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16

Subjects (abstracts): The Mass Psychology of Fascism; The Papacy and Fascism; Spartacus; Julian the Apostate and the Rise of Christianity; The Rise of the Mediocracy.

Note: the following excerpts are intended as stimulating commentaries.

For "Fascism", also consider Authoritarianism, Totalitarianism, etc. (compare: Christianism ("Christianity")).

[see previous references to Imperialism: #5, 155; #6, 179; #8, 204-207; #10,

239].

from: The Mass Psychology of Fascism, Wilhelm Reich [1897 - 1957], Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1970 (1946) (1933 Denmark). [See: #14, 329-334 (Wilhelm Reich)].

[prologue] "Love, work and knowledge are the well-springs of our life. They should also govern it.

Wilhelm Reich"

'we are dealing with three different layers of the biopsychic structure in the evaluation of human reactions....On the surface layer of his personality the average man is reserved, polite, compassionate, responsible, conscientious. There would be no social tragedy of the human animal if this surface layer of the personality were in direct contact with the deep natural core. This, unfortunately, is not the case. The surface layer of social cooperation is not in contact with the deep biologic core of one's selfhood; it is borne by a second, an intermediate character layer, which consists exclusively of cruel, sadistic, lascivious, rapacious, and envious impulses. It represents the Freudian "unconscious" or "what is repressed"'. [xi].

'my medical experiences with men and women of various classes, races, nations, religious beliefs, etc., taught me that "FASCISM" IS ONLY THE ORGANIZED POLITICAL EXPRESSION OF THE STRUCTURE OF THE AVERAGE MAN'S CHARACTER, a structure that is confined neither to certain races or nations nor to certain parties, but is general and international. Viewed with respect to man's character, "fascism" is the basic emotional attitude of the suppressed man of our authoritarian machine civilization and its mechanistic-mystical conception of life.

It is the mechanistic-mystical character of modern man that produces fascist parties, and not vice versa.' [xiii].

'Fascism is supposed to be a reversion to paganism and an archenemy of religion. Far from itfascism is the supreme expression of religious mysticism....Fascism countenances that religiosity that stems from sexual perversion, and it transforms the masochistic character of the old patriarchal religion of suffering into a sadistic religion. In short, it transposes religion from the "other-worldliness" of the philosophy of suffering to the "this worldliness" of sadistic murder.' [xv].

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'Fascist mentality is the mentality of the "little man," who is enslaved and craves authority and is at the same time rebellious.' [xv].

'It is generally clear today that "FASCISM" is not the act of a Hitler or a Mussolini, but that it is the EXPRESSION OF THE IRRATIONAL STRUCTURE OF MASS MAN.' [xx].

'In Christian mythology, God never appears without his counterpart the Devil, as the "God of the Underworld," and the victory of the divine God over the infernal God becomes the symbol of human elevation. This confrontation is also depicted in Greek mythology by the struggle between orgastic biosexuality and strivings that demand chastity.' [89].

["pastor Braumann"] 'Every religion is liberation from the world and its powers through unification with Godhood....

Here, to be sure, mysticism's function is clearly articulated: to divert attention from daily misery, "to liberate from the world," the purpose of which is to prevent a revolt against the real causes of one's misery.' [126].

"what religion calls freedom from the outside world really means fantasized substitute gratification for actual gratification. This fits in perfectly with the Marxist theory that religion is the opium of the people." [129-130].

"The way in which people conceive of a divine supernatural being is always determined by the level of the economy and of the culture." [144].

[See: #7, 196-197].

'In reality, the religious man has become completely helpless. As a result of the suppression of his sexual energy, he has lost his capacity for happiness as well as the aggressiveness necessary to deal with life's difficulties. The more helpless he becomes, the more he is forced to believe in supernatural forces that support and shelter him. Thus, it is not difficult to understand that in some situations he is also capable of developing an incredible power of conviction, indeed, a passive indifference toward death. He draws this power from his love of his own religious conviction, which, as we said, is borne by highly pleasurable physical excitations. Naturally, he believes that this power stems from "God."' [147-148].

"Originally and naturally, sexual pleasure was the good, the beautiful, the happy, that which united man with nature in general. When sexual feelings and religious feelings became separated from one another, that which is sexual was forced to become the bad, the infernal, the diabolical." [148].

"5. Religious feeling is subjectively genuine and has a physiological basis.

6. The negation of the sexual nature of this excitation ["Religious feeling"] causes one's character to lose its genuineness." [150].

