Evola on Christianity

For all practical purposes, Christianity “converted” Western man only superficially; it constituted his “faith” in the most abstract sense while his real life continued to obey the more or less material forms of the opposite tradition of action, and later on, during the Middle Ages, an ethos that was essentially shaped by the Northern-Aryan spirit. In theory, the Western world accepted Christianity but for all practical purposes it remained pagan; the fact that Europe was able to incorporate so many motifs that were connected with the Jewish and Levantine view of life has always been a source of surprise among historians. Thus, the outcome was some sort of hybridism. Even in its attenuated and Romanized Catholic version, the Christian faith represented an obstacle that deprived Western man of the possibility of integrating his authentic and irrepressible way of being through a concept and in a relationship with the Sacred that was most congenial to him.

Julius Evola, Revolt Against The Modern World, 287

Historically speaking, Christianity has been largely corrected and mitigated in Catholicism through the aggregation and assimilation of principles from various origins (especially Roman and Classical) as can be seen in the theological domain of Thomism, which would be inconceivable without Aristotelianism. This is precisely the reason that in the past, and especially during the Middle Ages, the Roman Church was able to exercise a certain traditional and formative influence. But this was not achieved, nor could it have been, without neutralizing the original premises of the Christian religion.

Men Among The Ruins, 213

The principles: “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36) and ‘Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s (Matt. 22:21), represented a direct attack on the concept of traditional sovereignty and of that unity of the two powers that had formally been reestablished in imperial Rome. According to Gelasius I, after Christ, no man can simultaneously be king and priest; the unity of sacerdotium and regnum, when it is vindicated by a king, is a diabolical deception and a counterfeit of the true priestly regality that belongs to Christ alone. It was precisely at this point that the contrast between Christian and Roman ideas escalated into an open conflict. When Christianity developed the Roman pantheon was so inclusive that even the cult of the Christian Savior could have found a proper place within it, among other cults, as a particular cult derived from a schism in Judaism. As I have previously suggested, it was typical of the imperial universalism to exercise a higher unifying and organizing function over and above any particular cult, which it did not need to deny or to oppose. What was required though, was an act demonstrating a superordained fides in reference to the principles “from above” embodied in the representative of the empire, namely, in the “Augustus.” The Christians refused to perform this very act, consisting of a ritual and sacrificial offering made before the imperial symbol, since they claimed that it was incompatible with their faith; this was the only reason why there was such an epidemic of martyrs, which may have appeared as pure folly in the eyes of the Roman magistrates.

In this way the new belief imposed itself. Over and against a particular universalism, a new, opposite universalism based on a metaphysical dualism affirmed itself. The traditional hierarchical view according to which loyalty enjoyed a supernatural sanction and a religious value, since every power descended from above, was undermined at its very foundation. In this sinful world there can only be room for a civitas diaboli; the civitas dei, or the divine state, was thought to belong to a separate plane and to consist in the unity of those who are drawn to the otherworld by a confused longing and who, as Christians, acknowledged only Christ as their leader as they awaited the Last Day. Wherever this idea did not result in a virus that proved to be a defeatist and subversive one, and wherever Caesar was still given “the things which are Caesar’s,” the fides remained deconsecrated and secularized; it merely had the value of a contingent obedience to a power that was merely temporal. The Pauline saying, “all authority comes from God” was destined to remain ineffectual and meaningless.

