Pam Barker | Director of TLB Europe Reloaded Project
This seems to be a very important topic to address – religious faith, its psychological importance to us, and the destruction of it in western countries. You only have to be of a certain age and modestly observant to have noticed how religion – Christianity – has long been relegated to ‘superstition’, and secularization held up as far more worthy. Over the decades, divorce has been rendered very easy, marriage completely downplayed, abortion upheld as something normal if not to be proud of (I have in mind that stupid photograph of CIA shill Gloria Steinem wearing a T-shirt that reads “I had an abortion”), and same-sex choice as somehow trendy or preferable. Add to that the new wave of Feminism 2.0, which holds white men to be ontologically responsible for everything that’s bad, and you’re left with a generation of younger women who don’t know which way to turn, and who certainly don’t know how to be happy because marriage and children – i.e. ways to construct a meaningful personal life – have been taken off the table as worthy options. As satisfying as a career can be, we all know it doesn’t cut it for most of us ultimately. At the end of the day, you still have to go home to yourself.
Of course, I am certainly not recommending a return to homemade abortions with coat hangers, marriage that’s impossible to reverse or government that is hostage to a religious mandate. But if you look at how far we’ve come in the faith stakes, we’ve been left with nothing to really nourish us except mass consumerism, social media, pornography on demand, elite-engineered economic problems, and Big Pharma drugs to help us through the bad times. We’re in a very sorry state, indeed.
Strip away the concept of the soul, that which is worthy of cultivation, that which transcends this grubby life, and we’re nothing more than slabs of meat. It’s then an easy step to using us as pawns in the game of artificial intelligence, as numbers in a global depopulation game, as recipients of forced vaccination and GMO foods using chemicals that should have no place in our bodies, living in a 5G electro-fog, breathing in toxic nanoparticulates.
I simply cannot recommend enough Paul Craig Robert’s Christmas 2017 essay The Greatest Gift For All on the value that Christianity has conferred upon us because of its emphasis on the importance of the individual:
In our culture the individual counts. This permits an individual person to put his or her foot down, to take a stand on principle, to become a reformer and to take on injustice.
This empowerment of the individual is unique to Western civilization. It has made the individual a citizen equal in rights to all other citizens, protected from tyrannical government by the rule of law and free speech. These achievements are the products of centuries of struggle, but they all flow from the teaching that God so values the individual’s soul that he sent his son to die so we might live. By so elevating the individual, Christianity gave him a voice. …
All of us have a huge stake in Christianity. Whether or not we are individually believers in Christ, we are beneficiaries of the moral doctrine that has curbed power and protected the weak.
As Roberts says, whether you believe or not, we have all been the beneficiaries of this worldview. Aetheistically-inclined progressive activists need to get this memo! Further, as Selwyn Duke points out below, the sense of meaning religion confers is certainly part of what ultimately makes us happy, what gets us out of bed and mobilizes us. To that I would add that living in communities where large groups of people hold similar views is also a source of psychological strength. Notice how with mass migration all that is slowly being stripped away, especially among the working classes: first, the structure of Christian belief itself has been gradually dismantled and taken away by social justice movements, replaced with quite opposing values and practices; second, the community around us who generally share that belief is being diluted and altered through migration that has no democratic mandate. Today we’ll uphold Jews, their neighborhoods and places of worship, and provide expensive security details to guard their synagogues against those nasty ‘terrorists’ (I live in France). Heck, if you’re Muslim we’ll even build you a large mosque with a community center thrown in, and shut down streets for your Friday prayers (which has been banned but the ban was defied – see image above). We’ll bend over backwards to uphold the beliefs and culture of the other, and pay for it with our taxes, but barely notice how we’ve been stripped of all this ourselves by the social engineers. We owe it to ourselves to get it back.
Google it and you’ll see how prayer and faith make people happier, get them through illnesses faster, etc.
That increasing rates of suicide correlate with a lack of religion doesn’t indicate causation, of course. But it’s quite plausible that a lack of faith – socially engineered over decades – is certainly a contributor to increasing rates of depression and suicide.
We are so sorely in need of a Conservative backlash in the realm of values and outlook, but perhaps we’ve already gone too far down the Cultural Marxist road …
Suicide: People Are Killing Themselves Because We’re Killing Christianity
Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade, both of whom recently killed themselves, are part of a wider trend, with suicide having increased almost 30 percent since 1999. In fact, in 2016 alone 45,000 Americans took their own lives, a number that includes, shockingly, even some preteen children. Interestingly, this rise in suicide directly corresponds with a decline in something else: Christian faith.