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"I have to leave it to later investigations to work out the very complicated and detailed interrelations among the different kinds of cults, socio-economic social organization, and human structure. Genital shyness and pleasure anxiety remain the energetic core of all anti-sexual patriarchal religions." [151].

"It is the negation of the pleasures of the body that serves as the living source of the religious view, and is the axis of every religious dogma. This is especially evident in the religions of Christianity and Buddhism." [152].

"Sadism originates from ungratified orgastic yearnings." [192].

"in 1935, the Vienna sociologist Willi Schlamm wrote the following:

In truth, the epoch is gone in which we had the impression that the masses of society could be guided by reason and by insights into their situation of life to achieve social improvement with their own strength. In truth, the days are gone in which the masses have a function in shaping society. It has been shown that the masses can be completely molded, that they are unconscious and capable of adapting themselves to any kind of power or infamy. They have no historical mission. In the 20th century, in the century of tanks and radios, they have no mission—the masses have been excluded from the process of social formation.

Schlamm was right, but in a sterile way. He failed to ask how such an attitude on the part of the masses could arise, whether it was innate or capable of being changed. If I have understood him correctly, he had no hope, not even as a general principle." [217]. [See: #3, 83].

"Catholicism produces structural helplessness in masses of people with the result that, instead of relying upon their own strength and self-confidence when they are in distress, they call upon God for help. Catholicism makes the human structure both incapable and afraid of pleasure. A good portion of human sadism derives from this. German Catholics give their blessings to German weapons and American Catholics give their blessings to American weapons. One and the same God is supposed to lead two arch enemies to victory in war. The irrational absurdity of this is conspicuous." [230].

"As painful and embarrassing as it may be, the fact remains that we are confronted with a human structure that has been shaped by thousands of years of mechanistic civilization and is expressed in social helplessness and an intense desire for a führer [pope, etc.]." [281].

"8. It is not a question of the Versailles Peace Treaty, the oil wells of Baku or two to three hundred years of capitalism, but a question of four to six thousand years of authoritarian mechanistic civilization, which has ruined man's biologic functioning." [322]. [see 341].

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"Not until man acknowledges that he is fundamentally an animal, will he be able to create a genuine culture." [345].

"A person who wants to drive a car has to pass a driver's test; this is a necessary requirement to guarantee the safety of others. A person who owns a bigger house than he can afford is forced to rent or buy a smaller house. A person who wants to open a shoe store must show proof of his ability to do so. But in this twentieth century of ours, there is no law to protect the newly born against the parents' inability to bring them up and the parents' neurotic influence. Scores of children can, indeed should, according to the fascist ideology, be put into the world; but no one asks whether they can be nourished properly and whether they can be educated in keeping with the highly extolled ideals. THE SENTIMENTAL SLOGAN ABOUT THE LARGE FAMILY IS TYPICAL OF FASCISM, NO MATTER WHO PROPAGATES IT.3" [351].

[a reminder of arguments for required Breeding Licenses for Homo sapiens].

• • •

from: Freethought History ($10/year), Edited by Fred Whitehead, Box 5224, Kansas City, Kansas 66119. #19/1996 [see #18: Thomas Paine, Moncure Conway, etc.], "2".

["In 1934, a local publisher issued Tom Barclay's Memoirs and Medleys: The Autobiography of a Bottle Washer."]

'"....What a bitter but true saying that of yours, Bernard Shaw, that if it were not for the working man we would have had Socialism established long ago. What could keep the masses out of it if they really wanted it and went for it?" He sees how sports and entertainment have flourished as a gigantic diversion from reality.'

• • •

from: Encyclopedia of Psychology, Raymond J. Corsini, Editor, Volume 3, John Wiley & Sons, 1994 (1984).

'Eckhardt reported major differences between fascism and three other systems of valuescommunism, conservatism, and liberalism. He concludes: "The Fascist system of values was significantly different from that of Communism, Conservatism, and Liberalism, whose value-systems were not significantly different from each other. More specifically, Fascism was significantly higher than the other ideologies in militarism, authoritarianism, and anti-welfarism. . ." (Eckhardt, 1965, p. 356).' [98].

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• • •

from: The Papacy and Fascism, F.A. Ridley [1897 -], Martin Secker Warburg, 1937 (AMS Press reprint 1973).

[for the tip to F.A. Ridley and Fascism, I thank Fred Whitehead (347)].

[for F.A. Ridley, see: 100 Years of Freethought, David Tribe, 1967, 165-168].

