Monday, July 12, 2010

Mad Rant: Losing Our Religion

As many of you probably already know, many of the peoples of Asia took a rather cosmic view of their monarchies. Be it the god-kings of Thailand, the sons of Heaven in China, the living Buddhas of Tibet or Mongolia or the children of the sun goddess in Japan, the people believed that their was a great religious significance attached to their monarchs. They represented their people on the spiritual as well as political front. Things were different of course in the west, but probably not as completely different as many might think. Going back to the roots of Judeo-Christian religion I Samuel, chapter 10, quotes the prophet as saying to Saul, “Has not God anointed you prince over His people Israel? You are the man who must rule God’s people and who must save them from the power of the enemies surrounding them”. The monarch was to be a public servant in a more practical sense, but responsible to God for those entrusted to his rule.

When God anointed the kings of ancient Israel He made the monarchy a sacred institution, one in which the monarch, regardless of character, was sacred and inviolable. This was an integral part of the overall “plan” as is made clear by the ‘Davidic Covenant’ in which God promised King David that He would preserve his offspring to rule. If they were wicked, God said, “I will punish him with the rod such as men use, with strokes such as mankind gives. Yet I will not withdraw my favor from him, as I withdrew it from your predecessor. Your house and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established forever (II Samuel 7:14-16)”. Later, in the Christian era, the Emperors of Rome were still upheld by the Christians who said to their fellow Romans that, quite apart from being traitors, they honored the Emperor more than the pagans did, confident in their faith that it was by their God that the Emperors ruled.

In the Middle Ages the coronation of a monarch was often referred to as the “eighth sacrament” because of the religious significance associated with the Christian monarch. This was certainly greatly emphasized in the Eastern Orthodox countries, it was shown in the Latin West through the numerous unique titles the Popes conferred on monarchs and in Protestant countries, most especially early on, it was noted that divine commands to obedience to kings was Biblical and could be scripturally proven. Yet, despite this wealth of history to draw upon, society has forgotten it all. The decline in reverence, spiritual awareness, the rise in depravity, atheism and the downfall of monarchies and declining Church attendance all goes hand in hand and cannot be separated from each other.

Whether godlessness causes revolution or revolution causes godlessness is not finally the point. The point is that they go hand-in-hand. Today republicanism is dominant and most monarchies that remain, certainly in the western world, are held hostage by the political elite and reduced to symbolic status. As the author C.S. Lewis said, “These are the men whose tap-root in Eden has been cut…” and they seek something, anything, which might fill the void left by the way revolution has chained their souls. In the end they are never satisfied in their search for the political formula that brings about a utopian society. For revolutionaries are actually the most na├»ve politicians whereas traditional monarchists are, surprisingly enough, the most practical and realistic. To prove this one needs only look at the contrast between the Congress of Vienna and the Versailles Conference. Traditional conservatives took into account existing realities, respect for legitimate authority and established a peace that endured. The liberal republicans at Versailles discounted reality, clung only to their own emotions and ideological prejudices and the result was a strained peace that lasted barely twenty years.

Revolution is the fruit of godlessness and secular republics are their temples. It all relates back to trusting divine judgment rather than our own. Amy legitimate ruler must be chosen or at least endorsed by a higher power than mere popular whim. The word “republic” is never mentioned in the Bible, nor is the word “democracy” but in Hosea 8:4 the people are reprimanded by God who says, “They have set up kings, but not with my consent, and appointed princes, but without my knowledge”. That certainly sounds like republicanism to me and the terrible results predicted by that ancient prophet are seen commonly around the world today. Later in that same chapter, relating to how Israel brought down the wrath of God whenever they tried to replace the legitimate king with a more ‘popular’ choice, the warning is given that, “I am going to disperse them this minute; that will soon put a stop to their anointing kings and leaders”.

We have done exactly this, setting up our own rulers, without God, though rather than call them kings we call them “presidents”, “prime ministers” or “secretary generals”. To return to the east, where we began, the teacher Confucius also spoke of how, in his time, usurpers were strutting in the halls of power, and surely this has happened as well where even the teachings of Confucius are corrupted from an advocacy of filial piety to simple subservience to the ruling communist party. In the same way in the west the teachings of Christ are corrupted to encourage acceptance of the political status quo and every novel perversity that comes along. Call it balance, call it wholeness, call it righteousness but the fact is that it will never be fulfilled until mankind ceases to seek after his own desires and instead begins to model his own society on the example of Heaven.