Revolt Against The Modern World, 284-285

The Catholic religion has embraced the biblical principle concerning the multiplication of the human species. This is one of the cases in which the Church has bestowed an ethical value on things which have only a practical, relative value that is quite outdated today. The Jewish precept was justified only considering the patriarchal conditions of the ancient Jewish tribes, composed or farmers and herdsmen, in which (as still happens today in those few rural areas where analogous situations are found) a plentiful offspring was regarded as desirable and providential because of the need for able bodies. All this has nothing to do with religion or ethics. From a specific point of view – that of asceticism – it is possible to condemn the pleasures of sex in general, as was the case of the original ascetic Christian tradition. But in ordinary life, and in general, wherever there are no ascetic vocations it is extremely unreasonable to legitimize and sanctify sexual union and marriage only when they are aimed at procreation, declaring them to be sinful in every other instance. For practical purposes, what does this mean, other than that the religious perspective here approves and even encourages the most primitive and animalistic expression of an instinct? Conception essentially implies a state of complete abandonment of man to the sexual passion, just as one of the most natural means to avoid conception implies a certain renunciation, predominance of will, and self-control vis-a-vis the most primitive impulse of instinct and desire. In every other instance besides sex, the Church praises and formally approves the latter disposition – that is, the predominance of the intellect and will over the impulses of the senses. But when it comes to sexual union, because it obtusely maintains the outdated precept of the Jewish law, either out of hypocrisy or from a theological hatred of sex per se, Catholic morality has endorsed the opposite attitude: the attitude of those who passively play into the hands of Schopenhauer’s “genius of the species” through couplings that are really more ferarum (after the manner of beasts).

Let me repeat: I could understand the precept of celibacy and chastity and the total condemnation of the pleasures of sex and the use of women from the point of view of an ascetic morality with supernatural objectives. However, it is incomprehensible to endorse the use of women and sexuality only in terms of procreation, as this amounts to degrading every relation between the sexes to an animal level. Even a libertine, who elevates pleasure to an art (not to mention a certain “Dionysism” that in antiquity enjoyed a religious sanction), is undoubtedly superior to those who follow the Catholic view to the letter.

Men Among The Ruins, 269-270

Among those who have denounced the crisis of the modern world in the most uncompromising way, there are some who have put their trust in the possibilities inherent in Catholicism. By acknowledging that if the West has ever had an order that conformed to tradition it was thanks to the Church, some have thought that Europe’s return to a Catholicism integrated with Tradition may be a way leading to a revival of the West. And yet, this too is an illusion.

First of all, how is it possible that Catholicism may have today that strength to operate a radical and universal conversion of which it has proved itself unable even when there existed material, moral, and intellectual conditions infinitely more advantageous? Would Catholicism be able to take again that body it lost so many centuries ago, a body that today has taken a life and spirit of its own and that science and lay culture have profaned in every fiber? Even when Catholicism formally professes the Christian faith, it no longer represents anything essential or decisive in the actual lives of both individuals and entire nations.

It is not a matter of adaptations and of compromises. The “game” of compromises and adaptations has lasted way too long and it did not prevent the decline of the West. Either religion becomes unanimous, absolute, and returns to manifest the live and operating power of transcendence, or it is nothing. Here too, it is not a matter of the possible marginal integrations in the person of this or that exceptional individual Catholic. It is only in the bloc of orthodoxy animated by a totally different spirit that Catholicism, despite its spurious nature, could theoretically provide a reference point to many divided and scattered forces. And yet, how could Catholicism possibly overcome the partisan and antitraditional exclusivism typical of its doctrine and elevate itself to a superior, metaphysical, and esoteric perspective, capable of freeing it from its own limitations? Is it not very obvious that Catholicism today is trying to reconcile itself in every way with modern thought and that the ascetical and contemplative element in it is increasingly neglected in favor of the moralistic and social dimension? Is it not obvious that in the political domain the Church lives day by day, dealing with this or that system, and avoids committing itself to any one and uncompromising direction, being obsessed with keeping up-to-date and staying on top of things, even to the point of engaging in a dialogue with Marxism?

Spiritually speaking, a tradition that merely amounts to a system of faith, scholarly theology, and symbols and rites that are no longer understood in their deepest meaning cannot act in a universal and vivifying fashion. Also, it is problematic to what degree the Catholic clergy still preserves some of the features of a body that is effectively invested with a power “from above.” Materially speaking, with the context of European Christianity it would first be necessary to remove the Protestant and Orthodox schisms, itself a utopian prerequisite for a rigorous return to a starting point. Moreover, an eventual defensive solidarity of the Christian churches against the onslaught of militant antireligious forces should not be mistaken for a reaffirmation of a universal idea.

