by Brad Nelson 12/17/13
…it bears recalling. Communist espionage not only distorted American war decisions but, far more significantly, eroded the pillars of Western civilization: the capacity to reason based on firm convictions about right and wrong, and to grasp that good cannot align with evil without losing its way. — Andy McCarthy
The above quote is from Andy’s review of Diana West’s book, American Betrayal, at The New Criterion. It’s a pretty good review in its own right. Andy is a superb reviewer. But not just in his powers of analysis. It’s that he’s able to get himself out of the way and review the book. That is no small wonder in today’s narcissistic, self-absorbed press (of any or all political persuasions).
So what in blazes has that got to do with Christmas, you must be thinking? Christmas is about Jesus, God, forgiveness, sacrifice, gratitude, etc, not Andy McCarthy, Communism, or book reviews. Right?
Well, yes. And yet I have to admit that I’ve never been able to grasp the liturgy in and around Christianity to the extent that I believe in it literally. But that’s just me. And I won’t try to sell you my religion either.
But what I find more and more happening in our culture is that many people have no more clue about Christianity than I do, and maybe less — even if you regularly go to church and faithfully say your prayers. Having seen just how much of Christianity and Judaism have been given over to political correctness and to decidedly Leftist ideas (especially including socialism) over the last decade or so, I’m not inclined to look at Christianity or Christians as being particularly infallible. Christianity may be a good guide for some, and I admit this is true, and I wish that all Americans were good Christians. But many have become confused and have decidedly gone off track because so much of Leftism has taken over the core values of Christianity and they haven’t bothered to notice. They haven’t cared to notice because it’s simply all about them.
So that leaves us — at least it leaves me — to ask some core questions, to get back to first principles, to see past the slow erosion of our ability to reason (and to have firm convictions about right and wrong, as Andy notes). What if the narrow road for me (and perhaps for you as well) is beyond the mere outer forms of any organized liturgy and has to do with truth itself, as best we can know it? That is, what good is the outer accouterments of a religion if, for lack of a better term, it functions as no more than a superstition, perhaps even just another form of entitlement?
The commercialization of Christmas is surely a problem. And we should talk about that. And I have no doubt that we can talk about that with more wisdom than the foolish Pope recently did when he, like an ignorant Occupy Wall Streeter, simply took the Marxist view of capitalism. If the man meant that we should all do more via volunteerism to help those who need help (and in ways that does not make them dependents or that nurtures bad habits), he could have said so in one or two paragraphs. Instead, we get more of this Christian Confusion that masquerades as “caring for the poor” but is actually Communism hiding behind nice words.
All this crap is enough to give justification for all those cranky atheists out there to remain cranky atheists and to continue to open their Dawkins bibles to the page on socialism and radical materialism. To the atheists out there (at least the ones who aren’t de facto socialists hiding under the label of atheism), I get it. There’s a lot of BS going on out there, enough to make you just want to chuck it all. But atheism itself is a false dogma for a variety of reasons (not least of all the evidence of one’s immaterial and quite amazing mind). We can and must do better than just throw in the towel.
So although much of religion is given over to nonsense, the opposite nonsense (typical atheism) is not for me. Radical skepticism (in the form of atheism) is just a form of self-worship. It’s the disease whereby we think that we know everything. We become little demigods of “self esteem” where being self-superior is the point. No thanks. I have too much fun daily reducing my ignorance via reading books or just by reading the various articles posted here by others.
I take it for granted that there is much confusion in our culture. These past several years — especially with the election of an America-hating Marxist such as Obama — have made me quite comfortable with the notion that human beings are very easily deceived. In this case, they wanted to be deceived. They wanted to live by their narcissistic, self-absorbed, Peter-Pan-forever beliefs about “social justice” while allowing these Communists and socialists to pillage our country from the inside. If I have lost some respect for Christians, perhaps you know why.
In this world of deceit layered upon deceit, one can at least honor the idea of truth even if it is so rare. No gift-giving will conquer the lies. No amount of Christmas Carols or good food will rebut our enemy within. And this is one reason (but not the only one) that I started this site, to rebut the lies, to be at least a small point of light amidst the cacophony.
If Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” then I’m good with that, for that idea implicitly means that there is a wrong way, there is a lie, and there is a bad way of life. And I understand, having been involved in politics and engaged in dissecting the deceit of the Left, just how easily words are mangled to fit our conceits and deceits. So it’s not enough to say “I am the way, the truth, and the life” for there are plenty of Christians who believe that and yet bow down to the idol of Karl Marx, for all intents and purposes. One must get down to brass tacks. What is real beyond mere words and self-conceits.
There’s something deeper about life, and about Christmas, that we must all discover. And so much of our culture — including sometimes our religion — gets in the way of that. I have no answers. I have only questions. But I think part of the journey is asking the right questions and to not so easily believe the lies simply because they have become common.
I suppose my Christmas message should have been coated with three layers of warm-fuzzies as is normally expected for such a thing. Perhaps that will come later when I again watch “It’s a Wonderful Life.” But so much of our culture now is purposefully deceived by people who use “compassion” and warm-fuzzy emotion as a way to slowly enslave us. I don’t necessarily grow bitter and cold as a reaction against this. But I do realize that there is a challenge for us now to rise above mere pleasing and self-absorbed emotions.
They say that God is Truth. But few seem to believe that, if only gauging by how attuned many are to the lies. The truth is a high standard. But it is at least an honest one, however difficult it is to achieve. Those are my thoughts this Christmas between the yearly commercialism and the pseudo-niceness that so pervades our land now. I hope you have a very merry one.
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