Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Church of Dag

Although it seems I have staged another coup to commandeer Dag's blog this weekend, the truth is that Dag's been having some computer problems which are preventing him from posting. He's passed along his latest piece, however, for me to post for him. It follows below:

... Rev. Mary Joseph, pastor of Pathways, a United Church-affiliated "progressive Christian community" open to anyone interested in the thought and teachings of Jesus. "This is a fairly religious country, with a huge Christian base. But many people resent the element of judgment in fundamentalist churches." A lot of it, Joseph concurs, flows from the same severe stance on sexual matters -- abortion and homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, premarital sex and birth control -- that did so much to empty the mainstream churches in the first place. But there's another element as well, she adds: "People interested in alternative spiritual ways feel harshly judged and unwelcome too, like all those Christians who are interested in Buddhist meditation."

Cry me a fucking river!

I'm sure that if I got out more I'd encounter people to this day who say, "Jesus loves you." I hear all kinds of rubbish from others, and I suspect Christians will tell me more of the same in Christian cliches. The society we have made is one based on falsity of feeling and thought. That extends to religion. Why would Christians take responsibility for their own actions and their own being if others don't? Christians are inexcusable in that they should, by being Christians, know better if they know their religion.

"Jesus loves me." The point is lost on me. I think there is no point. I think the point one wishes to make is that Christians are loving, sharing-caring types who are non-judgemental, kind and nice, soft and welcoming. Good for them. But what about Jesus? What about God? What about the religion? If we need feel-good therapy, then indeed we can go to a Buddhist monastery or a New Age weekend retreat to build up our self-esteem; but religion, I think, has nothing to do with being loved, it being not about me but about God. And were I judged, harshly or not, it is religion and God at work.

I do encounter, even in my isolation here, the phrase, "apostate church." That church might well be all about me and my sensitivities. That would be a church I know nothing about me, and one I would not care to know. The church of "Jesus Loves Dag" is a church I would call my mirror. I could like that. I am not a harsh judge of my own character. My mirror loves me. One of these days I'll even clean off the picture of Cary Grant that hangs over it. But I'm not ever going to some damned church that offers me jazz vespers and hugs at the doorway. Nor will I darken the doorway of a church that ponders " the thought and teachings of Jesus."

If I want some glad-handing snake oil salesman to sell me feel-good, then I'll take up the offer from the crack dealers on the corner. Dope is all about me, and "Jesus Loves Me" is crack religion. It seems to be highly popular, in spite of the rampant atheism of our West. I'll pass on it, thanks much. Apostate that I am, I have a higher regard for religion than the apostate church-goers. I'm sure that many of them resent the element of judgment in my attitudes and responses to them. They probably don't like my severe stance on sexual matters. They might feel harshly judged and unwelcome too. I honestly don't care if Jesus loves them. I don't love them, and I don't care about that either. At a minimum, 31 per cent of the time I am unhappy merely to meet one.

The following story is probably meant to give a lift to Christians concerned that their religion is dwindling in Canada, to show that it really isn't, and that Jesus loves us all.

Peter Mullen writes of Pelagius in Faking It: The Sentimentalisation of Modern Society. I have written elsewhere in a different context on Pelagius, and will therefore refrain from further muddying these waters. Mulllen's point is well taken, regardless, and for those who wish to know more I would suggest a read through. For now, this aticle from McLean's should suffice.

Maclean's Poll 2006: Praise the Lord and call the psychic

It turns out God is alive and well in Canada. So are angels, heaven, and ESP



But as Bibby's series of public opinion surveys shows, a funny thing happened on the way to an atheist Canada: rumours of Christianity's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Eighty-one per cent of Canadians believe in God, and two-thirds of us that Jesus Christ is His divine son. Belief in angels, heaven and (to a lesser extent) hell, is almost as prevalent. Crunch Bibby's 2005 numbers how you will -- based on age, on weekly or monthly visits, on denomination -- and the attendance decline not only levels off but shows a turn toward growth since 2000.