Excursus: from: Vision and Realism, A hundred years of the Freethinker, Jim Herrick, 1982.

'Ridley was an established writer by the time he became editor of the Freethinker, having published books such as The Papacy and Fascism (1937), The Evolution of the Papacy (published by the Pioneer Press, an imprint of G.W. Foote & Co.), and Revolutionary Tradition in England. He was political and scholarly, having been expelled from the Trotskyites by Trotsky himself, and being a familiar figure in the British Museum Reading Room. His short period as editor [(after Chapman Cohen [editor 1915 -1951]) 1951-1954] and President was due to his temperamental preference for writing and research to administration and organisation.

Ridley brought to his Freethinker writing a belief that the Roman Catholic Church was the most powerful enemy of progress and reason, and that freethought should not lose sight of its essentially radical tradition. He also brought a global perspective, writing about Islam, Eastern Europe and Africa. (He was a personal friend of Jomo Kenyatta.)....

After writing of the "drift towards an atomic holocaust", he turned to the Roman Catholic Church:

At the Vatican, they take long views. One must not confound temporary tactics of accommodation with their long term fundamental strategy. Beyond all its manoeuvres dictated by circumstances of an age of rapid change, the papacy pursues a single and constant aim with a single-minded and ruthless zeal: the destruction of modern secular civilisation and the re-introduction of medieval ways of life. In the new Dark Age, in which science would have committed suicide, Rome would once again reign as of old over a medieval theocracy, and heretics and Atheists would have but the choice, which was theirs for a thousand years, to obey or die.

(1 January, 1950.)' [102-103].

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'Fascism, and the Fascist movements which embody it in action, are the formula of the decay of modern capitalist civilization, just as the Roman Empire of the Caesars represented the similarly conscious passage of the classical civilization from maturity to decay. Caesarism, Fascism and the Totalitarian State [compare: Christianism ("Christianity")] all alike represent, indeed, the same social phenomenon. The historic task of the Caesars of Imperial Rome, as I have defined elsewhere, was, at bottom, simply this: "THEY AVERTED DISSOLUTION BY STABILIZING DECAY:" The same task is performed by the Fascist dictatorships of to-day.1 ["1F.A. Ridley, Julian the Apostate and the Rise of Christianity [edition?]. See Note W, pp. 172-3."]' [168].

'We may define Fascism, considered as a sociological phenomenon, as an artificial attempt to support an effete economic and social system by the aid of the crutches of dictatorship and repression, by means of a Totalitarian state which will artificially impede the natural evolution of society. In that ultimate historic sense, WHILE THE NAME "FASCIST" IS NEW, WHAT IT REPRESENTS IS AS OLD AS CIVILIZATION; the artificial effort of a dying society to prolong its existence long after it has exhausted its social function and, consequently, its natural right to live. As such, it is everywhere characterized by refusal to face the possibility of future evolution and by a hankering after an idealized past.

In this respect, all the historic forms of Fascism concur. Augustus [Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus 63 B.C.E. - 14 C.E. (first Roman Emperor 27 B.C.E. - 14 C.E.)], the founder of the Fascist Empire of the Caesars, bade Vergil [70 - 19 B.C.E.], his court poet, devote the Aeneid, his magnum opus, to the celebration of the golden age of the distant past; Ignatius Loyola, the master of mediaeval Fascism...laid down as an iron law: "No novelties in theology"; respect the authority of the past. While the Fascist dictators of to-day, Mussolini, Hitler, and Franco, as is well known, never tire of calling attention to the glories of the Rome of the Caesars, the Germany of the Niebelungenlied [Nibelungenlied: German epic poem c. 1200. Refers to earlier period of violent emotion, vengeance and honor (Encyc. Brit.)], and the Spain of Columbus. Atavism is, in fact, so far from being accidental to this creed, that it is found at all times, in every Fascist state. That this is so, indicates the essentially reactionary and retrogressive nature of this social phenomenon.' [168-169].

"It is evident to anyone who can penetrate through FICTIONS [see (Fiction in Antiquity) #1, 1-16 passim; #2, 29-32]inspired and otherwise—and see down to the bedrock of fact that as far as the real historic founder of the Papacy can be said to be any single man, it was Augustus [first Roman Emperor 27 B.C.E. - 14 C.E.], the founder of the Roman Empire, and not Peter [a Fictional character! see: #3, 42; #4, 107-108; #8, 200-203; #10, 228, 232; #13, 277, 284, 304; etc.], the obscure fisherman of Galilee. It was the fact that Rome was the capital of the Western World during the first four centuries of its existence, that laid the foundations [see #8, 204-207 (Roman, and subsequent Christian, Imperialism)] of Papal Rome so as to prepare her for her grandiose rôle in the mediaeval era." [31].

