The Disease of Decadent Christianity

“Christianity is a revolt of all that creeps on the ground against what is elevated: the gospel of the lowly makes low . . .”

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist (1895)

“An old man wet with tobacco juice and furtive-eyed summed up the result: ‘Wal, the bottom rail’s on top and it’s gwiner stay there’ . . . . The herd is on the march, and when it stampedes, there’s blood galore and beauty is china under its feet.” 

William Alexander Percy, Lanterns on the Levee: Recollections of a Planter’s Son (1941)

New commenter Vlad has raised the old charge that Christianity is what Nietzsche called a “slave morality” that must ultimately destroy all true value.  Thus, the gross value inversions of today are the fruits of Christianity, and not, as we say here, of its rejection.  The charge is old, but it is not silly, and it deserves a serious answer.  And this serious answer is not only intended for non-believers like Vlad, but is also intended, and intended more urgently, for Christians.  The reason is that history has shown that Christianity is subject to two fatal perversions, antinomianism and what Nietzsche called ressentiment.

Antinomianism is, of course, the false doctrine that the blood of Christ effectively abolishes the moral law for those who are saved, and that “Christian freedom” is therefore a boundless license to do just as the born again please.  This doctrine especially prospers among passionate peoples in whom the moral law is weak or altogether absent, but one must admit that it is powerfully fertilized by such Christian notions as election, assurance, and the conviction that one is “saved.”

The author of my second epigraph explains the antinomianism of many American Christians by relating a conversation he had with a clergyman in Mississippi.

“I asked a clergyman recently why it was that so many prominent church-goers were crooks in business and hypocrites in private life.  He replied: ‘They have been born again.’  This clarified nothing for me and I told him as much.  He explained sadly: “When they are born again, they are certain of salvation, and when you are certain of salvation you may do as you like.’  But I urged horrified: ‘People don’t really believe that!’ ‘Hundreds of thousands of them,’ he rejoined, obviously as grieved as I.  ‘The ethics of Jesus do not interest them when their rebirth guarantees them salvation.’”*

Antinomianism is a doctrine of decadent Christianity—one perceptive writer says it is “nothing more than Calvinism run to seed”**—and I will be the first to admit that it is by such means that decadent Christianity accelerates decadence in the wider culture.  In a great analysis of the decay of English culture, Thomas Carlyle wrote that, by 1867, the certainty of three things happening was “agreed upon by gods and men.” One of these was:

“That, in a limited time, say fifty years hence, the Church, all Churches and so-called religions, the Christian Religion itself, shall have deliquesced—into ‘Liberty of Conscience,’ Progress of Opinion, Progress of Intellect, Philanthropic Movement, and other aqueous residues, of a vapid bad-scented character . . .”***

With the advantages of hindsight, I would not care to try to dispute this point.

* * * * *

Decadent Christianity also exhibits the perversion of ressentiment, by which is meant a system of inverted values in which everything low is exalted, and everything high is pulled down.  This is Nietzsche’s argument that Christianity is at bottom a “slave morality” with which inferior men take their revenge on the natural nobles with a “transvaluation of values.”  Nietzsche called himself (and his book) “the Antichrist” because he aimed to reverse this inverted slave morality and put nobles and noble values back on top.

It is important to understand the difference between resentment and ressentiment.  An ugly woman may resent the fact that she is ugly, but ressentiment would be the system of inverted values with which she (and others like her) attempts to take revenge by denigrating the beauty of beautiful women.  A stupid man may resent the fact that he is stupid, but ressentiment would be the system of inverted values with which he (and others like him) attempts to take revenge by denigrating the intelligence of intelligent men.

Christianity opens the way to ressentiment when it teach that ugliness and stupidity are not marks of God’s curse, and that the ugly, the stupid, the poor, and the lame may therefore have as good a hope of heaven as those who are not so ill favored.  The perversion of this teaching occurs when the lowly use Christianity as a pretext to act on their envy and take revenge on the natural nobles.  They do this by instituting a system of inverted values in which their lowliness is a mark of holiness—in which ugliness, stupidity, poverty and infirmity are marks of a spiritual superiority.

This is the “revolt of all that creeps on the ground against what is elevated,” and it of course mirrors the revolt of Satan and man against God.

We can see that this ressentiment is a perverse and decadent Christianity if we look at its locus classicus, the beatitudes enumerated in the Sermon on the Mount.  When Jesus says, “blessed are the meek,” he is not saying that “the meek” are henceforth a new nobility that can lord it over those who are bold.  Indeed, to say this would be a contradiction because the meek would no longer be meek if they declared that their meekness entitled them to power and prestige.

Humble folk stop being humble the moment they begin to wear their humbleness as a crown!

No honest Christian can deny that there is a decadent Christianity in which “blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” has been perverted into “blessed are those who hunger and thirst for revenge.”  And no honest Christian can deny that those who hunger and thirst for revenge will, if sufficiently numerous, take their revenge with ressentiment, a “slave morality,” an inverted system of values.

But there is nothing to justify this “revolt of all that creeps on the ground” in a Christianity that is orthodox and sound.  The justification for this revolt comes from one of the other things that, in 1867, Thomas Carlyle said both gods and men were agreed was certain to happen.

“Democracy to complete itself; to go the full length of its course, towards the Bottomless or into it, no power now extant to prevent it or even considerably retard it . . .”***

As the tobacco-stained philosopher explained, “the bottom rail’s on top and it’s gwiner stay there”  And when the bottom rail is on top, beauty is by no means the only value that is “china under its feet.”

*) William Alexander Percy Lanterns on the Levee: Recollections of a Planter’s Son (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1941), p. 314.
**) John Evans, A Sketch of the Denominations of the Christian World, Eleventh Edition (London: Crosby and Co, 1808), p. 81.
***) Thomas Carlyle, “Shooting Niagara and After” Macmillan’s Magazine (August 1867).

77 thoughts on “The Disease of Decadent Christianity

  1. I would distinguish a perversion of Christianity which is driven by Christianity’s own logic and the initiative of serious Christians from a perversion that is driven by external influence. Christianity is supposedly adamantly committed to social justice, but then so are professional basketball, the U.S. Navy, the open-source software community, the publishing industry, university mathematics departments, Disney, Nike, Target, Google, Western Islam, Wicca, NASA,… It looks like something other than internal development is going on.

    • Given your list of examples, it would be fitting to suggest that “social justice” is one of those really vague, nebulous terms that can have entirely different meanings depending on the context in-which its being used

  2. The alarming thing is that these other institutions are not really in the belief business, and so may be expected to reflect the creedal zeitgeist. They can profess any belief because they don’t really have any belief. Christ said his Church would be opposed to the world, and so is no doubt discouraged to see that it is now in perfect agreement with these worldly institutions.

  3. “Antinomianism is a doctrine of decadent Christianity—one perceptive writer says it is ‘nothing more than Calvinism run to seed.’ “

    All this antinomianism results from misunderstanding the doctrine of justification by faith alone (JBFA), a doctrine affirmed by traditionalist Calvinists, Lutherans, Anglicans and others. Like all powerful and subtle ideas it is easily misunderstood, especially if one wants to misunderstood.
    JBFA says that the sinner is justified (declared righteous) by God on the basis only of his faith, not his good works. But the justified sinner, like everyone else, still must obey God’s moral law. It’s the second part that so many people forget.

    See, for example, the Epistle to the Galatians, where Paul says:

    …nevertheless, knowing that a person is not justified by works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the Law; since by works of the Law no flesh will be justified. [2:16]

    And

    Just as Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. [3:6]

    But also

    Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. [5:19—21]

    And

    Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. [6:7]

    So why should the justified-by-faith-alone Christian obey God’s moral law? Several reasons:

    The law is still valid. When God says no, He means no.
    Those who flagrantly disobey are probably on their way to Hell.
    The one who has been justified should want to please his Master.

    The popularity of antinomianism is not entirely the result of lazy or dishonest parishioners. Christian pastors and teachers carry much of the blame by often failing to teach accurately.

