There can be no question of saving or restoring Western civilization. It is far too late for that. At the foundation of every culture is the cult, religious practice. The West no longer has a foundation as the Catholic Church no longer plays a central role. The West has left the Church, but at the same time, the Church has left the West. There is no such thing as a secular society, only one that is about to disappear or be replaced. Nietzsche was quite right when he said that God was dead, and even today few recognize the gravity of that. If God is dead then Europe is dead, the West is dead. And it cannot be revived.
The deeply flawed right wing movements of the early twentieth century were the last serious attempts at a revival. Those attempts, with resources and determination far in excess of any so called movements today, failed. There will not be another. The Catholic Church, the only existing institution with the resources to even attempt such a thing today, seems uninterested in that task, if not antagonistic to it.
Attempts to move Westerners out of their apathy and into action by pointing out the dangers to their survival posed by third world immigration, or feminism, or liberalism are futile. Likewise futile are calls for nationalism, or preserving the beauty of (some) white women. Collectively Westerners have no true reason to live, and ultimately wish to die.
The claim that Westerners are apathetic because they are living better and happier lives than their ancestors is ignorance and delusion of a truly extraordinary degree. Material possessions and financial wealth only bring very limited and temporary happiness. With modern technology and resources they have the ability to distract themselves in ways their ancestors could not, but the very existence of these distractions is a sign of misery. For example, the enormous quantities of pornography produced in the United States does not indicate any liberation into a wealth of sexual opportunity but rather extreme deprivation and dissatisfaction. That Playboy magazine came into existence as early as 1953 shows that this is not a new situation.
The apparent strength, morality, and public order of 1950s America was only a paper thin illusion. That society, hollow and meaningless, was doomed to collapse. Removal of third world immigrants, or any other undesired group, would do nothing about this fundamental fact. 1950s America cannot be recreated, nor should it be.
As religion is the foundation of every civilization, Christianity is the foundation of the West. The claim that Christianity destroyed Western Civilization is pure stupidity. Of course, when I say Christianity, I mean Medieval Catholicism. The situation is rather different in the case of Protestantism or other forms of Christianity, including the primitive Christianity of the early Church.
Christianity has assumed many forms in its long history. So many forms that it could be said that there is no such thing as Christianity but rather Christianities. The form that it assumed during Medieval times would likely be unrecognizable to either Jesus or the Apostle Paul (assuming those were historical personalities.)
Reviving or saving Western Civilization would mean first and foremost saving Medieval Catholicism. This is almost certainly impossible. Rather than following the example of the Counter Reformation, the Church largely succumbed to modernism following the Second Vatican Council and likely before. But more importantly, Christianity, including its Medieval variant, has always been an imperfect fit for European peoples. Many people of European descent today, including some of the most intelligent, insightful, and spiritually conscious are deeply suspicious of Christianity, and are unlikely to give it the benefit of the doubt. They sense that Christianity, whatever its strengths, and whatever its form, is alien to Europe, and seems in many ways to be at odds, perhaps even at war with Europe’s history, culture, and true identity.
This rejection of Christianity must not be understood to be due to superficial reasons such as the recent abuse scandals. The outrage expressed at these scandals is in fact very difficult to take seriously as the Unites States has tolerated, encouraged, and profited from the industrial scale sexual abuse of children for generations in the form of circumcision. This one fact alone, the widespread acceptance of this procedure, which has no basis in European or Christian tradition, reveals the shallowness and superficiality of Americans Christian faith, and of course American is the most religious Western nation.
Some would claim that Europe’s past and its only possible future is a pagan one. There are two problems with this claim. First is adequately explaining why Europe became Christian. The second is the reality of currently existing pagan movements. If one rejects materialist explanations of wealth and military power, then the fact that a Germanic man stops worshipping Odin and replaces him with Christ indicates a weakness either of Odin, or of his unfaithful follower. There is no evidence that contemporary pagans, on the whole, are more serious or devoted than their ancient counterparts. The existence of supporters of gay marriage within Asatru, indicates at the very least a need for a considerable ‘house cleaning.’
The Traditionalist School, that is the philosophical ‘movement’ begun by Guenon, generally accepts the orthodoxy of Christianity and its appropriateness for European peoples. However, this same school also generally accepts (in at least some forms) the pagan faiths of India and China as orthodox and appropriate for those peoples and not in need of replacement. This suggests that the pagan faiths of Europe were or at least became inferior in some way. This idea is difficult to accept, though perhaps only for reasons of personal pride. It may be that while the entire world experiences the same dark age of the Kali Yuga at the same time, different regions experience it in different ways, with sub cycles beginning and ending at different times. For example, millennia from now India may be purely monotheist while Europe worships thousands of gods. But this is only speculation.