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Excursus: from: #6, 179:

Comments....Rome: Interesting, considering the age of this planet, the thousands of years of Homo sapiens, the thousands of geographic locations, etc., that the "Son of God" appeared in the first century C.E., and in the Roman Empire.

Roman Imperialism had succeeded, and was approaching its greatest extensions (era of the height of Roman powers).

This setting, for the coming of "Jesus", was very "lucky" (calculate the statistical probabilities [applicable to divine happenings?]). Obviously this event was related to the concept, credited to Voltaire many centuries later [see map, M-22-23, to appreciate Christianity (4th century) as a military camp-follower]: God favors big battalions!

'It is, in fact, a universal law of every theocracy, from ancient Babylon to modern Tibet, and of every society guided by ecclesiastical authority, that, as a modern theologian has aptly remarked: "There are no problems to solve, there are only authorities to consult."....

Hence at the centre of every sacerdotal culture the intellectual enquirer will find the notice: "No thoroughfare"; and this warning to human thought is generally accompanied by another: "Trespassers will be"—not "prosecuted", but rather "exterminated".' [68].

'in a society wherein change is the effective sin against the Holy Ghost [see #2, 24 (Hobbes)], the first law of human thought is to negate itself and to deny the curiosity which is the driving motive of the human mind in action....in every theocracy, in every "totalitarian" régime, like that of the mediaeval Papacy, curiosity, the desire to know which constitutes the vitality of thought, is the first and essential crime, and in some form or other the law against "dangerous thoughts" is fundamental in such an Authoritarian system.

These psychological principles led, logically and directly, in the thirteenth century to the inauguration of THE CATHOLIC TERROR; THE MOST RUTHLESS AND SUSTAINED REPRESSION OF HUMAN VOLITION AND HUMAN THOUGHT THAT MANKIND HAS EVER KNOWN IN THE ENTIRE COURSE OF ITS HISTORIC EVOLUTION.' [69].

"But for the CATHOLIC TERROR, inaugurated—in so far as a complex development can be attributed to any one man—by Pope Innocent III (1198-1216), when he began the CRUSADE AGAINST HERESY [see #2, 23-25 (Heresy)] and by his immediate successors who founded the mediaeval INQUISITION, there can be little doubt that Catholicism would have begun to disintegrate at this time, or that European civilization would now be much more advanced, and would have solved many of the problems and shed many of the superstitions which still confront it to-day." [70].

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'FOR FASCISM IS A SPECIES OF POLITICAL "CATHOLICISM", AS CATHOLICISM ITSELF IS, IN ITS ATTITUDE VIS À VIS MODERN CULTURE, A KIND OF ECCLESIASTICAL "FASCISM".' [161].

"(It was not for nothing that Thomas Hobbes [1588 - 1679], the most penetrating of English political philosophers, wrote in Leviathan (1651) that 'THE PAPACY IS THE GHOST OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE SITTING CROWNED ON THE GRAVE THEREOF.')" [252].

[See (Hobbes): #2, 24; #7, 180].

• • •

from: Spartacus A Study in Revolutionary History, F.A. Ridley, '"The War of Spartacus and the Slaves was the most just war in History; perhaps the only just war in History" Voltaire', Independent Labour Party, "[1944]".

[again, I thank Fred Whitehead (347)].

Excursus: from: Cambridge Biographical Dictionary, 1990.

"Spartacus (d. 71 BC) Roman gladiator and rebel, born in Thrace.

A shepherd who became a robber, he was captured and sold to a trainer of gladiators at Capua. In 73 BC he escaped, with about 70 others, to Vesuvius, where he was joined by many runaway slaves. He repulsed C. Claudius Pulcher, defeated several Roman armies and laid waste much of Italy. He was defeated by Marcus Licinius Crassus near the river Silarus in 71, and executed with his followers by crucifixion." [1376].

"Note on Spartacus and the Rise of Christianity"

'It seems to be a "law" of human psychology that a class, or an individual, cannot go on living without some hope in and for the future.'

'Never probably in the whole of recorded history has the social function of religion as "the opium of the people" been demonstrated more clearly than in the case of the great religious revival at the opening of the Christian era. Understood realistically against its original social background, it represents probably the most colossal act of "escapism" in recorded history. The transformation of the Cross, the symbol of torture, into the symbol and instrument of salvation, was, assuredly, a stroke of genius on the part of Paul of Tarsus [see #4, 105-151 ("Paul")] and his associate propagandists.