    • “All this antinomianism results from misunderstanding the doctrine of justification by faith alone”

      Which is largely Paul’s fault for wording it wrong, as he meant that faith alone plus confessing that faith (so its not really alone, is it?) makes one a valid candidate for baptism. But instead of “makes one a calid candidate for baptism” he said “justifies” which is heretical. He also twisted the story of Abraham from Genesis 15:5-6 about Abraham believing God and justifying God (i.e. engaging in theodicy) because God promised descendants he hadn’t granted yet and nonetheless due to believing the promise Abraham justified God prior to God fulfilling the promise…Paul turns this into Abraham being justified by faith alone, which is heresy. This was controllable once upon a time due to regular people not having the Bible to read this heresy…but that time will never return and thus Christianity is dead unless it writes a new scripture that doesn’t contain this stuff. Its interesting that Marcion’s version of Paul contained it not (no dumb arguments of Paul twisting the Old Testament to teach faith alone). Whether Marxion really believed in two gods and docetism and so on, is questionable. But his text of Paul undoubtedly was superior to ours, because this judaizing Paul who is always making the loophole of juatification by faith alone (exactly as an unconverted Pharisee would do to tithe minth and anise and cummin but ignore righteousness and all morality) is constantly using the irrelevant story of Abraham for everything, especially when it would be easier and better to appeal to Jesus directly like procing we don’t have to be circumcised by the end of Matthew “go teach all nations baptizing them” (not circumcising them)…nah better twist Genesis 15 instead. Or that we don’t need to keep kosher or the sabbath, argue something about Abraham instead of quote Jesus on these matters. How did Pail ever get canonized, or why was it felt it was needed to add this Old Testament twisting that was not originally there? Those who did this screwed us all.

      • Paul’s heretical is an Orthymoron.
        Seriously he’s trying to take the Jewish heresy and turn it into a universalist religion if he hadn’t done that it would have died out like all the other versions.

    • James 2:20-24
      “20O foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is worthless? 21Was not our father Abraham justified by what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith was working with his actions, and his faith was perfected by what he did.

      23And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called a friend of God. 24As you can see, a man is justified by his deeds and not by faith alone.”

      Hebrews 11:7-8
      “7By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in godly fear built an ark to save his family. By faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. 8By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, without knowing where he was going. 9By faith he dwelt in the promised land as a stranger in a foreign country. He lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.”

      Its not the perfection of the works of the Law which requires 100% obedience that Jesus fulfilled. But that faith resulting in obedience that is imperfect but oriented towards his love of God and flowing from saving faith.

      • An even better example is Enoch the son of man who is ascended physically, placed before the angels,the angels are ordered to serve him in the changing of his earthly body into a spiritual body. Later he is deified god changes history and Enoch is now the son of man who was with the father always. Judaic scriptures as internally inconsistent as the New Testament it’s not really strictly monotheistic and don’t get me started on their satanism.
        Isaiah 7 which is supposed to prophesy the messiahs birth to a virgin is not even about the messiah it’s about some king worrying about his enemies. Mathew a Greek speaker hasn’t read the Hebrew which we recently found a copy of that predates the Greek and the word is young woman not virgin.
        There’s no mention of Jesus existence before his birth in Mathew Mark Luke which are all from the same pre written sources. It’s Paul and John develop this eternal Christ.
        One can go on and on with these problems the old answer was authority. Protestantism and technology changed that. Even so most Christian’s don’t think too hard about it all. Just be as good as you can and be sorry you’re not better and you’ll be rewarded for your suffering and the wicked will be punished of course the wicked don’t see themselves as wicked rather as having a more sophisticated understanding Bill Gates thinks he’s doing good breeding billions of Afrikaans with 65 IQS He thinks devout Christian’s who object to supporting Bills camp of the saints are hypocrites. Someone will cite the ten talents another the good Samaritan. Doesn’t matter the important thing is every honest person knows Bills right Jesus ministry is socialistic. Look the Jews are searching for rational basis for justice understanding it’s good to reduce unfairness among killer apes. But also that civilization is fragile and hard choices must be made.
        Jesus is claiming to take this to the next level but he’s not because of his concern for the perfect of the good. Christian’s know mortals can’t be perfect so assume a lefty kindergarten interpretation.

      • Enoch is not canonical scripture except among the Ethiopian Orthodox. The transformation of Enoch’s human body into an angelic body is not in any case a difficulty: all the blessed are going to get angelic bodies, also known as Resurrection Bodies, like the body of the resurrected Jesus. Nor is Enoch’s transformation into Metatron at all problematic for Christians: in partaking his Body at the Mass, we amalgamate our body with his, in something like the way that the cells of Vlad’s body are amalgamated with him. We become one with Christ. So when he sits at the right hand of the Father, we sit with him. This is all basic eucharistic and ecclesiastic theology.

        Matthew – and Jesus – quoted the Greek Septuagint, which predates our earliest extant text of Isaiah – the Great Isaiah Scroll of Qumran, dated to about 100 BC – by 200 years or so. The LXX was named for the 72 Hebrew scholars who translated it into the Greek they well knew – having lived in Magna Graecia and spoken its lingua graeca from birth – because most Hebrews in those days (not just in the Diaspora, but in Palestine) could not read Hebrew, but only Greek (the communications of the officers of the Bar Kochba Revolt had to be written in Greek). So the LXX was their vernacular and accessible version of their scriptures; it was to them as the King James Version is to anglophones, or as Jerome’s Vulgate was to the Latins.

        The Hebrew scholars who produced the Greek LXX – which, again, is our very earliest version of the OT, and which *also* is the only one that tells us what the Hebrews themselves thought the OT was saying – translated the Hebrew almah (“maiden” – NB, a term that even in English means both “young woman” and “virgin”) with the Greek παρθένος, parthenos: virgin.

        Paul’s Epistles are the earliest bits of the NT. He wrote them after having spent 3 years studying as a catechumen in a Christian school somewhere in Arabia. So his theology is not Pauline, but just Christian. It predates the theology of the Gospels – which do not at all disagree with him.

        There is a strong argument that the earliest gospel is of John. Recall that John and Mary lived together as son and mother in Ephesus for many years. He had the best most intimate access to the best most intimate witness to the life and teachings of Jesus. We should not therefore be surprised to find that his metaphysics are more developed than those of the other gospellers.

      • Hey Vlad, one book I’d recommend for establishing Christ’s eternalness and his fulfillment of the prophecies is Martin Luther’s “On The Jews And Their Lies”.

        It was awhile ago that I read it, so I can’t say that I recall most of the actual arguments he made. But I do recall that, while reading it, I thought it was very well researched and persuasive at the time. The guy was definitely a high-IQ sperg who left no stone unturned.

        Sorry I can’t go into more detail. Perhaps I’ll give it another read-through.

      • “One can go on and on with these problems the old answer was authority. Protestantism and technology changed that.”

        Its the change in Authority with the Protestant reformation which encouraged more individual responsibility:
        https://socialpathology.blogspot.com/2019/10/catholic-npc-ism.html

        Because what happens if said institutional Authority is captured by one’s enemies? We don’t simply have to follow along.

    • Personal thought? The idea this leads to immorality is mostly theoretical, as in it “should” work that way but it doesn’t. The public morality of Northern Europe is noted for being stricter and stronger than in Southern Europe. Are Norway or Ulster known for the dolce vita compared to the rigor of Italy?

      And the whole “I don’t go to church because it’s full of hypocrites” is usually a cope too, not always mind you. Good to know our leaders are always willing to throw reputations under the bus, when I’ve often thought the response might be, “unbelievers do all those things too, including hypocrisy, so what’s the exact problem?”

  4. I used to hold such views in my days of practicing pagan and occult rituals (they really do work; let no one claim otherwise) while being influenced by the alt-right scene.

    This fundamental error, the one that Nietzsche describes, can really only come to fruition when speaking of *certain* low-church Protestant (even though I disagree with them, many are certainly far superior to laxadasical “Orthodox”) or liberal Catholic denominations that have rejected Church Tradition in lieu of sola scriptura.