Just as it was the decline in attendance among Catholics that drove down the national attendance rate, it is the recent 10 per cent increase in Catholic church-going outside Quebec that has seen those numbers turn around. The uptick makes Bibby think Canada could be in for a "significant revitalization of organized religion." Especially since research indicates that perhaps two-thirds of the 16 per cent-strong No Religion group will "re-identify" with their birth faiths as they seek rites of passage relating to marriage, children, and death.


In a result that will seem, in the post-9/11 climate, both unsurprising and somewhat alarming, 18 per cent of respondents are uneasy in the presence of a Muslim. But this is hardly evidence of the much-feared anti-Islamic backlash. Canadians save their real suspicion for born-again Christians: 31 per cent of us are unhappy merely to meet one. (Jews, presumably viewed as more of an ethnic than a religious group, disturb only five per cent of Canadians.)

It's hard to guess what images formed in respondents' minds when they were given such stereotypical labels. In the case of born-again Christians, the current U.S. administration is so deeply unpopular here -- among secular Canadians as much for its religiosity as its policies -- that the image may well have been of President George W. Bush. That in itself would have been enough to spike the negative numbers upwards. But almost 80 per cent of Canadians, according to the 2001 census, identify themselves as Christian, and that means unease about born-agains comes from within the faith as well. It's reasonable to conclude that some of the negative attitude toward fundamentalists, Christians and Muslims both, comes from hostility towards fire-and-brimstone religion. And that's never more true than when people fear a political agenda: the proposed introduction of sharia law in Ontario, for instance, or restrictions on abortion or same-sex marriage.

"That 31 per cent number doesn't surprise me at all," comments Rev. Mary Joseph, pastor of Pathways, a United Church-affiliated "progressive Christian community" open to anyone interested in the thought and teachings of Jesus. "This is a fairly religious country, with a huge Christian base. But many people resent the element of judgment in fundamentalist churches." A lot of it, Joseph concurs, flows from the same severe stance on sexual matters -- abortion and homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, premarital sex and birth control -- that did so much to empty the mainstream churches in the first place. But there's another element as well, she adds: "People interested in alternative spiritual ways feel harshly judged and unwelcome too, like all those Christians who are interested in Buddhist meditation."

... A third of us believe in astrology, and more than half (57 per cent) are fairly sure ESP exists. Two-thirds think there's life after death, more than believe in either heaven or hell. Slightly more than 31 per cent consider it likely that we can communicate with the dead, although 46 per cent think we can do so with the spirit world. It seems a glaring contradiction that the number of people who believe we can communicate with spirits is 50 per cent greater than those who think we can talk to the dead -- especially since millions of Christians pray daily to saints, all of whom are dead....

Church without religion, and religion without God. It's all about feel-good. What's the point? Church should be more than a chance to dress up and show off once a week. It should be more than a time to hear yet again that you are special and that "Jesus loves you." Church could be a place with a time to join the communion of souls to celebrate ones religion and ones small place therein without hope of salvation, let alone gaining self-esteem. To know Jesus loves you and that you are special to God is somehow to miss the point that it's unlikely you know or can know the mind of God, were such a presence possible. And there we find the mirror of the mind of man today, vacuous and vain and silly. "Jesus Loves You." How can you presume?
Unless people confront themselves as Human rather than as the centre of their own solipsistic universes we will continue to see the rise of Islam and the attendant dhimmitude of the hollow men who have nothing but the Love of Jesus to comfort them in their decay. Whether Jesus loves people is irrelevant. It's all backward.
If we are to work toward a revitalised Western Modernity we will have to accept some harshness in our lives, and first we will have to apply it to ourselves by ourselves. If we don't, then the ummah will apply to us a harshness we might find worse. Whether Jesus loves us is out of our hands. But we can do something about the state of our own lives as we live.
Then we'll see.


dag said...

Here's a story about Christians for those Christians who're concerned about the harshness of other Christians.