The slaves thus made life again tolerable by this profound psychological victory over their oppressors, transferred from this world to the next. That the master class later captured the Church and turned it into one of the most effective instruments of counter-revolution in history must not be permitted to obscure its original social significance. In the colossal drama of "the foundations of Christianity" Spartacus and the servile revolution take their place as an indirect but potent formative cause.'

[76-77].

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• • •

from: Julian the Apostate and the Rise of Christianity A Study in Cultural History, by F.A. Ridley, '"Man is by nature mediocre; he is good for something only when he dreams." Ernest Renan.', Watts & Co., 1937.

["Introduction"] 'The fourth century, the age of Julian [c. 331 - 363 (Roman Emperor 361 - 363 (spear!))], was not an age favourable to displays of individualism, or indeed to any individual rôle. Never, prior to the twentieth century, was there in all probability an age more "corporate" in its essential character, or more dominated by mass movements and by large-scale organization.' [ix].

[compare my Ecclesiastical Corporation ("Paul"): #4, 116, 123, 129].

"The best proof possible that the old civilization was not merely dead, but was damned beyond recall, is to be found in the fact that even so powerful an intellect as was St. Augustine (354—430) was forced to waste his powerful mind and dramatic pen on theology and rhetorici.e., on the superstitions formerly relegated to stable-boys and on the dregs of literature. Such was the religious culture of the masses which dominated European culture from the third to the sixteenth century." [179].

Excursus: from: #2, 19 (C. Jan Swearingen, Rhetoric and Irony Western Literacy and Western Lies, Oxford, 1991, 179):

'He [Augustine 354 - 430 C.E.] recounts that he had to completely alter his own linguistic assumptions and his taste for the "stately prose of Cicero," in order to accommodate the seemingly vulgar, childlike language of Scripture.9 Are these not, he asks himself, simply "literary" fables like the "immoral stories" he and his fellow churchmen object to in pagan literature?'

[See: 55., 56., 60.-63., 87., 88., 90., 94.-96. (contrast), 174., 195., etc.].

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["Introduction"] 'we challenge in toto the basic assumptions of sixteen centuries of Christian history and of its epigones, the modern, but mediaevally minded, historians of our own times. Contrary to their reiterated statements that Christianity was bound to win in the end, and that Julian, in consequence, was engaged upon a task that was hopeless from the start, we assert the opposite: Julian was not seeking the impossible when he sought to eradicate Christianity from the Roman world. Per contra, but for his early death he would actually have destroyed it, since the last word now lay with the state in the religious question of the fourth century, and, whatever solution it adopted, that would have been accepted by the Roman Empire and by the world at large. In this connection it is sought to establish that Julian was a cultural genius, the original founder of the propaganda technique now famous as "cultural Bolshevism," and that he was, as such, the historic predecessor of its subsequent masters, Loyola [Ignatius Loyola (St.) 1491 - 1556] and Lenin [1870 - 1924], and the forerunner in cultural technique of Jesuitism, Bolshevism, and Fascism.

It is asserted further that so far was Christianity from an "inevitable" triumphas so often erroneously emphasizedthat the morbid hatred which has preserved the name and fame of "the Apostate" down to our own times was a direct reflex of its fear; and this arose from its realization that only the death of Julian saved the Christian Church from destruction.' [x-xi].

"IN NO SENSE WAS THE TRIUMPH OF CHRISTIANITY IN THE FOURTH CENTURY PREDESTINED OR INEVITABLE. It was due to several concurrent causes, the first and most obvious being that it arose at the end of an era with a tradition of unbroken religious toleration, as a consequence of which persecution, THE ART OF PERMANENTLY SUPPRESSING OPINION [see #2, 22-32], had not yet had time to become a science." [187].

"Not merely did the persecution of Galerius [Roman Emperor 305 - 311] differ in the degree of its severity from the earlier, spasmodic persecutions; it differed also in kind with regard to its nature. For it was at this point that there entered history a new technique of propaganda [see #2, 22-23 (Propaganda)]—that method subsequently developed by Julian, rediscovered by Ignatius Loyola in the sixteenth century, and by Lenin and his Bolshevik disciples and Fascist imitators in our own time....This technique represents the art of applied psychology conjoined, if necessary, with terror, to overcome an ideology by a rival ideology, backed up by the power of the State. While the full application of such a methodology had to wait for the technical equipment—radio, cinema, popular Press, etc.—of the twentieth century in order to achieve its present terrifying power, yet the high degree of political organization achieved by the Roman Empire, one unequalled up to that time, and never since equalled in proportion to the scale of contemporary history, prepared the way for the first large-scale application of this method to be attempted." [187].