As James Bryce wrote in his summary of Dante’s ‘De Monarchia’, “Monarchy is first proved to be the true and rightful form of government. Men’s objects are best attained during universal peace: this is possible only under a monarch. And as he is the image of the divine unity, so man is through him made one, and brought most near to God. There must, in every system of forces, be a ‘primum mobile’; to be perfect, every organization must have a centre, into which all is gathered, by which all is controlled. Justice is best secured by a supreme arbiter of disputes, himself untempted by ambition, since his dominion is already bounded only by ocean. Man is best and happiest when he is most free; to be free is to exist for one’s own sake. To this noblest end does the monarch and he alone guide us; other forms of government are perverted, and exist for the benefit of some class; he seeks the good of all alike, being to that very end appointed.” Until that basic understanding is restored we will only continue to suffer and I will continue to be … The Mad Monarchist.

8 comments:

  1. I have said numerous times that we can never become a Society that has no Religion. Even those who most ardently claim that all Religion is evil, and that they have no Religion, do have a set of beleifs and Values that they seek to implement into the whole of society, a Set of Beleifs that determiens how they understand the world. I see no real distinction between therebelefs, which are roote din Philosophical assumptions and which ultimatley determiens hwo they udnerstand themselves, Morality, and the naturte of our existance, and those of others, yet some beleif systems are Labled "Religion" while others are "Secular" and it seems all rather Arbitrary to me.


    But it serves a useful end as we as a world seem to have accepted that a Secular, non-Religious Governemtn must be the only oen allowed as Relgiion and Politics are alays a Tyranical mix.

    The truth is, the Republicans of today are Driven by a Philosophy, one that, again, goes back tot he Enlightenment, whoe thinkers were all Anti-Christian, and who pushed for a Secular State IDeal. All of our Modern Argumetns for Republcianism go back to Reusseu, VOltare, and Paine as much as thy do John Locke, and ave been added to as an unquesitoned Philosophical assumption for a logn time.


    It is the Religion of our Age.

    Republicanism today can be trace dback to the ENightenment, which I've also mentiond before, and its Philosophical asusmptiosn abotu Human Nature, God, and Human Rights, which have becme unquestionale Dogma in our world.

    Its not so much that Religion wa slost, as older Relgiions have been replace dby a newer one.

    Older Religions, like CHristainity of Confusianism, Place dmost of their Emphasis on our Duty to each other and our need to live in accodance to our Traditions and Values, whereas Republcianism was Born fo Revlution, speaks of constant change in society, and palces all of its Emphasis on our RIghts, which seems ot be defined as whatever the Peopel themselves vote for.

    It is really a difference between Focusing on our Duties, Obligations, and Morals, or our lusts and desires and whims.

    But the Republicans still hold a Religion, it is just that none dare call it thus.

    ReplyDelete
  2. They do certainly have a philosophy, but even if you want to call their perversity a "religion" the fact that they themselves deny it is such is telling. All religions, to one degree or another, are rooted in the supernatural which their philosophy, whatever you will call it, certainly is not. The fact that they they would deny the term "religion" being applied to their own world view displays how arrogant and egocentric it is; putting man at the center of all things which even those religions which were based primarily around serving and improving man rather than worshipping a supreme being would not so far as to say. If it is a "religion" it is one in which there are no moral absolutes, no obligations or committments, no god but yourself and no good beyond what benefits self. In the end, regardless of titles, it amounts to abomination.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'd have to disagree that religion requires beleif in the Supernatural. The idea of the Supernaturalk that we have today is itself a fairly Modern one, and there have been ardent Religious thinkers who were themselves not overly Supernatural, such as any number of Buddhists, or for that mattr some influencial Christian thinkers such as Paul Tillich.

    A Religion, when you think of it, is simply a Set of Beleifs and Values, which determines our outlook on Reality. When Modern thinkers extol Evolution far beyind what is called for as a mere Sceintific Theory, and begin to activley praise it and venerate it, makign Darwin a veritable Saint and viewing all of lif ein accordance to the Theory of Evolution, it seaces ot be a Scinetific Principle, and becomes a Relgiious Dogma. When the Rights of man and the need for Democracy are extoled as Sacred Values, it differs not oen Itota from other acred Values. When someone preaches the Universal Rights of Self exoression framed int he same language oen woudl tlak of CHrists sacrifice ont he Cross, why shoudl I see it as not Religious Language?

    The Philosophy they hodl to is Sacrocsant to them and it is the basis of their enture understandign of ecistance, not merely a PRagmatic Governmental form.

