Sunday 18 November 2012

Why does being a Leftist now mean that you are not a real Christian?


While in the past it was always emphasized that political views had no relevance to Christianity - and therefore that there was a symmetry about politics and Christianity - with problems distributed on both sides: that is no longer the case.

The situation is no longer symmetrical.

Now being a Leftist entails not being Christian - and Christianity lies on the Right, indeed very far to the Right (while, of course, most of those on the political Right certainly are not Christian - although some seek to use Christianity as an instrument in their politics).


Why? Because although honest confusion was possible in the past, Leftism is now old and much developed and multi-national and much repeated; and its is now a certain fact that Leftism is built on and around atheism, that Leftism is intrinsically anti-Christian.

This is now apparent in a way that was not clear and obvious until about half a century ago (excepting to some of the most devout 19th century Russians who immediately perceived the atheist and anti-Christian nature of the Left from the very start of its influence).

Yet to be a Leftist nowadays, in the West, adhering to the New Left in its form of Political Correctness - this is incompatible with Christianity, and there are no longer any innocent Leftists: Leftism denies the reality of reality, has an utterly different model of the world than Christianity - with different aims, meanings, and a different scheme of evaluation - and Leftism creates and enforces the inversion of Good.


Whatever kind of Christian you are, Leftism will force you to deny the fundamental grounds of faith.

This can be seen by considering John Wesley's 'quadrilateral' of evidences for Christianity: Scripture, Tradition, Reason, Experience:


1. Scripture: the Left treats scripture as if it was just like any other sort of writing - having no special quality or authority. Scripture is dissected with secular historical scholarship, language studies, re-translated and re-interpreted and rewritten; put under a microscope on the one hand and on the other hand mixed-in and compared-with other religious texts from other religions. At the end of all this, scripture has become a problem, not the gateway to a new life. At the end of this, plain scriptural information, instruction or statements can be denied, inverted or ignored.


2. Tradition is exactly what Leftism is against. Leftism is rebellion against Tradition, progress away from Tradition, dwelling on the negative aspects of Tradition, discarding and transcending of Tradition, seeking of evidence conclusively to support every aspect of Tradition, characterizing of the past by its abuses and horrors: Leftism is the built-in assumption that Tradition is wrong


3. Reason. The Left (with its heart in the mass media) has reduced Reason to whatever fits into emotive soundbites; and no substantive challenge can be fitted into a soundbite because hostile brief communications are deliberately misrepresented. Reason is thwarted by ever-changing taboos, by the sentence by sentence need to self-excuse, to express proper sympathies and distance oneself from designated-badness. Under Leftism Reason has become one-sided and subordinated to already-existing Leftism: and reason is never  allowed to compel re-evaluation since when it reaches unwelcome conclusions Reason is relativized - as being just one type of reason among several, and Reason hostile to Leftism is labelled as repressive.


4.  Experience. Christian converts often have experiences which convince them of the rightness of Christianity - which assure them of their forgiveness and salvation, that they are being watched and helped. Leftism, however, denies the validity of experience; relabels experience as intrinsically self-serving, repressive, a mass of stereotypes and prejudice. For Leftism, experience is not primary but secondary;  wholly a product of culture, education, propaganda: Leftism sees personal experience as something to be shaped towards a better society, not a basis for knowledge.


So, we see that whatever kind of Christian you may be, Leftism will corrode, subvert and (if persisted-with) overthrow every possible basis of Christianity.

What remains from Christianity in a Leftist, is whatever shrinking, dying, ineffectual residue that Leftism has not yet gotten round to destroying.


Sylvie D. Rousseau said...

Very good essay.

A comment on Christian discernment:
“…excepting some of the most devout 19th century Russians who immediately perceived the atheist and anti-Christian nature of the Left from the very start…”

Devout Catholics, including most authorities also perceived immediately the anti-Christian nature of these uprisings, beginning with the French Revolution. The Catholic Church was already marginalized in France when socialists were rising in the 19th century, so couldn’t do much against them, but they understood what was going on. Leo XIII’s encyclical letter Rerum Novarum (1891) was very clear that atheist-socialist doctrines should be fought as hard as could be (and it was not the first warning of the Pope about false social teaching).

I would add that for Leftism influence to really infiltrate the Church itself it needed the sexual revolution that was preparing between the two World Wars and spread in the 1950s. Russian and French Revolutions did not need this prop because they had the monarchy ready to overthrow and slaughter as scapegoats.

But the Church survived, although weakened by the persecutions. Orthodoxy was more gravely wounded because of the married priests: it is much easier to force a believer renege, no matter how devout, if his family is threatened. I am not against priests being married, but in all justice, if they have to choose between ministry and family in wartime, they cannot impose martyrdom on anyone. It has to be chosen freely.

SFG said...

I guess. I know a lot of liberal Christians who vote Democrat because they care about the poor...not sure if you'd call them 'Leftists' in the sense of Marxists, though.

To be honest, I always thought, apart from abortion, the left had the better case, religiously speaking. Jesus spent most of his time advocating for the poor and being with society's rejects. What's Christian about dumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, kicking the poor off welfare, making sure the rich pay no taxes, and starting lots of wars?

Bruce Charlton said...

@SFG - I'm saying you were wrong. Would you care to engage with the points I made?

@SDR, you may not know (most people don't) about the scale of slaughter, imprisonment etc of Orthodox priests under Communism; and this was part of a killing (etc) of Christians which numerically exceeded the Nazi destruction of Jews.