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"EPILOGUE"

'It is the central and fundamental thesis of the present study in cultural history that Julian "the Apostate," in seeking to restore paganism in a modernized European form, was not attempting the impossible, still less the fantastic and quixotic, as so many centuries of Christian mythology, masquerading as genuine objective history, have confidently assumed. Julian [Emperor 361 - 363], not less than Constantine [Emperor 306 (312) - 337] and Theodosius [Theodosius I: Emperor 379 - 395], could have decided the spiritual destiny of Europe for the next millennium and a half, had it not been for the accident of his untimely death when fighting victoriously against the Persian enemies of the Roman Empire. Indeed, the comparison is inadequate, since Julian, unlike the "great" Christian Emperors aforementioned, was a man of ideological and cultural genius, who evoked a new and deadly technique for the suppression of ideas by scientific repression; that method styled above as the method of "cultural Bolshevism"—viz., the transformation of persecution from a shambles into a science—and as a creative master of this art and technique we equate the Emperor Julian with the great modern masters, Loyola and Lenin, who, after the lapse of ages, reverted to the fundamental methods and cultural strategy of the great Roman Emperor.' [251].

'Julian was, in fact, the most dangerous enemy that the Church ever had prior to modern times, prior even to the twentieth century and to the rise of Bolshevism. If, in fact, Constantine was "equal to the Apostles," Julian, had he survived, would have been too much for their successors! The age-long hatred with which the Christian Church has, so to speak, watered his memory and kept it green, is an exact measurement of his historical stature and of the fear which he excited among his enemies. Why, we ask, is the name of the Apostate, as an apostate, still a household word among men, when so many longer lived emperors and more grandiose and spectacular reputations have long since crumbled into dust? And the answer can only be that Julian came so near to destroying Christianity that it still shudders at his memory. The survival of Julian's memory is in proportion to the hatred which he excited, and this, in its turn, is directly proportionate to the fear in which the Church went of the terrible Apostate, from whose deadly coup de grâce only death saved it in the very nick of time.' [252].

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'At the present time, when, at long last, Christianity is in full retreat, and reason and superstition are locked in their final battle for the decisive mastery of human culture, the opportune moment has come to do justice to the Emperor Julian and to the historic "Apostasy" which is so inseparably associated with his name and his fame. The time, long overdue, has now arrived when the historic place of this great cultural figure may be exactly and objectively determined without recourse to the legendary distortions wherewith ecclesiastical tradition, and even secular history under its influence, have so long veiled the true greatness and historical stature of Julian the Apostate. Now, at long last, the time is come to do justice and to give his proper due to the last great champion of human reason and of European civilization before the mists of the "GALILEAN" ["CHRISTIAN"] SUPERSTITION drove hard from the East and shrouded the Western world in an age-long gloom, A GLOOM WHICH ONLY NOW AT LAST BEGINS TO LIFT.' [End of book] [254].

[see previous references to Julian: #2, 27-28, 29, 36, 39; #3, 50; #4, 112, 141; #6, 173; #10, 235, 238, 240; #13, 264, 267].

• • •

from: The Rise of the Mediocracy, David Tribe, George Allen & Unwin, 1975.

[for David Tribe, see: Contemporary Authors, Vols. 25-28, 1977, 728; Freethought in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, Gordon Stein, 1981.

David Tribe: President, National Secular Society 1963—1971; editor of The Freethinker 1966 (Stein, 108); "represented Britain at Harvard International Seminar" (Contemporary Authors)].

"Religious debate is increasingly denatured. Save in the broadest terms, few clerics would now care to challenge atheists to disputation on theology and biblical scholarship (and few atheists would care to accept the challenge). Debate has been replaced by 'dialogue', where protagonists take few beliefs into, and incomprehension out of, bland and lengthy discussions. So attenuated has genuine belief become that we now have, for example, Zen Catholicism, Catholic Marxism and Catholic Humanism. Reconciling the irreconcilable in this area has been hailed as a manifestation of divine grace when it should have been dismissed as a compromise of the shallowly committed. Saints and martyrs, heretics and apostates have been rescued from burning faggots by the extinction of burning beliefs. Philosophical religion and irreligion are so dead that no one could frame a convincing charge or mount a coherent defence at any inquisition. Intolerance has been replaced by insouciance. The rise of democracy has reduced overt persecution less by undermining bigotry than by undermining conviction." [123].