And as Jane points out, Christians aren't flocking to the defence of Fallaci either, an atheist. So where are the Christians going? Quo Vadis, folk?

Brandon_T_Stanley said...

The Old Testament must be emphasised again. Joshua knew how to deal with child-sacrificng Baal worshipers. Ive probably said that before. But it bears repeating. Fallaci is another voice reason along with Spencer, Trifkovic, Winn, and Me. It only remains for the people to accept the practical consqeuences of their ideas. If cHristianity does not awaken to the fact that Islam must die; it will die. It is as simple as that. NO other alternative is offered by the Beast of Islam. I have a peice up on the subject- if youd like to frequent my site. Christianity must realize that Holy War is not a dirty word, and that crusading is really what saved the West from domination. Charles Martel, Leo the Isaurian, Halagu Khan, and Sobieski must enter or re-enter our log of heroes. We need more of them. Or we all shall be destroyed and our civilization aborted before its time. That is the grater crime.

Jane said...

Maulana Naseem Mahdi, amir of the Canadian Ahmadiyya community told the Saturday National Post:

"I have to tell you that I am very much worried about Canada. If we don't stop [the radicals] and we don't weed them out, it will grow."

Mahdi was interviewed in preparation for his appearance at a conference in Mississauga, Ontario, to be attended by Ahmadi Muslims and several Canadian political leaders. He encouraged Muslims not to be hypocritical by enjoying Canada's comforts while at the same time attacking its institutions and freedoms.

One issue Mahdi intended to speak about was apostasy: abandoning faith in one's religion. Shariah courts in some countries have meted out severe punishment to Muslims who converted to other religions. Mahdi points out that freedom of religion has benefited Muslims in Canada and they should embrace it for everyone.

Mahdi may be a little nervous about his own freedom of religion. The Ahmadiyya community which has only 50,000 members in Canada agrees with other Muslims on most theological points except one -- that their 19th century founder was a prophet and the messiah.

Off with the head?

dag said...

Mahdi might make the local news here in Vancouver if he's unlucky or incautious: the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby abuts this fair city, and there are numerous Pakistani and Somali Muslims here who'd love, no doubt, to chop off the man's head.

As much as I dislike everything about the Muslim poligion, a politcal religion that has next to nothing to do with religions as the rest of the world's people understand it, I do have room for the Ahmadiyya community if they should care to join us for discussion. They know where to find us and who we are. I look forward to them coming forward.

The Christians, on the other hand, are likely too busy gathereing funds for HAMAS to bother showing up for anything we do here.

We welcome the Mahdi if he should find his way from Burnaby. We'll see.

Jane said...

I didn't know Mahdi lived so close to Vancouver, in Burnaby. Since he was speaking in Mississauga, Ontario, I made the assumption that he lived in Eastern Canada.

The National Post reporter was under the impression that Prime Minister Harper could show up at the conference to hear Madhi speak. I wonder if he did.

dag said...

Jane, the Ahmadiyya community is fairly large, and this man might not live here in Vancouver at all. Still, tyhere will be others of equal importance who might join us if they choose to. They will find us far more sympathetic to their cause than are Muslims generally, those who consider them apostates and Satanists of some sort. Any quick browse at Jihad Watch will bring up too many accounts of persecution of these people for no other reason than that they differ from the established Muslim party line. Ahmadiyyim are raped, burned out, and murdered fairly often in Pakistan.If Muslims here gain enough power, the same will happen here. That's the way of it.

If the man does meet Harper we will have to question the depth of the conversation in terms of how much of it could make sense to an outsider who has likely little or no understanding of Islam. Without some expertise in this business Harper might as well be listening to a report of the weather on the moon. He'd understand every word of it without it making any sense at all.

