I think … the skeptics are taking over atheism. …I am an agnostic,
because I believe that is the human condition, and I am a skeptic,
because I believe that is the most efficient way to live my life.
Atheism and its twin brother agnosticism are usually descriptions of individuals. But they’re also cultural forces, shaping society and in turn being shaped by the society in which they live and move and have their being.
[For brevity, I shall refer to them both as “atheism,” for they’re essentially identical at the level of day-to day operations.]
What has atheism to do with low cultural self-esteem? Just this: Atheism, especially today’s variety, makes a virtue of not believing. But skepticism weakens a man and a nation, leading ultimately to ruin unless countered by a renewal of belief.
Think of it: What character trait is today nearly-universally held to be the greatest virtue? Which trait is most praised? The absence of which trait is loathed most deeply and punished most harshly?
Tolerance, of course.
It does go by other names: nonjudgmentalism, openness, diversity, anti-racism, etc. But whatever it’s called, the supreme virtue of the modern age is not to believe.
Not to believe that one’s people are good and therefore one should be loyal to them. Not to believe that there is one true religion not only for us but also foreigners. [Hey, if it’s true, it’s true.] Not to believe that there are proper ways to love and marry, not just for me but for all. Not to believe that some things are beautiful and others are ugly. Not to believe that proper standards of decency ought to be enforced. Etc.
[It’s true that the authorities always act as if they believe some things. It’s impossible for an individual to live, or for a nation to exist, without at least acting as if certain things are true. But nowadays you’re not allowed to state openly that certain things are true and that you are acting accordingly. If you do, you’re a “bigot.”]
And this is generally the ethos of today’s atheist. He usually says that, sure, there might be a God. But I see no good evidence. So I remain skeptical. I won’t say for sure that God doesn’t exist, but I just won’t believe it. Today’s atheism reinforces and is reinforced by the spirit of the times.
And, naturally, the atheist regards his worldview as the best. The one that everyone ought to embrace if we are to make a better world. Let’s all stop fighting over Flying Spaghetti Monsters who don’t really exist and get on with living the good life of skepticism, tolerance, and live-and-let-live.
Except that human life doesn’t actually work that way.
In order to achieve anything great, and to insure the continuation of his people in the midst of a hostile world, a man (and a nation) needs certainty about some things. And the most important thing to be certain about is that your life makes sense at a deep level. That you are not just thrown into existence for no reason and then snuffed out utterly a few decades later for no reason either.
A man also needs the confident belief that he and his people are basically good. Only then will he be willing to exert himself, and sometimes deny himself, in order to protect someone other than himself.
But atheism is based on a skepticism that dissolves this confidence. It does so in individuals and nations. Told to be tolerant, told that nonjudgmentalism is the greatest good, told that reality itself is equal and indeterminate, threatened with punishment if he acts as if his people and his religion are actually good, the modern man shrinks back into skepticism and solipsism.
Therefore Western nations lack the will to defend themselves against any but the most crude and obvious physical threats. We allow foreigners to colonize our lands. We allow our children to forget the ways of our ancestors. We allow disorder and rebellion because we don’t want to deny anyone their civil rights. And so on.
All this is the predictable result of widespread skepticism. If God doesn’t exist, I’m on my own. And even if God just probably doesn’t exist, what difference would it make even if he does? After all, so this line of thought goes, a real God would make his presence known, but no such God has made himself known to me. Either way, with no (real) God out there, I cannot look to him to set things right. All I can do is make my brief existence as pleasant as possible. No sense sticking my neck out.
Of course, there are some people who spontaneously act better than that. Some people naturally act courageously. But many don’t. With widespread, officially-endorsed (and enforced) skepticism, the spirit of a nation is weakened.
Naturally, as a Christian, I know that Christianity is the truest religion and the only way to avoid Hell. But even the false religions give man what he needs most deeply: order. Especially the deep order that comes from believing in the reality of a world that transcends the merely physical.
Our ancestors believed in Christianity and, before that, other religions. And those few who did not were forced, as it were, generally to act as if they did. And this is one of the main reason our ancestors achieved greatness: Founding nations, building empires, defeating enemies, producing great works of art, establishing enduring schools of thought, and so on.
Could any of us moderns do these things? I doubt it, because we lack the basic confidence possessed by our ancestors. We of the West are not permitted by our leaders to defend ourselves against such obvious threats as false religion, mass immigration, and divorce, or to be proud of our ancestors, our traditional way of life, and our religion, because all these are “intolerant” and ”discriminatory.” It’s institutionally-mandated low national self-esteem. And it’s the natural result of the atheist’s basic way of thought.
[I’m not saying the atheist personally is to be blamed. It’s his way of thought, the way that existed before he was born, that is at fault.]
The man who fully buys into modernism, when he looks at the achievements of his ancestors, tend to focus on the injustices and the outrages: the massacres, the slavery, the “intolerance,” and so on. Probably that’s because as a skeptical weakling, the modernist’s primary concern in life is to avoid discomfort. Lacking any confidence in God and an afterlife, he hopes only for what he sees as the best possible outcome: avoid as much pain as possible in this life, and then mercifully pass out of existence.
I can’t claim to be that much better than the “degenerate modern” portrayed above. The poison of his skepticism influences us all. But at the very least, I know better than to endorse his suicidal skepticism.