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"Though its Pontiff continues to pontificate on 'faith and morals'—and whatever politics he feels disposed to support or denounce—Roman Catholicism is becoming as irrelevant in most Catholic countries as Protestantism is in Protestant countries. The faithful will follow their priests when it means securing financial and other privileges at the expense of tax-paying majorities or devotional minorities, not when it interferes with their own sexual or social convenience. While it has little to say to the mind, the sacrifice of the mass (unless it is a 'rock' mass) has less to say to the heart. With catarrhal celebrants facing the congregation, accelerated responses taking as little time as possible out of the fun-loving observance of the Lord's Day, and Gregorian chants designed for the flowing measures of Latin now twisted and tortured into the vernacular, the eucharist has as much magic and majesty as Saturday night at the local discothèque. Few laymen confess more often than strict formalism demands and, if they want counselling, are far more likely to go to a lawyer or psychiatrist, marriage guidance counsellor or social worker, than to their parish priest. With no obligation on its professionals to be scholars or actors, or on its amateurs to be faithful or abstemious, Catholicism is becoming as much of a charade as its old enemy, Freemasonry. Mediocre in both its message and its ministry, stripped of the most charismatic and lucrative of its saints (who are now accused of doubtful historicity), berated for its sexual hangups [etc.], exposed in its business dealings, and finding even the bleeding heart of Jesus and the immaculate heart of Mary less productive in tears and contributions, the Hierarchy can claim to be little but the richest, greediest, surliest and stupidest mediocracy in the world." [123-124].

"Within the ranks of Christianity outside the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Rome, only 'Greek' Orthodoxy [see Excursuses, 357] is more venerably dated and sonorously titled. But so divided and eroded by political disruption within its traditional sphere of influence has it become, that its mediocrity scarcely ranks as a mediocracy....

Among world religions Protestantism is particularly pathetic. Its God has died, its Jesus is reduced to the status of an 'angry young man'if not of a sacred mushroom [see John Allegro]its salesmen are eloquent only on the subject of their stipends and its bible is continually retranslated into language of the thinnest banality. Seeds of intellectual decay and organisational disarray were present in the Reformation, and brought an early harvest of religious 'enthusiasm' and fanaticism to Europe. The twentieth century has provided a particularly favourable climate for this growth, which has spread throughout the world. Reason has yielded to revelation, fact to faith, works to worship of increasing incoherence, verbal testimony to glossolalia. Where Christianity is deemed not to be 'religionless' its religion is described as 'experiential'. Anarchic intuition and mysticism have ceased to be an 'optional extra' and become the chief commodity. 'Jesus freaks' is no longer a term of abuse but a chosen denomination. Trendy Protestantism is an extension of hippie subculture, whose neophilia is as likely to produce a new sectarian position as a new sexual position." [124].

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Excursus: from: Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics [this source, thanks to H.L. Mencken, Treatise on the Gods (Bibliography)], 1961,

Vol. VI, 425:

"Greek Orthodox Church.—I. The name.—The term 'orthodoxy'...[Greek word] is used to indicate the immutable conservation of the true Christian doctrine, as taught by Christ and the Apostles, and set forth in Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition, as against the divergence therefrom of heretics, which is heterodoxy...[Greek word]. In this sense the word is used as early as the 2nd cent. (e.g. in Clement of Alexandria). The appellation 'Orthodox' was applied in ancient times to the whole Church; but after the Western Church SEPARATED from the Eastern, it was appropriated by the latter, inasmuch as it was in the name of this faithfulness that it broke off the connexion with the Western Church, which has APPROPRIATED to itself the name 'Catholic.'"

Excursus: from: Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Scribner's Sons, 1961 ["1908-1927"], Vol. V, 134:

"Eastern Church [includes Greek Orthodox Church].1The Church which believes herself to be the canonical heir of the ancient undivided Church, remaining in the Faith and Orders of the first ages of Christianity, is called 'Orthodox' or 'Eastern.' Both these names distinguish her from, and contrast her with, her sister, the Western Church, which has EXCOMMUNICATED her, as well as from all the Protestant communities which have SECEDED from the latter. The name 'Orthodox Church,' on the one hand, expresses the idea that she is the Church of Christ which maintains the correct belief; the appellation 'Eastern Church,' on the other hand, in connexion with the division of the ancient Roman Empire, points primarily to the Eastern half in contrast with the Western, of which the centre is the Church of Rome. Yet, inasmuch as the Western Church, under the Pope, by introducing INNOVATIONS regarding the foundations of government and regarding faith, at length separated herself from the Eastern Church, the name 'Eastern' acquired a moral significance, pointing to the Church as the possessor and champion of the ancient traditional faith, in contrast with the DEVIATING Western Church."