With so much at stake in our lives from the threat of Islam we must know it deeply to make informed decisions about how to act on it. In this case, the people must lead the government. We have to know enough to ask our politicians questions they cannot answer. Once we do so they will be forced to learn if only to better lie to us. And perhaps in the process they'll come to understand what we know already. Islam is primitive fascism. It is a danger to all life that we as free people live. Islam is a danger to the Human race, and Islam must be destroyed. Will the prime minister of Canada understand that in time? Every converstation helps, but it will take thousands of people meeting weekly in libraries and other venues till it comes to the attention of our leaders to the point they too begin to care about the problem facing us all. Islam is a facsism, and we must deal with it rightly as such.

dag said...

Brandon, your time will come to join in the struggle that wil define our age and history to come. All of us have a part, and some will rise from the nature of life as we live it to answer the call to heroism. Life calls, and some answer.

I suspect the time will come when we will move in our mass to confront our enemies, and if we have the strength of will to win then Islam will die. But that's not near enough. People need a moral to the story of life, and that will come from within us. That moral is what some of us refer to as religion. Almost no one has it. Too bad for all of us.

We could, within minutes, solve the problem of Islam. It's our problem with our own existence we can't cope with these days. That war is still to be fought even if the Muslims all disappear today. Our own struggle will call up men and women to tell our story to us, men and women like those of the Old Testament, those whom we need so desperately now.

Truepeers asks about these people at covenantzone. I think in terms of war, but more and more often it seems likely to me it's a matter of faith. I'll leave it to others. I don't know anything.

religion of pieces said...

You are ordered to remove the word 'dhimmi' from the title of your blog. It must be known henceforth as 'No Tude'.

There is no such word as 'dhimmi' in the English or any other language. There has never been such a word as 'dhimmi' and never will be.
Failure to comply will result in a visit from social/mental health workers and possible incarceration for thought crime. This is your final warning, see:

dag said...

I saw the piece earlier today. Is it incredible or are we simple smacked on the head to the point of accepting anything without care anymore?

Thanks for the link, RoP. I hope others will look into it and the comments following as well.

We here will abolish the word dhimmitude by virtue of making it meaningless rather than by making it illegal to speak it.

Al-BBC is so crazy that I posted the celebrated IRA" bombing of their building. It wasn't meant as a suggestion. I just like the image.

No, don't bomb the BBC building. What are we going to do? Our intelligentsia are out of control. I don't know what to offer instead of bombing the BBC building, but I know I don't recommend that.

Jane said...

Religion of pieces said:
"Failure to comply will result in a visit from social/mental health workers and possible incarceration for thought crime."

This sort of thing actually happens with unbelievable regularity on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

dag said...

We have a Western world governed by law without reason in many aspects. It is the nature of the Romanitic Left to control people for their own good; as I often put it, to the dismay of many, to treat people like farm animals. It's neo-feudalism, or Left dhimmi fascism. Truepeers calls those who herd the "Higher Purpose People" or gnostics. There is a problem in our world, and it is one of the people accepting infantalisation. It's a sentimentalisation of life, a flight from freedom as Erich Fromm puts it, a Republic of Plato's Philosopher Kings, the Golden People ruling the Iron masses. It is a false religion, this tending and herding of Humanity. I'm begininning to see this as a lack of faith. Sartre would term it "bad faith," but I see it as no faith at all.

I had a conversation earlier this evening with a man whom I trust to tell me true things from his long life of intelligent and thoughtful experience, and he this evening told me off-hand that we have "gay marriage" across our lands because, here in Canada for example, in a nation with a population of 30 millions, there are 500 activists who demanded it, and now it is.

We must counter with 500 activists of our own to change the course of history here and elsewhere.

As I've written in another context, "Give me 1,000 men who aren't afraid to die, and I will give you 100 men who will rule the world."

I see it as a matter of faith.

Brandon_T_Stanley said...

The West had no core. This is true. We have no uniting principles. We must first of course find these. But I think we do not have time. To sit down and find a philosophic foundation seems like a type of vanity. But it has to happen. Someone has to do it.

We are paying for being Secular Humanists for the last forty years. It seems time to change occupations and except a higher wage.