Your point about the corruptibility of married priests under anti-Christian government was also made to me by a friend who lived under Communism - the celibate Catholic priests were generally less corrupted.

However, Orthodoxy is spiritually led by (celibate) monks, most of whom are not priests; and their Bishops are celibate monk-priests - and this probably explains how Orthodoxy emerged from many decades of vicious totalitarian repression pretty much intact, and indeed apparently thriving.

AlexT said...

Would like to back up Dr. Charlton's point about Orthodox monks vs priests. In the Orthodox world, the center of Christian life is the monastery, not the parish. Also, each monastery is self governing and self sustaining. This is what allowed the catacomb church in the Soviet Union to survive. All it took was a few hard nuts that the communists couldn't crack, and when the pressure lifted, they went right back to evangelising. I have a feeling the Catholics would have trouble doing this due to how centralised they are.
As far as the corruptibility of married clergy, i'm not too sure. The vast majority chose to die, and lest we forget, celibacy in and of itself is no defense against corruption. A person who gives in to pressure would have given in regardless of the kind of pressure that was applied.
A bit of a random post, but this is a pretty big subject.

bonald said...

I'd like to second SDR's major point that the apparent independence of Christianity and the Left/Right debate was always just a peculiarity of the Anglosphere. In continental Europe (Spain, France, Italy, Russia), the anti-Christian aims of the Left were always out in the open.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Bonald - Yes, In England much of the Left was non-Communist until the past few decades - for example the Anglo Catholic revival was linked to 'Christian Socialism', there was FD Maurice (great Anglican theologian), and this left-Christian thing continued through mostly nonconformists such as RH Tawney and up to the likes of AH Halsey and my late friend Norman Dennis.

And the William Morris-ite Guild-based socialism was also a significant feature at a smaller scale (Oscar Wilde was somewhat of this ilk).

Dominant was the gradualism of the Fabians - who were so establishment, gradualist and soft-power in their public face, that their Communism was almost invisible.

But in the end, all these Leftisms of apparent variety converged on the Brezhnev Communism-plus mass media of our day.

And that this would happen was discerned mostly by Catholics and others who knew of the more overtly anti-Church Left of mainland Europe (post 1917, Communists were much more obvious in France, Italy, Spain and indeed Scotland, than in England).

Sylvie D. Rousseau said...

“…you may not know … about the scale of slaughter, imprisonment etc of Orthodox…”
I do know. There was and still is a Catholic minority in Russia and they were persecuted the same as other believers. They were persecuted even in Poland despite that they were an overwhelming majority. French Revolution persecution was as vicious as the Russian, but it probably helped that Catholics were then a large majority, and the bloody form did not last as long as the Communist persecutions. It also helped that we have proportionally as many monasteries and hard nuts as the Orthodox, though their styles may be different.

Married priests: I was not referring to corruption (as AlexT said, there is probably no difference between married and non-married people on that score), but only to the fact that a married man’s obligation to protect his family supersedes his ministry. I was not implying that these priests were more likely than the celibate to collaborate willingly with the regime or to abandon the faith altogether.

marraige said...

I used to talk a lot with a Jewish friend of mine who thought it was insane that Catholic priests didn't marry. He put it thus:

1) Your priests should be the best of your community

2) They should try and pass on those good genes as much as possible

Otherwise genes more attuned to religion will be bred out of the population over time. Also, many a good potential priest will be scared off by the inability to have a family (which every religion seems to consider a great good).

Bruce Charlton said...

@marraige - the question, for a Christian, is (I believe) related to what is best for the Church.

I personally believe the Orthodox system is best (celibate Bishops, celibate lay monks, married or celibate priests), and that having a celibate priesthood is a recent relatively error; but I can acknowledge advantages to the Roman Catholic system when the system can be maintained properly (which is difficult).

But as a matter of fact (I think it is a fact!) it was during the ages of faith - the middle ages - when intelligence reached its peak in Western Europe - due to the successful breeding of the middle class skilled craftsmen and intellectuals.

However, I acknowledge that the resulting personality type (such as myself) does seem to be at least prone to be resistant to Christianity (as I was)...

But the basic problem is sin - and it is from sin that the bad consequences come. A society in which human 'breeding' was determined by the genetic 'good of the community' would be deeply evil.

George G. said...

Hi bgc - can you explain "A society in which human 'breeding' was determined by the genetic 'good of the community' would be deeply evil."?

It seems our current system purposely supports surplus breeding of the worst elements, supported by extracting taxes from healthy/normal family oriented people. The opposite seems like a really good idea (don't subsidize the worst elements, support the best).

Bruce Charlton said...

@GG - I've written profusely about this general issue on the blog - but what I was getting at here was that any state which had the power and will to enforce on its population a program of genetic improvement, and which made this its primary aim, would be hellish. This would entail treating people like a herd of pedigree cows.

George G. said...

I apologize for missing or forgetting your previous thoughts in regard to this.

I respectfully disagree. It is possible to create a nightmarish treat-people-like cattle scenario, but the general population would be far better off in just a few steps:

1. Stop subsidizing the worst elements.
2. Stop hurting the best elements (they are currently taxed more to allow #1)
3. Structure the economy and tax base so that two-person incomes are completely unnecessary (so healthy, smart women may raise children at home).
4. Mass media promotes healthy family values.

Bruce Charlton said...

@GG - yes indeed, probably we don't disagree - but some readers of this blog are not Christians, and regard the genetic issue as *primary* - I was simply clarifying that this is unacceptable.