by Tim Jones 4/12/16
Atheists and Secular Liberals Raging against a Materialistic World of Their Own Creation • “The rebellion of the new ideologies against the Tao is a rebellion of the branches against the tree: if the rebels could succeed they would find that they had destroyed themselves.” — C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man (Lewis uses the word “Tao” to denote objective moral and spiritual truth)
Prior to the Enlightenment, the Reformation created a tectonic shift in a nearly universal spiritual worldview that gave rise to one of secularist “enlightened” thinking. (This topic goes into outstanding detail in The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society.) What was born out of the Enlightenment is known as “immanence” where divinity had been an external proposition but evolved into an internal and material one. Immanence is defined as “referring to those philosophical and metaphysical theories of divine presence in which the divine encompasses or is manifested in the material world.”
The following are Enlightenment and Post-Enlightenment philosophers along with very brief and simplistic encapsulations of their philosophies: Descartes (defined the modern self “I think therefore I am”), Kant (nothing can be known outside of sensory experience or reason), Hume (philosophy and psychology replace spirituality), Rousseau (the self has been corrupted by society), Heidegger (truth can only be found in scientism), Marx (man is defined by economic interest), and Nietzsche (declared that God is dead). These men are just some of the many “fathers” of modern atheism who contributed directly or indirectly to the conversion of a mystical and transcendental Christian worldview into a materialistic and atheistic one. The end result: the self has been placed at the center of the universe where God once lived that ended up contaminating and debasing authentic spirituality.
In their secularist philosophies, they brought God down to earth and essentially destroyed him, intentionally or not. Nietzsche was very intentional about it when he declared God is dead. The result was the arrival of a new age spirituality that revolves around nothing except the self where the Self has become the new god.
No matter how much one thinks he or she may be spiritual, without an external and transcendental God who created the universe and mankind, this new worldview revolves entirely around the self. Even if it’s an altruistic one, it is based on materialism because it is guided by internal human authority. Taken to its logical conclusion, if everyone has their own internal spiritual gyroscope where each one is just as equally valid as any other, then those worldviews are also all as equally meaninglessness as they are in their meaningfulness.
“Western society, in turning away from Christian faith, has turned to other things. This process is commonly called secularization, but that conveys only the negative aspect. The word connotes the turning away from the worship of God while ignoring the fact that something is being turned to in its place. Even atheisms are usually idolatrous, as Reinhold Niebuhr said, because they elevate some ‘principle of coherence’ to the central meaning of life and this is what then provide the focus of significance for that life.”
The definition of transcendental is “of or relating to a spiritual or nonphysical realm”. So an atheist, even if that person considers oneself “spiritual,” is living and believing in something that is in the material realm. So atheism is really nihilism by a different name, that is, the belief in nothing. However belief in nothing is belief in something – as paradoxical as that sounds. Thus you have all the new age spiritual nonsense that fills the vacuum of spiritual nothingness. Personal feelings, opinion and emotions become individualized moral standards. The self becomes the measure of all things moral where universal and shared values are shoved to the side.
It all can be walked back to replacing God with the self as the self becomes the center of the universe: narcissism in the extreme along with its sibling, solipsism (defined as “the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist”). That is what modernism and post-modernism has given us and why solipsism and narcissism has led to hyper-materialism, greed and egotism of today.
Whenever I hear an atheist lamenting today’s sad state of affairs and criticize organized religion, materialism, corporatism, etc., they need to take a long look at themselves in the mirror because they are not above the fray and are just as much a part of the problem as anyone else, maybe more so. They share the same philosophical roots of the family tree of “reason” that has produced all of the evil “isms” they rage against. Not just racism, sexism, but fascism, socialism and Marxism (all distinctions without a difference) which are all branches from one source – the great tree of reason – as produced by the philosophers of the Enlightenment and Post-Enlightenment periods.
Out of their spiritual relativism, atheists have made religion, or spirituality, out of nearly everything that exists in the material realm, whether it’s environmentalism, feminism, gay rights, the self-help movement or big government (aka liberalism). Even physical fitness, yoga, organic food, hyper-nutrition and even extreme sports have become vanity obsessions based on the glorification of the material self. New Ageism is nothing but a smorgasbord of choosing one’s own brand of down-to-earth teleology and soteriology, i.e., creating customized purpose and salvation. This will always lead to failure because it’s the equivalent of trying to lift oneself into the air by one’s bootstraps. It is also the basis for moral relativism that puts Hitler on the same moral plane as Mother Teresa when morality becomes nothing other than opinion, choice or preference.
The following is also from Idols for Destruction:
“The current craze for the pop psychologies that encourage narcissism is typically humanist in its emphasis on sentimental introspection. Therapy, the attempt to manipulate a sense of well-being rather than seeking it in convictions about truth and reality, is a related aspect of the same phenomenon.”
Many well-meaning and altruistic atheists exist but that doesn’t exempt them from their materialistic and pseudo-spiritual worldview no matter how much they might think otherwise. And as much as they lament the ugly side-effects of today’s capitalistic consumer-driven society (e.g., greed, pollution, income inequality, etc.), they live with a self-absorbed and artificial spirituality whose roots of their belief system, be it atheism or New Ageism, are directly descended from and therefore products of the same strains of thought that gave rise to the materialistic modern society in the first place that many now decry. They are rebelling and ranting against a world owed in large part of their own making. • (1243 views)