There are people who don’t want to cheat, but because their weak nature they sometimes cheat unconsciously, or uncontrollably; and there are people who cheat intendedly, to cheat is their business of living, they want to lure people and consider such behaviors have proven that they are truly superior, that they are able to manipulate others, to have power over others, I am talking about the latter type.

        “But that a man has not yet attained sainthood does not mean he is incapable of praiseworthy deeds.”

        The most praiseworthy deed in spiritual life is sincerity, without this, anything else are worthless and meaningless.

        “What can you possibly mean here, other than the trivially true admissions I have made in this paragraph?”

        You will fully know what I mean here after you have fully known that person I mentioned. I believe that he/she is not a single example, even though an extreme example, there exists many people with such tendency in this demonic age.

      • “Actually you have met one, I don’t want to directly point out his/her name here. I even don’t care that they are not aware, and don’t worry about it, that person is not aware, and doesn’t worry about it, and at the same time pretends to be something completely opposite in front of people.”

        You seem to be talking about a specific person. How could you possibly know what is in this person’s heart?

      • “How could you possibly know what is in this person’s heart?”

        From direct contacts with that person and continuous observation of that person’s activities on internet for about 2 years.

        What can be hided only can succeed in short term and superficial cases, you can not hide anything when length and depth extend.

      • Commenter, don’t be coy. If the person you have in mind is a public personage, such as a blogger, then just tell us who it is so that we can all evaluate your accusations. Otherwise, stop talking about the matter. You might as well be saying, “I’m thinking of something but I’m not going to tell you what it is.” A puerile waste of our time, and yours.

      • “Commenter, don’t be coy.”

        This is not coy, I don’t want to turn it into a personal attack and conflict in public.

        “If the person you have in mind is a public personage, such as a blogger, then just tell us who it is so that we can all evaluate your accusations. Otherwise, stop talking about the matter.”

        Ok, if you want.

        That person is [***]

        You mentioned blogger, I think the thinking housewife is quite amazing too, very “Christian”.

        “You might as well be saying, ‘I’m thinking of something but I’m not going to tell you what it is.’ A puerile waste of our time, and yours. ”

        You are really funny, Kris, I would like you to be my uncle if it is possible.

      • No idea what you are talking about. Just spit it out, or else drop it – or, we’ll just delete any further comments from you that refer to CDT, whoever that might be.

      • Commenter, for someone who has the corner on true Christianity, you sure have a hard time confronting a sinner and reconciling with them according to instructions in Matthew 18. Or is Paul not a True Christian?

        And I bet you’re a girl, too.

    • Yes, but also an extraordinarily human, human being. We should all meditate on Cain intently.

      Kristor: Study the Iphigenia at Aulis of Euripides.

  4. The ancient law of the tithe requires the consecration – to sacrifice, or to some other usage of the Temple – of the first born of every womb

    Jeeze when you guys say you are reactionary I didn’t realize it meant going all the way back to the early versions of the Torah where (it is surmised) Abraham actually went through with the sacrifice of Isaac. That was considered a little too harsh around 700BCE.

    • A point worth considering, indeed. What comes to mind when I do is that we must not suppose that the logic of sacrifice has been superseded by latter day social innovations, or by substitutions (of a ram for Isaac, or of silver to redeem the firstborn at his presentation in the Temple (still paid by devout Jews)).

      There is a logic in things that cannot be gainsayed, no matter how earnestly we might desire that it be otherwise. Social conventions which contravene that logic are doomed; doomed, not only to failure, but to proliferate all manner of needless suffering, that might have been avoided by saner policy.

      • Well, I am pretty sure Isaac would think that the substitution of a ram was a pretty goddamn big difference in the expression of the eternal logic of sacrifice. The ability to make the transition to symbolic forms may be the main thing that distinguishes us from the bloody cults of Mespotamia or Mesoamerica.

        I don’t want to presume to teach you your own religion but Christianity is all about substitute sacrifices, from Christ substituting himself for us and the ingredients of the mass substituting for Christ. Not my cup of wine, but better than the alternatives.

      • Sure. To all that. What I meant was that substitution does not change the logic of the sacrifice, or therefore the sufficient value thereof. The reason there is a legend that Isaac was indeed sacrificed is that Abraham completed the motion of the heart that was needful in order to effect it. Burnt offerings ain’t in it – a broken and a contrite heart, that’s the ticket. Nothing less will do. Everything less is just a signification of that, an outward and visible sign.

        As for the full, perfect and sufficient outward, economic oblation and satisfaction for our sin, that was effected at Calvary.

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