However, even if the weakness of European paganism in its late stages is acknowledged, this idea must be differentiated from the erroneous thinking of those like C.S. Lewis who accept that while paganism had some value, the full truth was not revealed until the coming of Christ. Lewis and many others today confuse the exoteric for the esoteric. The truth of Christianity in no way depends on the literal bodily resurrection of Christ nor even that a flesh and blood Jesus of Nazareth even existed. A better attitude I think is that of the ‘rogue’ Egyptologist John Anthony West who refers to Christianity as ‘remedial Egyptian.’ I believe in fact that adopting this attitude is the only hope for European people.
Western Civilization cannot survive. But that does not mean that the people of Europe, and elements of the cultures of previous inhabitants of Europe cannot survive, in the same way that elements of classical culture survived in Christian Europe. But this new culture of Europe, whatever form it may take, must have religion at its foundation. If the people of Europe do not develop a genuine religious tradition as a replacement for the moribund Christianity, they will either be subsumed into Islam or disappear altogether.
While I personally am extremely sympathetic to calls for Europe to return to its pagan heritage, I also recognize that this is not something that could be achieved by simply rejecting Christianity, which has far from giving birth to a new paganism only led to atheism and nihilism. It is deeply insulting when some Christians refer to the contemporary world as pagan or heathen, as it is nothing of the sort. Unfortunately there are some confused pagans who seem to believe that being pagan means first being anti-Christian rather than anti-modern, and are in favour of many modern trends. Christians and pagans alike gleefully participate in modern degeneracy and bring shame upon their ancestors.
The old ways and the old gods have been forgotten and they are not easily remembered, even by those who wish to. In no way do I oppose efforts to remember and restore the old faith, but at this point I remain unconvinced that paganism in any form could provide the foundation for a new European civilization. Christianity is closer to hand, and it would be most unwise to discard it casually whatever its flaws in modern form or historically.
Retaining Christianity in some form, and using it as foundation to build a new civilization would require addressing the many ways that Christianity is and has been an imperfect fit with Europe, and making changes where necessary. Of course these changes would in no way resemble efforts to restore the ‘true’ Christianity of the early Church. That entire approach to the matter must be utterly rejected. The validity and appropriateness of Christianity for Europe can only be entertained in the first place due to the breakdown of pagan tradition. While there are many areas of potential conflict between Christianity and European tradition, here I will briefly address four that I believe are important: sex, the Bible, the relationship between Christianity and Judaism, and that between faith and culture and nationality.
Christianity has a problem with sex. The prohibition of marriage of priests meant that many intelligent and moral men were not able to continue their family line. This is less of a problem today however, as the quality of the priesthood has declined. This problem with sexuality became particularly acute in Europe during the Victorian era resulting in such things as circumcision and a hysterical anti-youth sex attitude. But this problem has existed since the earliest days of the faith. While it would be naive to suggest that the abuse scandals would not have occurred had the priests involved been allowed to marry, the scandal does reveal the inappropriateness of the required vow of chastity. Sexual desire is something to be transcended by spirituality not repressed by it. This is an important distinction that Christianity has for the most part failed to make. Sexual desire is an essential part of human identity and it cannot be repressed without consequences. The repression of the Victorian era resulted in the decadence, hedonism, and vulgarity of today.
Christianity’s attitude toward sex appears strange when taking into account the fact that the Song of Solomon is part of Scripture. Even if one accepts the highly dubious allegorical interpretation of the book, that it represents God’s love for his people, the contradiction between the book and the attitude of the Church must be recognized. Unlike a Hindu temple, for a Christian Church to have sexual imagery, in paintings, or sculptures, would be considered scandalous. Supposedly marriage is a holy sacrament, but it is not. The Church is far too uncomfortable with sex to treat marriage in that way. If the union of man and woman was truly believed to be holy, absurd regulations regarding prophylactics and the sinfulness of various bodily positions would never even come into consideration.