    This same problem actually exists just-the-same within the pagan / occult world as it does in the “Christian” (they’re not true Christians) world. Litmus test: if you’re a vegan pagan, you’re not a real pagan. As a whole, Rodnovers (mostly prevelent in rural Russia) are the only pagan group that can even attempt to claim to be practicing an authentic form of neo-paganism. Any so-called pagan tradition in the Anglosphere is basically pure LARP or dressed-up SJW politiking masquerading as religion.

    Honestly, I don’t see why “Antinomianism” is per se a bad word. Many “Fools For Christ” were quite antinominalist in their approach to The World (read: the passions), and were certainly far better off for it than being Intellectuals For Satan, E.G. Dick Spencer and Co

  5. Well said.

    On the topic of antinomianism, it is distressing (though, sadly, unsurprising) that many who claim to be Christians ignore the passages of Scripture which clearly state that Christians are supposed to obey God’s Law.

    1) In Matthew 5:17-20, Jesus explicitly said that He did not come to abolish the Law, that no part of the Law would disappear until heaven and earth disappear, and that entering the kingdom of heaven required greater righteousness than the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law (i.e. the problem with the Pharisees/teachers was not that they took the Law too seriously, but that they did not take the Law seriously enough).

    2) In Matthew 7:15-27, Jesus states that His disciples will not be known by mere lip service, but by obeying God.

    3) In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus commands the Apostles to teach people to obey everything Jesus commanded. Since Jesus is God, this obviously means that Jesus commanded the Apostles to teach people to obey God’s Law.

    4) In Acts 2:37-40, Peter (following Jesus’s command) tells the crowd to repent and save themselves from “this corrupt generation”. Likewise, in Acts 3:26, Peter tells the crowd that Jesus came to “[turn] each of you from your wicked ways.”

    5) In Acts 15:19-21, James, speaking to the Council of Jerusalem, recommends that new converts to Christianity be given a preliminary list of moral instructions (among which is a command to avoid sexual immorality), and then have them learn the rest of the Law over time.

    6) In Romans 3:31, Paul writes, “Do we, then, nullify the Law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the Law.” See also Romans 6-8, in which Paul expounds on this point.

    7) In Ephesians 2:8-10, Paul states that God created and saved us in order that we might do good works. Paul goes on to discuss (in Ephesians 4:17-6:9) how Christians are to live.

    While hardly an exhaustive list, these passages amply demonstrate that antinomianism is contrary to Christian doctrine, which is why all Christian denominations historically rejected antinomianism.

    • By multiplying the law beyond its original intention and laying the burden far heavier than it was originally intended by their made up traditions. Pharisees have in effect nullified the Law.

      Being meticulous with the cummin and the little petty details.

      And likewise also with the convenient loopholes that allow them to avoid the weighter matters of the Law. Justice, Mercy and Good Faith.

      The worst of Lawyers. Jewing God.

      Over-regulation and tyranny its simply anarchy that is a few levels up the hierarchy. The Anarchy of Rulers that won’t submit to God.

      Orwell’s 1984 is just another version of Anarchy of the so called Rulers of Mankind. A so called “Order” that is no order at all.

      Regimentation under Tyranny is the anarchy of the Anti-Order that is in rebellion against God’s organic order of Truth, Goodness and Beauty which is maximized under his reign and which ironically ensures the best Liberty for all Creation to fulfill their best potential.

      Similarly when the Lawbook of America could fit into a pocketbook is when order reigned most effectively then when the Law has become a thick tome that multiplies “crimes” so much that anarchy of tyranny could reign.

  6. Great article!

    Whenever people have asked me questions like the one posed by Vlad in this post, I explain to them that coming closer to God opens the innermost places in one’s heart, thereby revealing one’s sin and other destructive and unethical behaviors (viz. transgressions). In fact, this is a fundamental element of the full confession of sin and salvation. After this spiritual awakening, it takes time for a person to learn and grow into a mature and ethical Christ-like Christian. What we often see is that many Christians prefer to indulge themselves in the grace of God for as long as they can get away with it, and do not take the command to be obedient very seriously. This of course, leads others (like Vlad) to doubt the eternal value of God’s love and grace, and to even blaspheme the nature of salvation.

    • Jack I don’t mean to be blasphemous. This started in the previous post about why conservatives always lose. I pointed out that people who think of themselves as conservatives tend to claim support in the teachings of Jesus and Jefferson and that both were radically left wing. Jesus was executed by Rome for treason, the Jews set him up for that because he was a dangerous heretic so treasonous to both inner and outer parties. Jefferson if he’d been caught would also have hung. Both were demotic. Both mens philosophy which claimed to simply improve upon the old laws traveled round the world causing much problems as well as much good. In the main the problem of both philosophies is they don’t work well with average men and easily are co-opted by the power hungry to radicalize the masses. I don’t deny some goods come out too the question is who is going to maintain the balance needed and on what authority they both appeal to some mystical authority beyond which there is no appeal. It’s more complex because both cloud the issue of what it is we are all trying to do. Both are impossible ideals and something about western man has the capacity to mistake ideals for what ideals supposedly are in support of. I have tried to clear this up by pointing out true conservatism,or the answer to the philosophical question what is good, or the religious question what is gods purpose for us, is all the same. life is good life can only be maintained by the mechanism of evolution which is pretty Old Testament shall we say. However in most species certainly our own cooperation ( which is always tentative conditional contractual expect defect) if theirs a hallmark of higher civilization it’s greater cooperation trust. Jesus and Jefferson are attempting this. But there’s a limit a diminishing return. But when the ideal is mistaken for what the ideal is supposed to be conserving we are in trouble.
      I have been adherents of both philosophies during my life but have come to despair the still serve us. It’s like cutting off one arm but if I’m right it must be done. If I’m wrong then those who most disagree yet understand and agree with me that our people our civilization and our nations must be preserved by any means necessary must address this problem.
      Both attempt to pay lip service to reality but both ultimately appeal to unknowable divinities. This danger can’t be understated. It means they both claim veto power over secular authority and exercise this authority by inculcating in the masses a sense of righteousness. Yet there’s no real law just ideals interpreted by priests and judges.
      They are both demotic. While they both claim to want a reasonable amount of demotism. But they don’t really contain an explicit brake. This is partly because of the limitations of rationality. What is good for us may not be good for others. Since they can’t answer every particular the ideal is held up. The ideals in both are universalist which is death to the west.
      Our enemies understand well that these philosophies can be used to destroy us or talk us into destroying ourselves. Of course we shouldn’t allow enemies to even speak to us let alone live among us but we did pretty much because of these two philosophies.
      I’m not trying to trash these two philosophies I’m simply saying if you really are one of the rare people able to be both a defender of our people and your faiths then recognize the problem and address it.
      It’s gone on so long now though the solution seems to be too horrendous to contemplate so I think even people of that type are going to pull their heads in and hope for a miracle personally I think waiting for god to save us is evil. It’s clear to me from nature what god requires from the living to shit on the gift of life is evil.
      No I don’t think a non religious worldview inevitably leads to some sartean nausea I think man finds meaning in all sorts of ways in life some in what we call spiritual others in family others in work others in art others in the pursuit of knowledge others in people others in pleasure I could go on. all of them it’s worth noting have been used in spiritual practice. It’s true if one reflects deeply enough they will understand the pure folly of life realize they’re kidding themselves but this is true of spiritual pursuit as well the saints all speak of this. No doubt if god exists he too looks down and wonders why he bothered sometimes but if you think even more deeply if our life is meaningless so is his existence

      • No, Jesus was not executed for treason. Pilate found all the charges against Jesus to be baseless, and intended to release Him; however, the Jews demanded that Jesus be executed, and Pilate gave in to their demands. See Matthew 27:15-25, Mark 15:6-15, Luke 23:1-25, and John 18:28-19:16.

      • I can’t really condemn Vlad because the positions he’s bringing up are the exact same positions and reasonings that I too had many years ago. The only difference is that I arrived at my current position sooner than he arrived at his. Given what’s happening in the world, I would wager a guess we’re not too far from the end. Nuclear war, engineered food shortages, mark-of-the-beast style “health passports”, talk of implantable chips, mRNA gene therapy, proliferation of smartphones sucking people de-facto into some kind of demonic realm of “the cyber”, etc. All of these things have been brought up by EO people, but I haven’t seen any of the other religions, even the Roman Catholic Church, do likewise. At least on a large, institutional scale.