Revolt Against The Modern World, 360-361

Moreover, the idea that the West owes to Catholicism all the elements of Tradition it ever knew cannot be accepted without specific reservations. The composite character of Catholicism should not be forgotten. I have previously remarked that wherever this character manifested itself as a force promoting order and hierarchy, thus providing a support for European society, this was mainly thanks to the influence of the Roman-Germanic world. Conversely, whenever the specifically Christian component triumphed, Catholicism acted in the West in an antitraditional, rather than traditional way. The lunar, priestly spirit, its peculiar dualism, the various views of Jewish origin that became an integral part of the Christian spirit, all these things represented in Catholicism an obstacle that prevented the possibility of its infusing into Europe a spirituality in conformity with and proper to what I have called the Northern Light. Moreover Catholicism has caused the more real forces, after they found the way leading upwards obstructed, to flow into the material domain and realize in it the characteristic values of the Western soul. It is well-known that it was in the terms of a reaction against Catholicism that, beginning with the Renaissance, the reaffirmation of man and life took place. This represented an evident deviation and yet it was largely precipitated by the context I have just described.

Revolt Against The Modern World, 361

Therefore we must conclude that the way is doubly blocked. The prison in which Western man is confined is one of the worst ever to be devised because it does not have walls. It is not easy to get up again when there is nothing on which one can lean and push himself up. By increasingly undermining the effective influence of Christianity and Catholicism, the West is abandoning its last references to a spirituality that is not its own; and yet, in the forms that are proper to it, the West is not pure in spirit and is also unable to create its own spirit.

Therefore it seems unavoidable that fate will run its course. It have said it before: it is likely that having reached the penultimate step, and being on the edge of the universal advent of the truth and the power of the fourth and last of the ancient castes, mankind is ready to enter the last stage and touch the bottom of the Dark Age or Iron Age (foretold in traditional teachings), the general features of which largely correspond to those of contemporary civilization.

Revolt Against The Modern World, 362-363

Comment: For those unfamiliar with Julius Evola, the talk given by Jonathan Bowden is probably the best introduction. Those who are familiar with him have to decide whether they can accept his conclusions regarding Christianity or not, and to recognize that to reject his views on Christianity, by maintaining that Christianity is the one true faith, or even that Christianity was an improvement over Roman paganism, is effectively to reject his views overall. One is of course free to do so, but in that case there is little purpose reading or commenting on anything I write regarding Christianity.

My own view is that his conclusions were correct. Christianity is and always was deeply flawed, composed of conflicting and incongruous elements, and in its current form cannot save the West. While the overall direction chosen by Europe since the Renaissance has been unfortunate, its rejection of Christianity was entirely understandable and appropriate. The Church has completely and utterly failed in its duties both to God and man. On fundamental, essential issues the Church has been in the wrong since its very beginning. If the Church continues in its obtuse, prideful, and ignorant way, I say again, it should be rejected. It must be rejected. If it is to be otherwise, if the Church is to have a place in Europe, then the burden rests on the Church to repent of its many sins, errors, and false teachings, and to acknowledge and honor Europe’s foundational and ineradicable pagan identity.


The House Pagan

8 thoughts on “Evola on Christianity

  1. Relevant Vogelin (who’s religious beliefs, I should mention, are possibly closer to Evola’s then Catholicism)

    “The death of the spirit is the price of progress. Nietzsche revealed this mystery of the Western apocalypse when he announced that God was dead and that He had been murdered. This Gnostic murder is constantly committed by the men who sacrificed God to civilization. The more fervently all human energies are thrown into the great enterprise of salvation through world–immanent action, the farther the human beings who engage in this enterprise move away from the life of the spirit. And since the life the spirit is the source of order in man and society, the very success of a Gnostic civilization is the cause of its decline.
    A civilization can, indeed, advance and decline at the same time—but not forever. There is a limit toward which this ambiguous process moves; the limit is reached when an activist sect which represents the Gnostic truth organizes the civilization into an empire under its rule. Totalitarianism, defined as the existential rule of Gnostic activists, is the end form of progressive civilization.”