Some observers assert that this is no coincidence. For example, making this case at Town Hall, commentator J. Warner Wallace writes:
Religious believers are … less likely to attempt suicide. One study found that “religiously unaffiliated subjects had significantly more lifetime suicide attempts and more first-degree relatives who committed suicide than subjects who endorsed a religious affiliation.” Another study discovered that women who attended “religious services once per week or more (were) associated with an approximately 5-fold lower rate of suicide compared with (those who) never attend(ed) religious services.” In addition, another survey found that “countries that are more religious tend to have lower suicide rates.”
There is an established relationship between religious belief and suicide. As belief increases, suicide efforts decrease.
Many in this secular age may scoff; billing religion as necessary isn’t fashionable today. Yet while this is a discussion of faith, it doesn’t have to be a matter of faith. For there’s something that’s not faith but fact: human psychology.
Wallace mentions in his piece one psychological reality: We all need a sense of meaning, of purpose, in life, a reason to, as is said, “get out of bed in the morning.” He writes that our focus today too often is “success, rather than significance.”
Belief in God is a matter of faith, but what is also fact are the corollaries of the atheistic worldview. If there’s no God and we have no souls, we’re just some pounds of chemicals and water — organic robots. If we have children, once billed as a primary purpose in life, they’re just organic robots, too. Moreover, if there’s no God to have authored right and wrong, then everything is just “a matter of perspective,” as the relativists are wont to say. Then, as a very spiritually vacant man I once knew put it, “Murder isn’t wrong; it’s just that society says it is.” This is self-evident since, if there’s no God, society is all there is to say anything.
Of course, most people aren’t moral philosophers and don’t think these matters through with the above precision. But the Truth will out; the above reality is often sensed. And does it provide that reason to get out of bed? What a thing to transmit to a child: “There’s no inherent meaning in anything, kid — but, hey, have a nice life.”
This is especially relevant when times get tough. There are “pleasures of sin for a season,” as the Bible says. What happens, though, when that season ends and becomes a winter of discontent? If life is just “a series of small pleasures strung together,” as someone close to me once put it, what occurs when those pleasures become unattainable or no longer satisfy? What happens when hedonism becomes Hell?
Studies have found that millennials are partially defined by focus on money, which, for one thing, is just a proxy for goods and services. (This also is a function of declining faith; millennials are by far the most atheistic American generation.) But it’s much as when you get that new toy you pined after under the Christmas tree: You’re initially ecstatic. But after a week of play, if not a few days, it’s just another toy, and then you want the next big little thing. Becoming wise involves the realization that as we grow, the toys become more expensive and sometimes bigger, but they’re still just toys. Material goods are wonderful and necessary (to an extent), but they don’t ultimately satisfy deep human yearnings. Man does not live on bread alone.
Wallace also laments “that the primary goal for most of us in a post-Christian nation is happiness rather than holiness.” This is putting the cart before the horse, much like stressing health and ignoring what breeds it: living a healthful lifestyle.
Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle noted that cultivating virtue — living a moral life — was a prerequisite for happiness. Why? Because the Book of Moral Truth really is the instruction manual for how man should operate. (Though this analogy runs the risk of equating man with machine, obviously, if you operate something incorrectly, it can break down.) As Jesus said, “Only God is good,” meaning, God is all good. The more moral we are, the holier we are, the more we become like God. The more we become like God, whom we reflect, the happier we’ll be. The further we drift from God and toward darkness, the darker our minds, hearts, and souls become.
Yet far from cultivating virtue today (few can now even define the term), we initiate youth into vice. Everything currently in the media, entertainment, and academia is infused with Sexual Devolutionary messages, preaching the idea “If it feels good, do it.” I explored this in three magazine essays, “Colleges Igniting Promiscuity,” “Craziness in Kids’ Classes,” and “Where Have You Gone, George Washington? —Killing Our Heroes.”
Making matters worse, faith today is being replaced with Gaia, which is essentially Earth worship. Of course, it only follows that atheism will often lead to people bowing before the creation and not the Creator. But consider the dark outlook this now breeds: “The material is all we have — and we’re destroying it. ‘Climate change’ will be life’s bitter end!” How much hope are kids given today?
Related to this, people are told not to burden the Earth with more children and are thus robbed of one of the most inherently meaningful things they can do: have a family. This may be particularly hard on women, with their maternal instinct. No wonder studies show that today’s ladies are far less happy than their great-grandmothers, who were more likely to subscribe to the biblical injunction “Be fruitful and multiply.”
Of course, some people will still scoff and insist they don’t need God to enjoy gladness. And I never argue with those claiming to be exceptions. They might actually be, for one thing; for another, it’s fruitless. But, again, human psychology is not faith but fact, and bread alone simply does not satisfy. As a somewhat melancholic friend of mine once told me, “If it weren’t for my faith, I’d eat my .45.” Sadly but unsurprisingly, as Christianity wanes in the West, more and more people are doing just that.
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