        For me, it was like this. When all of the lockdowns and lies about COVID-19 were happening, it became increasingly hard for me to not believe that there was some central planner in-charge of all the things happening in synchronicity across the entire world. It was only a short step from “those responsible were merely Human actors” to “Satan is responsible”

        I would also bring up the “by their fruits ye shall know them”. Like, when you look at what E.G. Eastern Orthodoxy (you’re also Slavic, I presume) is, especially ROCOR, and you look at the end result what all of the neo-pagan or occultist philosophers or secular people have put forward and look at what you see on the inside of a ROCOR church, I asked myself: what real tangible good has ever come from the likes of Ayn Rand, Max Stirner, Friedrich Nietzsche, Julius Evola, Aleister Crowley, etc? What pragmatic good has ever came out of the various neo-pagan groups like Asatru or Rodnovery or modern attempts at reconstructing Greco-Roman paganism? Do these groups actually hold people to high standards and expect them to follow through with their standards? Is there actually a Bad Outcome (E.G. eternal Hellfire) for failing to follow the teachings?

        In my various practice and studying of Qabalah, occultism, paganism, etc I hadn’t encountered really anyone in those scenes who would be an *actual friend* to me, or have my best interest at heart, and make even a simple question of my various behaviors like “bro, how much are you drinking? how many drugs are you on? don’t you think that dosing yourself up to the eyeballs on ABC/XYZ chemicals multiple times weekly, even daily, is perhaps not a good lifestyle decision?”. Not one! Even when I would try to drop hints to these people that I perhaps had a problem, practically begging me to step in and make a comment to peer pressure me into cutting back or stopping, the answer was always something like “do what you want to do” or “nah you’re probably fine” or “everyone imbibes once in awhile” or what-not. The EO church even condemns cannabis, something I realize now was far more harmful to myself than my own limited POV (or pride) allowed me to see at the time.

        You seem to be very intellectually inclined, which is good. But even within the realm of the occult philosophies, the intellect is considered to be the *least* of what makes a person. For instance, I had assumed that my massive drug use wasn’t affecting me in my daily life because I was still able to write out giant essays and make good points and win in debates with people online. But in reality, the intellect, being on a very low level of what makes a person what he is, isn’t really affected even by George Floyd tiers of drug use, at least in my case. To me, that said something about the things I was championing made me “superior” to “the normies”.

        Again, I don’t know what, if any, personal issues you may be having, but “by their fruits ye shall know them” basically led me to the inescapable conclusion that the sorts of people and ideologies and lifestyles I was looking to for advice weren’t what I thought they were, certainly not pragmatic.

        So like, you can make all these intellectual points about “well wasn’t Jesus just a heretic against his own Jewish people?” and analogy that to “what if George Washington had lost the war, wouldn’t he be considered a traitor instead of a national hero?” and maybe there’s some validity to that, on an intellectual level, but *de-facto* it doesn’t really matter. Hell, from our own Human POV, its totally possible we Christians here are mentally insane for believing in a literal Invisible Sky Person who will damn us to Hell if we do ABC sin(s), but when you look at the practical results and manifestations stemming there-from, the pragmatic case against Christianity (actual Christianity) is a lot harder to make than the intellectual case. When we look at the fruits, even if we consider literal Christian belief to be “insane”, the only conclusion that we can draw from that is “its better to be insane in this pro-social and pro-askesis way than to be sane”. If Christianity is insanity, than insanity is an integral part of what makes a Human a Human, and that, in order to be true to ourselves, we must embrace this form of insanity gleefully and willingly.

        Better to be a Fool For Christ (look it up, its a real thing) than an Intellectual For Satan.

        Even Alan Watts speaks about this in his books, the need for turning off the incessant mental chatter and inner-monologue and constantly having to “question everything” and what-not. Intellect is far from the most important aspect of man– which is why I agree with The Redpill view on woman, that they’re not “rational”, but don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.

      • Thank you, Benjamin. A brave testimony you have given us, all; from it, we may all benefit. For, all of us born to modernism and raised in its ways are more or less like Vlad. God bless you as you work out your salvation in fear and trembling.

        Your broader point, writ large: compare and contrast the worst of Christian civil orders – i.e., civilizations – with the best of atheist civil orders. QED.

      • Thanks Kristor.

        The thing is though, when you take a look at what’s actually entailed in “being saved”, you come to the conclusion that probably like 90+% of Humanity won’t, including your parents and most of your friends or people you’ve known throughout your lifetime. Nobody likes to think of most of their friends and family going that route, but its kind of a “keepin’ it real” POV based on our pre-suppositions, to use street talk.

        As was said in a George Carlin skit, people always say things like “I bet he’s looking down on us right now” after someone dies, but nobody ever says “I bet he’s looking up at us”, even though the latter is statistically far more likely from an trad Christian POV. Seems kinda presumptuous IMO.

        Since adopting the Christian world-view, I’ve often found myself thinking that, in a *more* ideal world, as opposed to the Heaven/Hell dichotomy, there would just be no consciousness after death and people would rot in the ground. Reincarnation would IMO be a better system, since at least people would ascend or descend up or down the cosmic chain of being and a “bad incarnation”, while bad, wouldn’t be permanent. You wouldn’t get only_one_chance at life.

        Even more disturbingly, when I think up the personal reasons, without lying, why I would want for there to be a Heaven, I’m assaulted with the inescapable conclusion of “well, it sure would be nice to say ‘ha I told you so'” and gloat it over towards all the people who’ve dismissed my arguments in this life.

        Am I just far more honest and self-conscious of my own personal motivations whereas, it seems like the vast, vast, vast bulk of Humanity are extremely good at self-deception?

        Perhaps those types of thoughts will fade more away after awhile?

        Actually, although those in our dissident right spheres tend to say (mostly correctly IMO) that its women who lack self-consciousness, when I look at the vast bulk of married men & heterosex relationships, I’m always astounded at how deluded they are about what the relationship dynamics (I.E. their wives controlling them in a very sadistic way) actually are. Its led me to the conclusion that, among men, reproductive success basically hinges upon being a “good boy” when it comes to the sorts female psychological manipulation (not that its per-se bad in all instances) in relationships we see. Do they “get along” because they’re totally blind to it because its evolutionarily selected for? Disturbing to say the least.

        It certainly would explain why all my more normie-tier dweeb friends, who couldn’t / wouldn’t stand up for themselves to women, who I went to college for IT with, are in long-term relationships whereas I myself, despite having more success, in a numerical way, am still single into my 30s and will likely remain that way for the remainder of my life– RooshV talks about this as well. This theory definitely fits into both the Hindu cosmic cycle (E.G. the Yugas) theory and the whole The Fall Christian mythos… you know, mankind degenerating on a genetic / behavioral / cultural level over time. Maybe it wasn’t always like this? The people at ROCOR don’t seem this way, but perhaps their just better at hiding this sort of thing in public? Perhaps their women are just far better at subtle manipulation? Perhaps what I’m describing is just a modern-day Anglosphere thing? I have no idea.

        Probably best to just not think about these kinds of things given how disturbing they are.

  7. Perhaps we’d all do well to start from the acceptance that Physiognomy is Real ™.

    And that nobody deserves what they were born with. It just is.

    In a healthy society this implies that winners in the genetic lottery are duty-bound to use their undeserved gifts in responsible manners so as to not commit the ultimate sin of squandering gifts.

    Conversely, the also-rans have a duty to strive to transcend their losing hands and play out of the rough as best they can. Despair and nihilism are also sins.

    And the odd, occasional Witch may need burning.

    Is there anything in the above incompatible with Christianity?

    • I think this is right. The gifted should not scorn the ungifted, but the ungifted should not resent and envy the gifted. Our morality talks a lot about pride, but it talks very little about envy. Which means envy is our real problem.

      • I don’t know if what I’m about to say is a Christian teaching, but RE: “nobody deserves what they were born with, it just is”, I would have to disagree. Now, this could be leftover dharma stuff from my time spent in the pagan and occult scene, but I believe that everyone deserves what they get, even if they didn’t “choose it”. Someone has to be “held responsiple”, and who better than the person who is that thing?