    Republicanism as it stands today in most (But not all) places requires a Materialistic, Human Oriented view of existance wthat extols the Virtue of the Human Midn over Nature and places at its core the Values of Collectivism. Those are Mroal, Wthical, and Philosophical Principles which really are rooted in a Religious Impule of Humanity, for Relgiion is what we use to udnerstand our existance and role in the world, and this is what there Philosphy is to them.

    The difference is in what we assume and were we begin, not in the fact that some have a Religion and others don't.

    Indeed, it is possibel to be an Ahtiest who has no beleif int eh Supernaturla and to be a Monarhcist. In fact, its possibel to be an Ahtiest and to reject Mateiralism, or the Enture Principle of accepting that all legitimate pwoer emerges form the collective will of the People.

    The only reaosn we link them, or Ahtiesm with Reason and, later, Science, is because of Culture,a nd this is also why we class them as seperate from Religion. If interested I can post an artilce i readon thsi very subject by a Harvard Divinity teacher.

    ReplyDelete
  4. OK, to start with, I'd like to make a point I came to realise as I was walking home from Mass a few weeks ago - our leaders require the Grace of God in order to rule, and are otherwise condemned to Hell.

    It makes sense when you think about it. The phrase By the Grace of God isn't just an admission that they won the familial lottery and got born into the Royal/Imperial Family, but that God will judge them by a different standard, as a leader often has to make hard choices (watch Battlestar Galactica, the new one, and you'll see what I mean in the most extreme of cases).

    Thus, by denying our monarchies and our leaders the Grace of God, we condemn our leaders to Hell.

    Now, the second point. Revolutionaries are ultimately control freaks. Consider how the rise of revolutionary governments has seen ever-larger government, tyranny and totalitarianism. Modern representative democracy simply permits a less bloody form of revolution, and therefore, it fulfils the ideal of perpetual revolution. The success of a revolution really only depends on the mood of the voting public (Germany in 1933, for instance, compared with modern Australia). Without severe holds on power (which is to say, Constitutional holds), democracy itself quickly descends into tyranny, and it's no accident that monarchies have outlasted democracies so often.

    If we bring religion into this equation, the control freak revolutionaries simply cannot control it (hence the great hatred of the Catholic Church and the Pope - it's not under the thumb of revolutionary "reformers"). A fundamental part of religion is to trust in God completely. Not even I have succeeded in submitting my will to God's. I probably never will (sure as hell won't stop me trying though).

    And in that last statement lies the third point - religion requires work to an ideal. It may be difficult to achieve (or perhaps even impossible for some), but there it lies, a holy grail to aspire to achieve. Therein lies the fundamental allure of religion, and the one thing no Dawkins can ever really understand. Christ is not like us. He is an example to us. And that difference is the fundamental crux of religion - aspiration to an ideal.

    While many atheists might have their own ideal (and would therefore qualify as religious), they are generally like most other people when it comes to religion - they're not going out on a crusade to convert people to their cause (unlike Dawkins et al, who apparently embarrass quite a few atheists who just wish he'd shut up and stop being stereotypical).

    And what can provide a greater ideal than a monarch? Certainly not a politician.

    And so we come full circle. A Monarch has God's Grace and understanding, so he can do what needs to be done to secure his people and fulfil his charge, but must also aspire to Christ's example, as with all his people. Because that example is not controlled by revolutionaries, it must be hidden, concealed and forced down. By eliminating more prominent examples (like the monarch), removing the examples we ought to aspire to becomes an easier task.

    And so your point (that revolution and spiritual emptiness go hand in hand) stands firm. Of course, I'm only speaking for a Christian monarchy here, but I'm sure it can be adapted to an Asian monarchy without too much hassle.

    I am reminded of C.S. Lewis' comment that 'spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.'

    ReplyDelete
  5. First to Zarove, anyone can call themselves anything they like. Any "Christian" who denies the supernatural I would not regard as any sort of Christian at all. As for the Buddhists, I would wonder if any of these you encountered were western Buddhists. In my experience they have not the slightest conception of any legitimate form of Buddhism at all. Most Buddhists are very spiritual people and most believe in numerous gods, demons, heavens and hells. My own godmother is a Buddhist who believes in one God and she occasionally tells people to 'go to Hell' even though the branch of Buddhism she was raised in is not supposed to believe in a hell.

    If you hold every philosophy to be a religion you have the right but I certainly do not. All of your major religions that have withstood the test of time have certain core beliefs and principles in common, none of which are shared by atheists or certain other creeds propounded by post-Enlightenment philosophers. Perhaps you have encountered different sorts of atheists but I have never known any who spoke of Darwin as worthy of veneration, in fact those I have known will freely admit that he got quite alot wrong -which of course does not stop them from adhering to his basic premise. They do demand obedience to their dogma but that doesn't make them any more of a religion in my mind. Some religions do that and others do not, it is not something they all have in common, it simply means atheists are an intolerant lot who say one thing and do another.