    For Vogelin both pre-Christian paganism and post-Christian Gnosticism fail to make the distinction between the divine and the immanent; Evola would be an example of the former. It should also be mentioned that “Northern-Aryan” spirit accomplish exactly zilch until it was brought under Mediterranean/Levantine influence in the form of Christianity (and, previously, the not-yet-Christian Roman Empire). Also, there is the old “Catholics hate buttsex because Jews, Jews are bad so hurray for buttsex” argument that pops up over at Counter Currents (see James J. O’Meara)

    1. A lot of the white nationalist websites (like Counter Currents) seem knee jerk anti christian. Quite frankly some of the nationalists seem totally fine with other kinds of social decay as long as the race is preserved. I don’t see this as sustainable–this is partially alluded to in my last article, but if your culture is too comfortable and wealthy, and you don’t have a solid moral grounding, eventually your race will fall into decline to, regardless of the actions of Jews or any other group.

  2. It’s worth noting that Evola reserved his highest praise during the interwar period rise of ‘far right’ movements across the European continent, to arguably the most fanatical Christian organization that had been seen for a long time, Corneliu Codreanu’s Legion of the Archangel Michael in Romania.

    Something about these Orthodox radicals impressed the maestro, and speaking for myself, if this was a brand of Christianity that Evola could get behind, then he and I were definitely in agreement.

  3. As a devout Catholic, I certainly acknowledge the truth, that the Church retains major influences from Judaism and from all the Paganisms it converted. But I do not see in this a loss of anything essential in the Western spirit; indeed, I see a divine providence in it, and I think anyone familiar with the traditional Catholic culture, prior to the Reformation, sees how noble and homely, how European and yet how transcendent, it was. It is only in the Counter-Reformation that we see the Catholic culture alter somewhat in response to the revolution and the counter-tradition. And, of course, this was the Catholic culture Evola knew – one already ailing under the parasite’s influence.

    How time has vindicated the Church’s position on contraception contra Evola’s! The contraceptive culture has shown itself for what it was. And, really, I am shocked to see such shoddy thinking from Evola; if one were to strive to justify the contraceptive culture, it surely could not be along the lines he proposed. On the one hand, he praises the ascetic motive of self-control, but then, when it comes to the marriage bed, where the Church insists that even the married are called to temperance and a kind of asceticism, and therefore should enjoy the marriage bed but always understanding that it is not a place of licentiousness and hedonism, but is at the service of the natural order of things, well, this he condemns. Now, if the Church told couples to exclude pleasure entirely from their sex lives, desiring only conception, he may have a point; but the Church wholeheartedly approves of a man and wife joining in pleasure, playfulness and intimacy. The Church has only said that the man who desires sex chiefly for pleasure, falls short of the standard of virtue – with which any ascetic, stoic or virtuous pagan man could agree. This is all the more true of the man seeks to nullify the natural consequences of sex by a deliberate action, ensuring that all he gets from sex is pleasure, while also holding nature in contempt. Evola seems to be laboring under some Jansenist misinterpretation of the Church’s teaching on sex, as though it were only upholding a Jewish precept and forbidding all joy in the sex act, rather than observing a Classically Pagan standard of natural law and virtue in accord with it. It really is beneath him, and I’m surprised to read it.

  4. if the Church is to have a place in Europe, then the burden rests on the Church to repent of its many sins, errors, and false teachings, and to acknowledge and honor Europe’s foundational and ineradicable pagan identity.

    Acknowledging Europe’s foundational and ineradicable pagan identity makes perfect sense, but why and in what way should the church “honor” this?