        The same arguement could be made as to the validity of Original Sin (or “Ancestral Sin” as we Orthodox say). Radical individualists will say that that’s invalid because you’re not responsiple for anothers’ actions I.E. your parents, their parents… going all the way back to Adam & Eve (and Lilith too!). Its like, if your mom smoked crack cocaine while you were in the womb, you inheirit that, just as we inherit what happened in The Garden.

        Bronze Age Pervert speaks of this in his book “Bronze Age Mindset” (I highly recommend; get it on Amazon before its banned! Its legit the BEST non-Christian right-wing book ever written, at least in the last 100 years. VERY enlightening).

        I believe that everything that happens is deterministic and a result of an endless fluctuation of cause-and-effect stemming, ultimately, from the Big Bang or whatever “First Cause” happened that set things into motion, ergo, if someone is deformed or has health problems, that doesn’t mean we should chide them for it, but it does mean that’s apart of who and what they are and is ergo “their fault”. Saying its not seems, to me, a way of shirking responsibility, just like the leftist SJWs claim with “its all instutitional whatever-ism that explains why XYZ group is under-performing”.

        Like, when you see someone and they have the “weasel face” (I.E. dishonest person, for those whose not born a native English speaker in the Anglosphere).

        I’ll also add that this could be my own personal pride speaking, as I’m very fussy about my looks and have been told I’m more attractive than average.

        Apologizes for this post not being as focused as it could’ve been.

  8. This a considerably over-sophisticated as an analysis of the mass of self-identified ‘Christianity’ as is, here and now!

    Christian churches Now are just one – and a feeble and declining – kind of lifestyle option; a sort of ‘club’ for the members and a career for the leaders (most of whom are ‘losers’ in the eyes of wider society). Much MUCH less important than the current imperatives of leftist ideology; which are the non-negotiable bottom-line morality.

    As for God, Jesus Christ, Heaven or Hell, the world of spirits and the angels etc? Given that nothing significant is sacrificed to their attainment; these seem to function at the level of diverting stories merely.

    The fact that this catastrophic decline is universal to All Christian denominations (including the non-creedal and non–Trinitarian variations) suggests that it has very little to do with the specifics of theology or doctrine.

    Indeed, it affects all the other religions as well – the whole world of churches and religions have gone down together in the past couple of years – to the extent that they are under influence of the global establishment. The worst factor is that this destruction has been either denied or overwhelmingly embraced and approved by leaders and members.

    Given that (at an ultimate level of understanding) Christianity certainly is The Truth; the universality of collapse together with submission and approval of destruction; suggests to me deep flaws that affect All forms of historical church and theology.

    • You are right that the causes of declining church memberships and Christian profession lie elsewhere. What I call decadent Christianity is entirely compatible with packed churches and universal profession.

  9. As a catholic we tended toward overstating our sins and understating our odds of salvation
    I find it surprising those snake handling prots actually run with this theory in modern times. my understanding of the gnostic and Protestant antinomian struggle was a sort typically Christian struggle of intelligent men to make sense of the inconsistencies in various scripture they eventually settled cleverly
    That no you needn’t keep the old laws to be saved but saved people tend to keep the old laws and unsaved people tend to be witches.

    Bonald I think if you’ll look further back than the NBA you’ll find Christianity involved in leftism much earlier.

    Re Neitzsche he comes both barrels doesnt he. Let me say first as a former catholic I’m aware there’s an interpretation of Christianity that’s kinda stoic or is that just irish Catholics always “ offering it up” seriously I do think that stoic Christianity is a more proper interpretation.

    In fairness though I think Neitz was on to something but to grapple with it requires staying out of the scriptural weeds and looking over the past two millennia and seeing that even today in what’s arguably a post Christian west there’s still umbras and penumbra of at least two major philosophies. A cultural pentimento
    The older philosophy is more imperiled and is to my mind more aligned with what creation tells us. A celebration of the successful in life’s requisite struggle for limited resources without which life will cease, not just the life of the hero or the slave but all life.
    In my morality the only known good is life. and the only evil is to refuse to struggle to survive by any means needed, or at least all secondary and tertiary morality has to be back tested to those principles. Just like I said the other day conservatism is conserving the people who can not survive without a land and a culture, any tools that work to those ends are subordinated. Capitalism should be subordinated to culture for instance.

    The other philosophy it has to be admitted while not necessarily a slave morality is kinda dysgenic, kinda more concerned with an alleged other reality than this one, kinda impractical about things like stoning whores, kinda subversive of temporal authority.
    Now in this nazi morality of mine half kidding. We are aware of the limitations of rationality and scientism. But like the imperfect justice stoning whores it’s what we have to work with with. we’re not able to judge like a god could, we are only ubermench ascending to godhood.

    But we are also apes killer apes yes,but also social apes. I’m absolutely against waving away reality for the sake of a less messy civilization plan theology philosophy whatever. The devils in the details.

    As I said previously it is likely folly to even try to survive. This evolutionary mechanism is not suited for a species of even our low intelligence we’ve augmented it with culture which is now both a pressure and a trait and still were moving too fast. If that were not enough old traits are being hacked socially and we are now hacking ourselves in the lab. Chances are we are like children playing with nuclear weapons and won’t be here much longer.

    Never the less it’s our god or nature given duty to try. And trying requires we acknowledge this social side of our apeness. Nrx gets all HBD on the muds and woman’s but goes apeshit if you suggest this social apeness needs to be addressed youre a Nat soc. But I say if we are indeed hard wired for some socialistic tendencies and we pretend we are not we leave our flank open to some wag coming along and exploiting that. I think Neitzsche protested a bit too much. Men like him all great men do in fact need good pastry or the services of eighth grade educated Steamfitters like myself to keep warm. In return they raise us all up.
    So maybe that’s the place of Christianity and a way can be found for two philosophies in our culture
    The thing is those apes of will tear you to pieces if another troop invades their space. Not that long ago we slaughtered the millions who lived on this continent because we felt we could put it to better use I was still taught in school that was righteous. It was but what kind of Christianity can still justify that. I’m well aware ways we’re found. But what I think really was going on is we switch back and forth between these competing philosophies. Then sort of come up with a workaround for the other we’re ignoring. I’m really bad at ignoring things.

    Oh I forgot my other problem with Christianity or any religion really
    it competes with authority. It claims a higher authority. And has by nature a hold on peoples psyche that is often stronger than reverence to ruler. And so of course you get a Clerisy.

    • As you say, all creation tells us that life is struggle. Recognition of this fact is necessary to any philosophy. The question is whether it is sufficient. The fact there are religions suggests that it is not. The trick is to find a philosophy that maintains transcendent ends that are not suicidal. The sort-of-transcendent ends of modernism are, for instance, clearly suicidal. Any population that adopts it will disappear in a dozen generations. I suspect that pure Nietzschianism is also suicidal at the social scale because it offers nothing to the untermenschen.

      • RE Vlad @ Nietzsche: if we believe in dysgenics and physigonomy and phrenology and such, you kind of have to look at F. Nietzsche himself and think: he certainly did have a lot of health problems, he was unhealthy physically. Does this same physical unhealthiness bleed over into his philosophy? I mean, he did write a book called “THE ANTICHRIST!!!1”. Kinda sus IMO

  10. Can I add
    I once went down an internet rabbit hole on a hunch and came out reading Candace Bushnell author of sex and the city great great great great grandfather a puritan reverend and signer of the new haven compact writing on feminism rather weakly. Moldberg does have a bit of a case

    • Speaking of Mencious Moldbug (I do like him), he was very influential on me in the early 2010s, but I recently read pt#1 of his “The Clear Pill” and couldn’t help but think “wow, this is really over-explained and very spergy and I don’t really get what he was even trying to say”.

      I don’t really get into these very dense kind of NRx walltext essays anymore. Maybe its just me getting older (I’ll turn 33 this year, assuming we’re not all nuked by then) and having less patience than when I was younger, but I can’t really stomach it anymore. Its probably just more me having reached maximum saturation for those kinds of high-IQ essays TBH more than anything else.