"Not surprisingly, searching spirits in the West have, since nineteenth-century comparative studies brought them to notice, turned to other religions. At neither its ideological nor its organisational level has Judaism proved particularly inviting (and it is only recently that converts have, in modern circumstances, been accepted at all) though the radical chic have made Zionism and vacations on kibbutzim eminently fashionable. Idiosyncratic Islam has gained a great hold on westernised Negroes and Sufism a certain following among whites who have tried everything else. But the occult and the East have been chief beneficiaries of the decline of Christianity, and rich are the offerings of antique and eastern bazaars." [125].

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"Monotheism has not supplanted polytheism; polytheism, animism; religion, magic.... Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism have been joined by demonology, witchcraft, black and white magic, Druidism and Satanism in preserving our pre-Christian heritage. In the most respectable suburbs one may find spiritualistic seances, faith-healing clinics and witches' covens, together with astrologers, clairvoyants, tea-cup readers and tarot-card interpreters. Space programmes are said to include telepathy for extraterrestrial communication, and unidentified flying objects play the same role today as comets did in the Middle Ages. Only the creature's rarity and conservationist pressure prevent divination by studying the flight or the entrails of an eagle. A potentially sympathetic observer of the occult industry has concluded:

Another kind of sign-seekers are the people fascinated with psychic powers, believing that all genuine mystics must also be magicians who can remember their past lives, foretell the future, read other people's thoughts, heal diseases, and travel about in their astral bodies...." [125].

"The Orient is the strongest rival of the occult. On its exotic shores one may derive inspiration from the 'collection of amiable platitudes' that constitute Bahai and the 'adolescent rituals' of Zen Buddhism.2 [2Alan Watts: In My Own Way, 1972, 252, 120] Above all, one may stroll happily from guru to guru absorbing '"Krishna-consciousness" and Transcendental Meditation and all this nonsense that is going on'.3 [3Krishnamurti: The Awakening of Intelligence, 1973, 22] That is, if one can track them down and afford space at their feet. For these spiritual beacons jet round the world lauding the virtues of quietude, put up at five-star hotels to extol the simple life, and speak and write copiously of the inadequacy of language. Everywhere they are accompanied by disciples who explain their catnaps as trances and their physiological processes as maya. Everything we value—especially our money—is illusory, and they are happy to take our illusions from us. Truly, 'all gurus are phoney [see #4, 146 (Schopenhauer)], you can take that for granted right from the beginning, whether they are Tibetan Lamas or Catholics, or Hindus'.4 [4Ibid., 192] Outside their native habitat they are not yet numerous enough to form a mediocracy, but they have become the intimates of mediocrats and established cults of verbiage, unreason, social apathy and parasitism which have greatly aided the rise of the mediocracy."

[end of chapter: "Redundant Religion"] [126].

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• • •

from: #4, 128 (Charles Guignebert [1867 - 1939] [Professor of the History of Christianity in the Sorbonne], Ancient, Medieval and Modern Christianity, The Evolution of a Religion, University Books, 1961 (1927, as: Christianity, Past and Present ) (1921-1922 French), 507):

"Catholicism, which has become Romanism, can no longer evolve. It turned aside as from a deadly peril from the enticements in that direction offered by the Reformation and then deliberately destroyed all the bridges between the living world and itself. What then will be the issue of the crisis to which its lengthened existence has led it? Logically, as well as historically, it does not seem as if it will find any other fate than that which remains for us all when we have used up our strength and filled out the number of our days--to break up and die, to return to Nature the elements lent by her, that she may use them again according to her good pleasure.

            It is thus, moreover, that all religions end, religions which, like living organisms, are born of a need [birth], nourished upon death [growth], die day by day of life [decay], and finally lapse again into the eternal crucible [death]." [End of book].

[for items within brackets, see:  Elizabeth E. Evans, year 1900, page 337:

"LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE IN THIS WORLD, RELIGIOUS SYSTEMS HAVE THEIR PERIOD OF BIRTH, GROWTH, DECAY, AND DEATH"].

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