  5. An obtuse and ignorant representation of what Catholic Christanity represented.
    Let’s be clear and avoid all positivist atheist nonsense.
    Christianity indeed was originally an Israelite sect or heresy if you will but is synthetized fully Greek philosophy and Roman virtue and law with a good deal of mystery religions thrown in for good measure.
    As a Hebraic sect it would have remained marginal oddity amongst the hundreds of sects cults and religions of the Greco Roman world.
    The Church is of course its own worst enemy when it skirts this truth.
    A car doesn’t cease to be a car if parts of it are made in Malaysia Germany Italy Sweden Indonesia the USA and Canada. It is still one car and if well put together will not fall apart and will take you places.
    Without the Church there would be no science. Stanley Jaki.
    It is belief in the order purpose structure knowability of the Universe which makes science possible. Of course it’s origin is from the Ionian Greeks.
    If one boils water and it disappears or nothing happens or it turns into ice or as it does into steam then of course all science would be impossible the world would be meaningless and unknowable and there would be no science at all. But boiling water always always always turns into steam.
    So we can learn about heat materials gasses fluids water thermodynamics precisely because boiled water always turns into steam.
    For this to happen and for us to bother with it there must be a firm belief in the existence of matter the knowability of science and the possibility of discovering the laws of nature.
    If you choose to believe that matter self generated itself out of nothing without an outside agent and ordered itself into elements stars planets
    living structures be my guest. I think you are a self deluding imbecile.
    Plato Aristotle Cicero Archimedes and a thousand others and of cours eHippovrates of the Oath – anti abortion and anti euthansia hundreds of years bedore Christianity BTW – are Christian saints much more than the murderous worthies of the Old Testament.
    But Dante was sold on narrow orthodoxy so he puts Jews into Heaven and all great pagans into Hell.
    For fifteen hundred years Catholicism has attempted to expugn the most oiffensive abominations from the religion but Protestantism has reimported Judaic triumphalism and genocide and fanaticism.
    It also joined the iconocalsts of Byzantium and the Mulims in condemning graven images ie art as such. Humanism was a reintrodiuction of humans into art music drama literature. Chateubriand without Catholicism there would be no Mozart Michaelagniolo Galileo Botticelli Monteverdi Palestrina Pergolesi Bosch Dante Petrarch Shakespeare Milton Newton Moliere Corelli Lavoisier or Mendeleyev.
    No other great civilsations such as of Japan India China Korea ever produved anything universally valid as did specifically Catholic Europe.
    All the rest is a minor afterthought.
    How can an Italian Communsit or Fascist be so frightfully ignorant
    when he can’t but trip over great art on every street corner and hear music from every bogdega.
    And it is church music and church art.
    Take away Christianity naf you have nothing left not evem ruins.
    Not that the Church hasn’t been hell bent on destroying itself since Vatican II of infernal memory.

    1. errata

      I couldn’t be bothered about the nonsense about sex by Evola hell I almost wrote Ebola. He obviously hasn’t read Plato Denis de Rougemont Stendhal who has much nonsense to share about crystallisation or even Psappho or even Lucretius the poster boy of atheism who begins De Rerum Natura by a prayer to the Goddess who happens to be Venus.
      An atheist who prays? So does Camille Paglia.
      That’s another thing. these offensive false religions Judaism Mohammedanism Protestants deny the divine existence of a female entity which Catholicism and Hinduism and of course Greece and Roma affirm so does Shinto. These macho destroyers of worlds are all male fetishist imbeciles.
      For it is clear that while God is neither male nor female – or perhaps both – to anthropomorphise itself it cannot but appear as a man who has to be either male or female.
      To ants God would obviously appear in the guise of an ant not an anteater or a wasp.
      So these iconoclast religions deny God”s feminie nature as well as salvation to women as they are only lowly doormats o course.
      But we have the Virgin. Almost deified but not quite as after all she is only a woman.
      Whereas biologically it is clear that the female is much more important in all living beings plants or animals. males are mere sperm carriers.
      Of course there is a lot more to it than that for there is conjugal love which is sacrament after all.
      Evola is full of it.

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