      BTW, did you see his interview on Tucker Carlson’s spinoff show? It was very good.

      • Benjamin
        I think moldberg was thought provoking and funny and there was a sort of golden nrx alt right period but I agree it’s passed. Most of the trichotomy have stopped writing even taken down their blogs out of fear. Yes I saw that there’s a very recen article I think in vanity fair on a new right conference where’s he’s interviewed extensively I think he came of better in that.
        Interestingly of the few nrx alt rights who remain many many are going church militant. People you never woulda thunk jimsblog roosh Andrew Anglim so perhaps it’ll work but I don’t see how.

        Re Neitz#che dysgenics
        First phrenology and physiognomy are antiquated theories proved wrong but dysgenics is a scientific term for pressures that are detrimental to healthy genetics. Think of it as moral hazard for your genepool. Are you familiar with the film idiocracy? I think I used the term re Christianity sort of favoring the weak over the strong. Over time all that happens is a people that refuse to do such a foolish thing wipe you off the face of the earth and your moral project with it. If we continue to burden ourselves with the low IQ third world eventually they overwhelm us (it may already be too late) and china conquers us and enslaves them and takes the planet for themselves there is no way around this.
        What might be possible is recognizing we are social animals that even the strongest smartest of us need a social infrastructure to do our work we need our families we need soldiers to protect us while do research farmers to feed us etc. but as leaders of our civilizations we need to always be raising up our left tails at the same time we are favoring our right tail. So yeah at some point this requires at least an acknowledgement of the reality of genetics. If we get squeamish or cave to the Jew on this the Chinese have already taken steve hse project of sampling the dna of every genius in the world and well who knows what they’re doing with that building ubermensche would be my guess.

      • At least the Chinese aren’t trying to brainwash little boys into cutting their dicks off, promoting Teh Gay, and encouraging Third World savages to riot in the streets.

        I would take a Chinese US president over anyone the Republicans or Democrats currently have to offer. Andrew Wang is at least not an inherently evil person, even if he’s not a Christian or doesn’t have the best interests of Americans in general or White people in particular, at heart.

        I see the “threat of China” as largely a spook (h/t Max Stirner) and its really disappointing when Tucker keeps harping on “muh China” as though some weird squinty eyed people on the other side of the planet, who’re probably biologically incapable (e.g. lack of empathy) of running a trans-Pacific empire, really pose an actual threat to us.

        The entire Chinese Problem could be solved overnight if Washington just decided to nationalize all Chinese owned businesses, or simply bought them out, deported the Chinese people who owned them, and put in non-Asian storefront owners.

      • Also, how do you rekon that phrenology and physigonomy are “antiquated” and “proved wrong”?

        I’ll agree they’re not, at this point “a science”. But come on, you can (at least with men) usually with a fairly high degree of accuracy tell a lot about a person just by looking at his face.

        I guess a more accurate term to describe it would be “proto-science” I.E. its a real thing, just not super-duper accurate enough to be Science(TM) in the same way that the law of gravity (still technically a theory– but if I drop my vape pen right now, I can predict with 99.9999% accuracy that it’ll fall onto the carpet next to me) is a law of nature, or thermo-dynamics, etc

  11. Fr Neuhaus died a while back so it’s probably been captured and I’m only recommending it under his direction but old issues no doubt are available if you don’t already know about it the Publication “ First Things” you guys would enjoy.

    • I read First Things for many years. It taught me many things. One thing it taught me is that the “public square” is a battleground, and not (as Fr. Neuhaus hoped) a graduate seminar. Our enemies are not impressed by erudition or good manners.

  12. Superb article. What the antinomians who think that if they have faith they can do whatever they like don’t get is that they don’t actually have faith.. “If you love me you keep my commandments.” If you truly believe in God you act according to his word.

    • Thanks. You are right to note that there is love-obedience and fear-obedience, and that spiritual growth entails advancement from the later to the former. We can see this in our own children. I much prefer their love-obedience to their fear-obedience. An antinomian is like a child who outgrows fear-obedience without growing into love-obedience.

      • At the end of the day through, from a purely pragmatic / realpolitik POV, anything that “gets the job done” is sufficient, at least in this day-in-age wherein it seems like everyone’s doped up on marijuana (the devil’s weed) and opium (the devil’s syrup) derived narcotics.

        For the masses, fear of God is probably the best they can really hope for in order to live decent, productive lives.

        If you think about it, that’s what differentiates the far-right from the far-left. We’re authortorian, we basically just care about making sure society is orderly and civilized, whereas the far-left is totalitarian.

        We would not imprison people for having “bad thoughts” E.G. denying Christ’s divinity, whereas they would absolutely (and probably will, the way things are going with Biden’s new Ministry Of Truth) take us to the GULAGs for making posts on sites like The Orthosphere

  13. Unfortunately this will distract from an important essay but I have a hard time helping myself.

    Everyone who has a sincere conversion or even moment of belief is going to be incentivized to count themselves among the elect who are going to heaven. Hence all the talk about “saved” in the past tense (you see this less with Lutherans I think). What churchgoer is going to think of himself as among the damned? The phony churchgoer who just wants a social club isn’t going to think about it one way or the other.

    You see the logic play out time and time again as I have many conversations with Calvinist and Calvinist influenced evangelicals. “If you’re REALLY saved, you won’t want to sin.”

    Should Josh Duggar conclude that he isn’t really saved (“when I get out of jail I’m going to REALLY have fun) or should he follow the typical reformed logic of “God allowed me to diddle my sisters, cheat and look at kiddie p0rn to chastise me, bring glory to HIS name, make me an example to others. Thank you Lord!”????

    Concupiscence, etc. remain after sanctifying grace is given. This is obvious. Willful sin is enacted unbelief.

    • This is a good example of the false promises Christian leaders too often make. They “oversell” the Christian life, and overselling alway leads to disappointment. I just finished sitting through confirmation classes with my youngest daughter, and was dismayed by all the false promises about what the confirmand would and would not feel after confirmation. I had to keep telling my daughter that her dominant emotion would probably be relief that the confirmation process was over. Promising people that the will not feel temptation is the worst sort of “overselling” since life will immediately show them that you were lying about that.

      • I’ve seen Catholics (“conservative” ones – maybe this is less of a thing with the TLM crowd) oversell the the sacrament of matrimony – as if the grace imparted will make for a good marriage. Even worse – if this grace somehow seems lacking in the actual marriage then this is an indication the marriage was probably invalid. Another get-out-of-marriage-free-card for Catholics. Do we do this for the other sacraments? If Frankie goes out and kills someone Monday the mass was invalid – fake Eucharist or something?

    • Reflecting on my confirmation instructions from his Small Catechism, Luther tried to put in several defenses against nomianism into his faith, including the admonition that baptism represents a daily dying to sin and an emphasis on infant baptism to illustrate that we not only can perform no work that results in our salvation but even the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is not the result of any moment of conscious volition but an immersion in a Church community that stretches back to the very day of Pentecost. The great failure of the Lutheran churches is less doing what one wilt than, like a wanderer lost in the woods with no compass, eschewing the guidance of the Bible has resulted in them spiraling around their own desires but believing they keep making progress.

      • I agree Lutheranism is different. If I had to be Protestant I’d be Lutheran (yes, I know technically Protestant=Lutheran).

  14. Yes. It is one thing to say an interpretation of the words is wrong, quite another to say that the words themselves are wrong. Although it must be said that this is what the “higher criticism” does, albeit in in a craftier fashion.