It is interesting that the Church has favoured monogamy while the Bible itself does not. Polygamy was not part of Greek and Roman tradition and I am undecided if it should be in a future European culture. What I am certain of is that Christianity must be realistic in its treatment of this issue. Ideally, erotic passion would make up an important part of every marriage, but that is not a guarantee, nor is that the primary purpose of marriage. In the future, prostitution must not only be allowed, but become a respected and protected profession, recognized as essential for the proper functioning of society. Christ’s words equating lust with adultery must be understood to refer only to married women.
The role and make-up of the Christian Scriptures needs to be seriously examined. The Christian Bible is not a product of Europe, and is valid for Europe only to the extent that it is modified to match European culture and tradition. It is unsurprising that the Medieval Church had no particular concern about mass illiteracy, as they recognized the conflict between the Bible and the realities of the Church. The Protestant obsession with reading the scriptures rather than the experience of the mass and the tradition of ritual is an attitude that must be rejected. There is no need for the Scripture to be in the vernacular, as there is no need for most people to read it. Religion is not a matter of intellectual assent to propositions. Religion is what you do, not what you believe. And most people are not capable of determining for themselves what the proper actions are in a religious context, nor of properly interpreting religious texts.
Besides returning the Bible to Latin, or its original language, the text itself would have to be changed. Cries of outrage on this point are quite hollow, as the text of the Bible has already been changed. The sloppy addition to the end of the Gospel of Mark is a good example of this. The most important changes would take the form of revising the canon to include non Christian and non Jewish books such as the works of Plato and the Hermetic writings, and other texts that many Christians have recognized as spiritually valuable. Including these works is absolutely necessary to correct the false impression given by the inclusion of the Jewish Scriptures in the Christian Bible. Including the Jewish scriptures, but not the scriptures of any other culture, even those of the people adopting Christianity, implies that the Jews had some special knowledge or relationship with God or truth that others, apparently everyone else, lacked. This is completely unacceptable, as any honest and open minded examination of the situation will reveal that many other ancient cultures were far greater than the Hebrews, including the Egyptians and Babylonians, who are used as symbols of evil in the Bible. The other option is to follow Marcion and remove the Jewish scriptures altogether.
If Christianity is restored as the faith of Europe the relationship between Christianity and Judaism must be resolved more satisfactorily than it has been so far. Christ said that he came to fulfill the Law not abolish it. But why? Why must it be fulfilled? And what law? There are many laws for many peoples, just as there are many gods. European people are not now, nor have they ever been bound by Jewish law. As already mentioned, the belief that the Hebrews, their scriptures, and their god are in some way true while others are false, must be rejected. If so, then why was Christ born in Palestine? Was that merely a historical accident or was it in some way a necessity? Could he have been born in Rome? Who does he mean when he speaks of his Father? Is he speaking of Yahweh or of someone else? These questions will not be easily answered and the contradictions not easily resolved. Extreme alterations in the Scriptures and doctrine of Christianity will be necessary. If Christ’s life and message has any relevance for Europe than it must be seen as a fulfillment not of the will of Yahweh, but of the will of Jupiter, and the will of Odin. Something like this seems to be the attitude that the original Germanic converts took to the new faith. Christ was an addition to their pantheon, not a replacement.
In the Jewish scriptures there is a clear link between people and faith. The two things go together. This is not the case with the Christian scriptures as they were written under different circumstances. If it is true that there is no difference between Jew and Greek, male and female, then Christianity can only be a personal and private matter, not an established institution, part of, or working with the state. And indeed Christianity was originally intended for alienated outcasts who were dissatisfied with the official cults and existing philosophical movements. Many of the teachings of Christ and the apostles seem to be that of a sannyasi, one who has renounced the world for spiritual purposes. It must be understood that while that is an entirely valid path, it is a path only for the few. Many of Christ’s teachings simply cannot be followed by the majority, and they absolutely must not be applied on a societal level. Many of the moral and spiritual teachings of the New Testament apply to individuals only and have nothing to say whatsoever about the behaviour of institutions or nation states.
I do not expect any of the ideas mentioned here to be seriously entertained by those in power in the Church, at least not in the immediate future. But as conditions worsen and desperation grows, the formerly impossible and unthinkable will no longer be so. Leaders will be replaced and new movements begun. In this changing environment, it is possible that paganism will experience a resurrection and the question of the role of Christianity will be deemed irrelevant, but the future is far from clear. If Christianity is to play a major role in the future of Europe, as some insist it must for Europe to survive at all, then those who claim that must address the issues raised here, along with many others. If Christianity is unable or unwilling to address these issues, then it should be rejected.