Sunday, 13 January 2019

That Antichrist feeling...

I was reading-through a discussion of a very small, but significantly hyped, phenomenon called Mormon Transhumanism, written a few years ago; and I got a certain kind of feeling from the writings of those advocating MT.

There was a surface plausibility, an insinuating reasonableness, fuelled by an evangelising energy... the MT advocates were saying many of the right things, indeed I sensed that the individuals were believing many of the right things; but at the same time I knew with certainty that the MTs were on a very wrong track; deeply wrong, deeply destructive of good.

This is, of course, a tiny and obscure example of he way that evil works in the world today. The vast sweep of modern culture - from the hammerblow simplicities of the mass media to the learned complexities of academia this is the normal dominant, indeed mandatory mode of discourse.

Surface plausibility, reasonableness, persuasiveness, enjoyability... yet all the time, underneath, nagging away at me - there a revulsion, a rising tide of suspicion. The 'balance' of 'evidence' suggests that these are 'well-meaning' people, saying things that have 'some value'... yet from the start, and all the time, there is this drum-beat of inner rejection.

This is what I call That Antichrist feeling - that sense that I am here dealing with an Antichrist phenomenon...

It is the knowledge of my own heart that I am dealing with some person, institution or product that has (to some degree - perhaps unconsciously to itself) a rotten, corrupt, dishonest, manipulative heart. That is pretending to be on the side of God, while actually working against God... That is pretending to be on the side of God in order to work against God.


This is 'the demonic' in its various degrees - and at the extreme (eg. with some leaders of nations, corporations, international organisations) it is felt like a direct channelling of the demonic: the demonic speaking through a person.

More often, it is felt as a person hiding an secret evil that covertly drives them, creating around itself a vast and elaborate web of 'rationalisation' to justify this to themselves and others.

Other times, there is an apparently a puzzled, uneasy personality being manipulated by some demonic impulse of which they are only vaguely aware... and when awareness threatens, they respond by vehement denial.   


The difficulty is that this Antichrist feeling is so pervasive that it is almost unrelieved in mainstream public discourse. If I consider the world of politics, literature, science, academia, media... I find either nobody at all (in politics, among major CEOs, in the mass media...) or merely a handful of people and institutions that do not almost-immediately overwhelm me with the Antichrist feeling.

Those who do not seem Antichrist-dominated may not be terribly good or impressive people - they may not be Christian, they may even be 'anti-Christian' in their explicit views; but they are operating largely from their own agency - and not as minions, sock-puppets or megaphones of purposive evil. I am much, much happier dealing with anti-Christians than with Antichrists! 


Because, having experienced that Antichrist feeling from some-thing, I really don't want to deal with it anymore; and when I do continue dealing with it I will have withdrawn my engagement, suppressed my enjoyment, and regard with detachment and suspicion... a miserable state to be-in; but necessary if I am not to be 'seduced' into unthinking agreement.

It is very difficult to explain such rejection to other people, without trying to persuade them of my rightness; and such explanations tend to gravitate towards trying to 'prove' by 'evidence' what I actually know from intuition, from that Antichrist feeling. But I have learned from experience how very dangerous it is to suppress and ignore that Antichrist feeling when I get it.

Once you start down that path of disregarding your heart; there is no stopping, there is no resting point - just more and more evil, more and more elaborately justified...
 

8 comments:

William Wildblood said...

Another great piece, Bruce. This describes my feelings about so much in the modern world to perfection.

"Surface plausibility, reasonableness, persuasiveness, enjoyability... yet all the time, underneath, nagging away at me - there a revulsion, a rising tide of suspicion. The 'balance' of 'evidence' suggests that these are 'well-meaning' people, saying things that have 'some value'... yet from the start, and all the time, there is this drum-beat of inner rejection."

The devil often disguises himself as an angel of light but there is always a nagging sense of something wrong if you are true to truth.

Adamoriens said...

I find that my interest in a cultural product disappears when I sense that leftism was the creator's highest priority. That must be similar to what you're saying.

If people go to fiction for a sense of escape, of transcendence, leftism intrinsically constrains that. There is no impulse to continue reading or watching at that point - it's "all the same thing."

Incidentally, I had the opposite of the anti-Christ feeling when I watched Kanye West talk with Trump at the White House. He only rambled excitedly for a couple minutes, but it was the first time I've ever heard a celebrity speak from the heart. It seemed like he was bubbling over with something he'd been keeping inside, hidden. Naturally, the entire American media called it 'sad' and 'mentally ill.' And he's bipolar, apparently, but whatever...

ToTheRightRon said...

If you haven’t read it yet, you might find some value in the book “War on the saints” - Jessie Penn-Lewis

Freddy Martini said...

Exactly. It is like Catholic leaders or mainline Protestant leaders talk about things resembling Christianity or the Truth, but you sense something wrong, and you finally identify something within them that just WANTS the destruction of the Good and the Beautiful. It does not come from the Head; it comes from the Chest and Stomach (what classically we call the "Heart," but the term is overused, so I use other terms more illustrative).

Bruce Charlton said...

@William - Thanks!

@A - "I find that my interest in a cultural product disappears when I sense that leftism was the creator's highest priority." - Same here. And - with the mainstream - that is a case of 'sooner or later' - because it always happens when anything is prolonged (a series of any kind), no matter how good something is to start with.

TTRN - I havent come across that book, but found a free version here

http://www.banner.org.uk/media/books/War_on_the_Saints.pdf

Bruce Charlton said...

@Freddie - Yes indeed - that reminds me of why I hate the oft-repeated mantra that we (or 'Christians') ought-to give everybody The Benefit of the Doubt

https://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2016/02/innocent-until-proven-guilty-i-regret.html

That would be just about the worst thing we could possibly do.

Seijio Arakawa said...

After reading McMurrin it occured to me that Mormonism is somewhat more vulnerable to transhumanist-type ideology since its theology has a common-sense-materialist flavour (rather than traditional theology which has either a Platonic or an Aristotelian flavour and corresponding differing vulnerabilities). Thus a dishonest person could foment deliberate confusion between the Mormon ideals of resurrected biological immortality and settlement of new worlds and the secular ideals of transhuman/technological immortality and space colonization.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Seijio - Yes - probably Mormonism tends towards the worldly; as a mirror of traditional Plato-rooted theology collapsing into the disregard of mortal life - both of these tending to eliminate the need for Jesus.

I think it is a deep fact about any philosophical description of Christianity that it is a simplified distortion - and if taken as primary, and extrapolated rationally - this will always lead into error.

But Mormonism is actually rooted in the 'family metaphor' - but as a 'literal' truth. It is only after reducing the family relationships to abstractions that transhumanism can subvert Mormonism.

When God is known as a person, Jesus is a person, life is about loving relationships stretching to eternity etc... well, there is no place for technological usurpation. Life just is Not About anything that technology could do.