  15. St. Augustine of Hippo, Anselm, Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin all believed in the absolute sovereignty of God. That’s quite a few heavyweights to blame for decadent Christianity. If you believe in all this “freewill” silliness, then I challenge all you folks to decide what you believe and why you believe it and just live that way. Decide what kind of “glorious saint” you want to be and just be that person. You have 5 seconds…5…4…3…2…1…stop! Oh no! There’s a hot new girl at the office…whoops…too late! I guess God is out of luck. Poor old God just can’t find those holy saints anymore. If that’s true, then God almighty has to be the most depressed being in the universe. Fortunately, for authentic Christianity none of the five afore mentioned churchmen continued all their lives to believe in such silliness. As I recall, Luther used to get “saved” and “lost” several times a week before God gave him great comfort in the Holy Scriptures. Now, I agree there is much to be lamented about the present churchianity. Just turn on your local groovy “christian” radio station. People call in for “prayer requests” and it’s all God gimme dis or God gimme dat. Reminds me of a certain racial ethnic group that won’t be mentioned. God told us these days would come or have you not read the scriptures? IITimothy 3:1-6 would be a great place to start. Phillipians 1:29.30 promises us suffering. It doesn’t promise us a rose garden. But, if you Catholics, Orthodox, and Arminians still want to play the blame game, then blame away and stay ignorant of the scriptures. By the way, Matt 7:13,14 still holds true. There are only a few who find life. Still believe poor old God can’t do anything? You all better repent!

    • A belief is not decadent just because it can take a decadent form. A living man is not dead just because he can be dead. I don’t think orthodox Catholic liturgy is superstitions, but readily admit that it can decay into superstition. Protestants used to say that Catholics erased sin with a quick visit to the confessional, and this amounted to a sort of antinomianism, so the change isn’t really sectarians.

      • That’s funny that Prots said that because one of the most distinctive Catholic teachings is Hell-Lite (purgatory) – the confessional doesn’t erase that.

      • I sat in Catholics masses and study groups for twenty years without hearing about purgatory. I understood the doctrine, but the prospect of purgatory wasn’t frightening enough to deter sin. Tolkien’s “Leaf by Nigel” made me think twice. But I raised the point to make clear that I do not think that the problem of cheap grace is unique to Protestants. I should also make clear that I personally hope that the price of grace is not too high.

      • I’ve always wondered how much the shame of telling the priest your sin deters sin. Not that that’s how the sacrament works – grace wise – but having to tell a man of authority, a symbolic stand in for Christ, all the awful things you think and do – you would think this would be a deterrent. This assumes people actually believe they are obligated to confess and act on it. In the TLM we are attending people actually go into the confessional DURING mass – something I’ve never seen in the many Florida N.O. parishes I’ve been in.

  16. Decadent art is/was a grasping at truth through the belief that truth was best grasped through a bend-don’t-break approach to the standard. Which always meant breaking whatever was deemed by the decadent as non-essential – ie sexual morality was non essential to the decadent to understanding marriage. The particular decadent tends towards passionate anger that other decadents disagree over the essentials or perhaps haven’t read the right books; and the justification of his belief is the circularity of his very passion and bookshelf. The Orthosphere is an excellent example of Christian decadence. Particularly so.

  17. Good post. In his book Ressentiment, Max Scheler challenges Nietzsche’s interpretation of Christianity as a slave morality. According to Scheler, the values Nietzsche ascribes to Christianity are actually bourgeois values. From the introduction:

    “We believe that the Christian values can very easily be perverted into ressentiment values and have often been thus conceived. But the core of Christian ethics has not grown on the soil of ressentiment. On the other hand, we believe that the core of bourgeois morality, which gradually replaced Christian morality ever since the 13th century and culminated in the French Revolution, is rooted in ressentiment. In the modern social movement,ressentiment has become an important determinant and has increasingly modified established morality.”

    Scheler argues that Nietzsche’s scathing criticisms of Christianity are valid in the sense that they apply to what the “philosopher with a hammer” discerned to be the value-essence of nineteenth-century Christianity, but invalid in the sense that nineteenth-century Christian values had largely strayed from true, core Christian values.

    Scheler’s Ressentiment is an fascinating — and short — read, and it adds another dimension to one of topics JM raised in this post. Highly recommended to those who might be interested:

    Click to access Max-Scheler-Ressentiment.pdf

    • Thanks. I need to look at that book. I would not say bourgeois values, though. Ressentiment is a proletarian value. Part of our ressentiment culture is that we can’t blame the proletarian classes for anything because they are holy.

      • No, ressentiment is not a proletarian value, although envy may be. The poor are not sophisticated enough and have enough free time to invert values.

        Ressentiment is an intellectual value, considering as “intellectual” any person who has had superior education and works with the mind. This includes artists, writers, entertainers, bureaucrats, managers, etc. These people have a very high opinion of themselves (because they did good in their education) and think that they are the best people in town. However, they see that they are not the richest ones (the bourgeois are). They want to invert values to say that they should be the ones in charge. The inversion of values produces chaos, which is a set of opportunities for them to rule and to have jobs (so family disfunction gives them power to rule over families and social worker jobs, multicultural disfunction gives them power to rule over society and all kinds of managerial jobs).

        They allied with the bourgeois until the bourgeois revolutions (such as the French Revolution). Then they tried Communism to take the power from the bourgeois. Since this failed, they are behind political correctness since this gives them more and more power. See the managerial revolution by James Burnham.

      • The poor do not have a theory to justify their inversion of values, since they haven’t the time or the ability to devise such a theory, but they can invert values in practice. They love to listen to songs that tell them how much better they are than highfalutin folk.

      • We are blaming the proletarian classes for everything. They are the damned. They are the deplorables and the white supremacists. It is blacks who cannot be racist, etc.

        Ed Dutton suggests it is the middle classes who suffer the most from ressentiment, trying to social climb and virtue signal their way to an imagined superiority. I hear the middle class complaining more about billionaires who they resent more than the working class – who I have to confess, from whom I hear nothing.

        The best book I know of on the topic of ressentiment is “Deceit, Desire, and the Novel,” by Girard. I summarize here: https://orthosphere.wordpress.com/2020/11/10/rene-girard-imitation-and-life-without-god-2/

      • My grandfathers were both blue collar workers, one a dairy farmer the other a dairy farmer turned mechanic. Yet they both owned a suit, got their hair cut, and washed before they went out in public. I know how this can be put down as petit-bourgeois striving, but my point is that their values were only quantitatively different than those of “high-class” people with more education. Fast forward to the present–indeed yesterday, when circumstances necessitated luncheon in a restaurant that, although not cheap, had a distinctly proletarian clientele. They were not dressed in inexpensive versions of middle-class garb, but in the familiar proletarian garb. My daughter pointed out one hairy fellow who was meditatively combing his ratty beard with his fork. This is what Charles Murray described in Coming Apart, and what Paul Fussel before him called “prole drift.” And there were grotesque tattoos everywhere. Maybe I’m just narrow-minded, but intentional and aggressive hideousness seems like ressentiment to me.

      • Not directly related, but R. Cooks comment about the middle class, I’ve heard, is a good explanation for why the Puritains were so… well, purist.

        They were comprised primarily of lower-middle class and working class people. Those sorts who had tasted the pains of poverty, but didn’t have the comfort of a truly middle class existence wherein they weren’t living from paycheque to paycheque. When you’re in those kinds of dire straits, you need to have a really rigid and authoritarian religion or social system to keep everyone’s head above water.

      • Kindred spirits the two of us I guess. We moved to small town in the upper midwest in search of Leave it to Beaver. The area is as low crime as you can get with virtually zero ghetto element. On paper, twice the fraction of people (2/3 vs 1/3) in our new home up here are members of Christian churches.

        We knew it was still going to be 2022 America but it is even WORSE up here, particuarly among the women. The majority of women look like those antifa mugshots out of Portland – bizzare, partly shaved, dyed rainbow colored hair and black gothic face jewelry hanging off their mug.

        My grandfather was a diesel mechanic from West Virginia, the type of guy who was in innumerable fist fights as a young man. He dressed neatly and listened to Opera on PBS.

        Don’t ever let people talk about the south and Applalachia – the places that are Portland-like are far worse.

      • The young women at work, who have batchelors and masters – typically in STEM, are reasonably feminine and normal by comparison. I’m not saying their virginal paragons of virtue from the 1950s but they’re just WAY different from the prole women.

        Coming apart. I guess in defense of the lower classes they are simply more influenced by the trashy culture that our overlords promote.

    • This is a great tip, Francis, thanks. Prima facie, Scheler is correct – at least from the perspective of traditional Christians, whose criticisms of the modern Church Scheler echoes. Modern Christianity is modernism (in all its facets: liberalism, humanism, nominalism, relativism, libertinism, etc.) dressed up in liturgical vestments. It is the wolf of modernism clad in the skin suit of Christianity. I made the same point at VFR back in about 2009. I’ll try to find that post.