    To Mr Wells, I saw a little bit but I have always been more of a fan of the old Battlestar series -I re-watched it a while back for the first time since I was a kid and was shocked at how downright reactionary it was. You are spot-on with revolutionary regimes being control freaks; they are totalitarian to an extent that Hitler and Mussolini never dreamed of. One of the members of my 'Brain Trust' recently informed me that the EU will be regulating how eggs are sold -*that* is totalitarianism the likes of which has never been seen this side of "Democratic Kampuchea" (and probably even moreso since they did not buy or sell anything).

    If you look at every major revolutionary movement (and you are probably informed on this) you will see your point being made that almost without exception it is religion that is attacked first and in the west this has usually meant the seizure of Church properties, closing down monasteries and convents, making the clergy state employees etc. I think you are right about how and why monarchs are seen as dangerous by these revolutionary types and it is one reason why I will always support and defend the legitimate monarchs of Europe even if they are given no more power than the lillies of the field. Their very presence and the example they can set is a threat to the revolution and they know it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think you misunderstand the term Veneration from me. I mean it more like Saints than God. A Good Cathiolic, or good Orthodox Christian, will Venerate Saints, inasmuch as they are Honoured and revered, but will freely admit they were Human and Sinners as are we all, and woudl say they got quiet a bit wrong. Still, they are held as examples, and, in many instances, transcend their life and become more symolic myth or personified Ideal, especially to those who ether do not know their Biographies or who prefer to Emphesise the special reason for their Fame. It is to this same end that Darwin is held in such a High Regard, for he was the one who gave the world the wonderful Theory fo Evolution which now forms the absis ofthe Narrative that is bel;eived in wholeheartedly, and personifies the ideal of a Naturalistic Sicnetific Philosophy.


    As tp the Supernatural, one has to wonder about that as well. As I said,its a rather new idea. We may thrust it back onto the ages past, and I've even een translatiosn of Ancinet Documents which use the term, but the actual word "Supernatural" and the general idea that there is a world that is seperate from ours are both concepts that didn't really exst in the Ancient World. Jews beleived in God, Angels, Demons, and even an Afterlife in most sects, but never saw these as a part of a Transcendant and seperate Realiy, that was not part of our Natural world. Christianity grew out of the same Judaism, and also saw all that existed as part of the Natural world save God, who himself was the Source of our world. The idea of a seperate realm form the Natural world God created was not really a part of standard thinking. To them Angels, Demons, and Miracles were all simply part of our Natural World.

    It shudl be noted also that you said all Religions that Endure have certain core principles, but do all Religions endure? And are these values really Shared? Greek and Roman Religion though Christianity weak and agaisnt reason because of the Value they palced on Redemption, forgiveness, and love of ones fellows, even oens Enemies, and the cooperative natgureof the Christian Faith. They Valued Strength, power, and the ability o take what you wanted. They also focused heavily on Human desires, and even the gods mae love to Human women for pleasure, and ate and drnak as they did, and had their petty Arguments with one another.

    Indeed, the Greek and Roman Pagan Religions wwere often longingly looked back upon by the ENlightenments thinkrs and often by todays Militant Atheists who inherit their arguments and Philosophy. They hate all Religion yet love the GReek and Roman Paganism. There is a Reaosn why this is so, an it is because they have a Kinship with this sort of Religion. As much as htey say all Religion and all Theism is bad, they dont really mean it, they just see Christianity as opposed to their Ideals, but are accepting, even willing to praise those Religions which support their philosophical notions.

    Religion is not Christianity. Mr. Wells is wrong in sayign that Religion requires us to look to Christ, unless Orthodox JEws arent Rligous either. It is also not THeism. Religion is simply a beleif system about our FUndamental nature and existance. Not all Philosophy is Religion, but all Religion is Philosophy.

    Sorry this is a bit Cramped, had to keep it short so it'd fit.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh believe me Zarove, I know that religion is not solely defined by Christianity. I even consider atheists religious (in the sense that they still believe, but in a negative (ie there are no gods)).

    My previous post focused on Christianity because that was on my mind, but as I said, it can be generalised to any religion you would care to try it with (even an atheist could use it).

    ReplyDelete
  8. A somber jest:

    So, if "liberalism - secularism" is the religion of today, are we in fact the atheist now?!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...