      Anyway, what this means is that Nietzsche’s true quarrel is not with Christianity, properly construed, but with the caricature thereof engendered by the embrace of modernity by some Christians.

      Indeed, inasmuch as traditional Christianity is the religion and process of theosis, it could be said that it is the religion of the Super Man; of the Son of Man; of the Second Adam.

  18. I don’t know, JMSmith. As a Catholic, this issue has been worrying me more and more.

    Western culture lacks the attitude of doing better, of excelling. We don’t want to be heroes anymore: everybody is a victim and wants to outvictim the neighbor (“Do you think you are oppressed, you white Karen? You cannot imagine what is to be a lesbian black woman!”)

    We don’t want to be better: we want to be accepted the way we are. As a teacher, all the attention is given to the less performing members of a class: Western pedagogy is obsessed with that. The brilliant students are left to their own devices. We justify our taxes in the opinion that we should care for the poor.

    IMHO, this obsession with the bottom instead of the obsession with the top is the cause of our decline. The Christian author Alexander Boot argues in “How the West Was Lost” that the aristocratic society of the Ancien Régime tended to strive for excellence (everybody wanted to be as aristocratic as possible) while the democratic society born from the French Revolution and American independence strives for equality (everybody is equal).

    It is difficult for me not to see that the origin of this is Christianity. Are there aristocratic values in the New Testament? I see none. Ancient Roman people were aristocratic and had no interest for the poor, only contempt.

    (Of course, after Christianity, the thing has taken a life of its own, but anyway.)

    When you read the New Testament, you find very few places when the disciples are told to try to improve themselves and all of them refer to moral improvement or working for the Kingdom of Heaven. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Even when it comes to moral improvement, the focus is often not about improving yourself but about not being proud regarding this improvement (see the constant criticism to the Pharisees, the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, the brother of the Prodigal Son, ” whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave”, and so on and so forth).

    However, on the other hand, poor people or people with diseases or experiencing material problems (that is, material “victims”) seem (spiritual) virtuous by default. I know that this is not stated explicitly but it is an implicit message that penetrates the entire New Testament when the topic of inequality is discussed.

    For example, let’s see the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2016%3A19-31&version=NIV). It is obvious that the rich man deserved a punishment because of being cruel and selfish. But, why did Lazarus deserve a reward? We are only told that he was poor, he suffered a lot. But we are not told that Lazarus did nothing spiritual to merit being carried to Abraham’s side.

    Vivid details are given about his suffering: “even the dogs came and licked his sores” but this is a material suffering, not a suffering for the Kingdom. We are not told that he was praying day and night, preaching or going to the Temple. He was poor and was rewarded because of his suffering.

    The implicit message is that his (material) suffering made him (spiritually) virtuous (Christ-like, so to speak).

    The parable could be read by poor people as a fantasy of revenge: “You, rich men, are gloating in this life, but wait for the next one”. See James 5:1-6 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James+5%3A1-6&version=NIV) for such a eschatological revenge. And it’s an old tradition, it starts with the Old Testament prophets: Isaiah, Amos, Jeremiah, etc.

    It is difficult for me not to see that progressivism is only the immanentization of this eschatological revenge. We don’t want to wait for the next life so let’s do it in this life. Let’s redistribute wealth. Of course, this ends up becoming a racket. The redistribution benefits the oligarchy and a class of mandarins instead of the poor, but the rationale is to help the poor, giving them things that they did not earn. They are entitled only because they are poor.

    Isn’t this attitude of considering material victims as spiritually virtuous and deserving of payback a legacy of Christianity? It is difficult for me not to see that, especially when it is not present in cultures without Western influence.

    Does Christianity encourage people to be heroes? It is difficult for me to see that. 19th-century education encouraged students to be heroes but it drew its examples from ancient Greece and Rome. Heroes can be found in the Old Testament (Josuah, King David, the Maccabees, etc.) but they are absent from the New Testament, in which the focus are victims.

    Am I wrong? Can someone enlighten me about that? It is an honest question. It is not the tricky question of Internet debates (“tell me what you think and I will not admit it”). I really want to know.

    (This has been a long post and, being a non-native speaker, I must have committed some crime to the English language. So I apologize)

    • To answer your question about Lazarus:
      I think the clue is in the last section of the parable (Luke 16:27-31). It is implied that the rich man was condemned for his wickedness (failing to listen to Moses and the Prophets), and Lazarus was rewarded for his righteousness (listening to Moses and the Prophets). It is important to note that Jesus was not claiming that wealth is a sign of wickedness, nor was He claiming that poverty is a sign of righteousness; He was, however, countering the view that wealth was a sign of righteousness, and poverty a sign of wickedness.

      Regarding not being proud of one’s moral improvement:
      The point of the examples you cited is that those who were proud of their own supposed righteousness weren’t actually righteous. One of Jesus’s most frequent criticisms of the Pharisees was that they obsessed over minor points of the Law while ignoring more important parts of the Law (straining out a gnat while swallowing a camel), and obsessed over their own man-made laws even to the point of violating God’s Law.

      • “He was, however, countering the view that wealth was a sign of righteousness, and poverty a sign of wickedness.”

        Excellent point. There’s a cultural context that isn’t obvious when one is tweezering out Bible verses in order to weaponize them.

    • With regard to your question, “Does Christianity encourage people to be heroes?”:

      Yes. First, Jesus is the ultimate hero; He defeated sin, death, Satan, and all the hosts of hell. Second, consider that, after the Resurrection, the Apostles and other disciples stood firm in the face of fierce opposition, risking/sacrificing their lives to preach the Gospel which saves those who believe it (think of the Apostles and their fellow preachers like combat medics). Third, we are called to be soldiers in God’s army, waging spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-20; Galatians 5:25; https://adam4d.com/march/). Fourth, if you are thinking of heroism in a worldly sense, consider that serving in the military is regarded as a valid vocation (Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 3:14; Acts 10:1-8, 44-48). We are even encouraged to lay down our lives for our friends (John 15:12-13).

  19. Concerning faith alone and all that, 13 Corinthians combines the poetic, beautiful, and philosophical like no other text. Paul’s comment that though you have faith to move mountains, without love, it is nothing; likewise, the wisdom of Solomon. A profound warning to those of us priding ourselves on the strength of our faith, or the profundity of our insights.

    • Agreed Richard. We are missing the “communion of saints,” a human connectedness that goes well beyond coffee hour, mens’ breakfasts and Bible study.

      I’m not a classical scholar, but I’m thinking the Church embraced agape over storge. As an example, I’ve heard of Orthodox parishes inviting non-Orthodox to Forgiveness Sunday, which makes no sense whatsoever. But having a group of Ins necessarily means a group of Outs, which apparently our uber inclusive, uber diverse society cannot bear.

      • I have mixed feelings about Orthodoxy’s position on the culture-writ-large, at least here in the USA.

        On the one hand, Anglosphere culture is literally the single most degenerate culture that’s ever existed in the entire history of the world, and probably ever will exist.

        So the fact that they’re not super into the idea of bringing in “outsiders” is good from a pragmatic POV. They’d basically be watering down the faith, in a de-facto way, were they to do that, because of how ignorant most Americans are about anything that isn’t like “muh burgers”. Most Americans would not bring anything positive to Orthodoxy, or even understand it at all. They would only take away.

        Its basically like how Israel was in the OT and their strict prohibitions against mixing with outsiders. Except that this policy has been carried into the New Covenant aeon.

        But on the other hand, they literally do zero evangelization and basically function as an ethnic cult (in the OG sense of the root-word “cultus”; not a pejorative sense) of whatever the ethnicity of the church is. Which, if you’re interested in saving souls, is not a good strategy. Its like “welp, we know we’re saved, screw everyone else”

        In theory, an evangelizing EO church (E.G. the OCA) in the USA could raise up the cultural consciousness of Americans… but in practice I don’t think that’s really plausible given what Americans as a whole are like.

        Guess I answered my own question.

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