In a few months I will have been attending church for a year now. But I haven’t admitted this to any of my close friends. There’s just so much stigma attached to church-goers that I worry that it will actually damage my friendships. I’ve justified keeping it to myself by trying to form good arguments to defend why I would do such a thing. Aimed at challenging the stereotypical preconceptions and typical tropes against Christianity.
But I think this also may just be an excuse to hide behind my own embarrassment. Which, I think, comes from a place of insecurity. I never grew up with any religious upbringing and I used to be that guy who mocked religious people as brainless cultists. Sam Harris would’ve been proud. So I feel like a complete imposter when I find myself sitting in a pew.
That being said, there I find myself, watching an easter play about Jesus saving us. So how did I get here? I never grew up with any religious upbringing. I’ve never studied the bible before now nor have I ever attended any sort of Catholic school. I grew up on Star Trek, The Next Generation. They were having conversations around AI, finite resources, authoritarianism, democracy, genocide, racism, social hierarchies, trauma, foreign aid, foreign conflict, and so much more. Hell, if Picard broke the prime directive I lost sleep! What if their interference changed that civilization forever?
It represented a future where we truly transcended all the petty issues which hold us back. All of Earth was united by what was the greater good for humanity as a whole. Though the planet united under one federation it didn’t stand in the way of national pride or prevent the celebration of individuality and local culture. People got to choose their career paths out of sheer self interest and for pride in serving humanity. Secular values could unite where our individual differences could divide.
We would be a shining example of diversity, inclusion and equality. And because of our values we would shock the universe by our adaptability and our ability to outpace other planets who did not share the same ethics. We had the ability to look to our past as it truly was and learn from it. Exploration of Earth came with it colonization that could reap dramatic consequences to foreign peoples in foreign lands. From this we would establish the prime directive, the law against intervening with any underdeveloped planets. And instead the exploration was focussed more on the pursuit of knowledge and truth than that of conquering and assimilation.
Finally, the utopia was here. This vision of the future would be the basis of my optimism as I grew up. And then 911 happened. And it would set in motion a series of events that would, I believe, take us to our current culture war which threatens the future of the entire western world. A war that, if lost, will make the burning of the library of Alexandria look like a dumpster fire by comparison. And here I sit, pondering how we got here from when Gene Roddenberry dreamt up his grand dream.
Watch Inspirational speeches of Star Trek:
The reality is he took for granted the actual complexities around what a meaningful life represents. He dismissed the narratives of the Bible as “the dark ages of superstition”. Roddenberry underestimated the narratives in the Bible which provide a framework to guide us through life. It is ancient wisdom which provides a context from which we can discern reality. Truths that predate science. Symbols and interpretations which can provide helpful perspective.
Nietzsche proclaimed that God was dead and in his estimate he believed that we would need to produce our own new system of values from which society could function. But there’s this odd assessment from people in today’s society that the only rule we need is just simply to just ‘be good’. ‘Care’. Because if we all just agree to love instead of hate then we will never have differences or disagreements. While being totally naive to the fact that we almost ended the world in the 20th century over our philosophical and ethical disagreements.
The cold war revolved around communism over democracy. The second world war revolved around one single man’s warped Darwinian conceptualization of a master race. Social hierarchical restructuring that resulted in genocide and concentration camps. Paranoid conspiracies that would divide nations from within. And in a post-theistic world, we now see the creation of more religions today than there ever were. If you don’t know what I’m talking about do yourself a favour and read a couple books. Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago, Christopher Browning’s Ordinary Men or Friedrich Nietzsche’s Beyond Good & Evil. It probably also wouldn’t hurt reading books from Ayn Rand or about Ayn Rand.
The point I’m trying to make is that secular values may claim to consist of logic, empathy and reason but people widely believed that the enlightenment was a breaking off from religion however it ignorantly dismisses the foundation religion provided which influence logic, empathy and reason. With a Christian context the basis for logic, empathy and reason was nested in virtues the Bible impressed upon us. The sovereignty of the individual, the discipline to identify the vices that make us weak and relationship building that allowed us to be better neighbours, family members, spouses, friends, colleagues, etc. Through this foundation our logic would be sound, our empathy wouldn’t be misplaced and our reason would remain reasonable. Without that foundation the only thing we have is self interest.
Logic, empathy and reason is not presented to us by a world of objective truths, it is concluded based on the motivations of our worldview. Or the ideology from which we subscribe. And this means we do not live in a world of objective truths, we live in a world of narratives and we map out the world by projecting those narratives onto it. I can pick up a tree branch and depending on the circumstance that branch can be firewood. Or it could be a weapon. Or a tool. Maybe it can be all three but is it equally all three despite the circumstances around it?
We underestimate how subjective logic, empathy and reason are. Some of the best work documenting this, I feel, is Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind and I think Amy Chua’s Political Tribes also offers a lot of great insights into this. Globalists hold different values than nationalists, liberals hold different values than conservatives, socialists hold different values than capitalists. Adolf Hitler was a nationalist but so were other people George Washington, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Socialism has resulted in the deaths of millions of people but that’s not to say incorporating certain socialist concepts can’t be beneficial, such as universal healthcare or variations of it.
This is why the cake of utopia was always a lie. There are certain differences between cultures and ethnicities around Earth that make it impossible to unite under one single umbrella. In this post truth world there’s no way we would ever achieve a united earth federation like that from Star Trek. But that’s not to invalidate Roddenberry’s dream. His vision of the future may not be exactly as he foresaw but it serves as blueprints towards building whatever is next to come. If we can manage to survive today’s culture war and whatever comes from it’s fallout.
Watch Mark Osborne’s short “MORE”:
But going back to how I, personally, found myself on this path today. I grew up in a relatively significantly dysfunctional household. However compared to how the majority of how everyone else grew up I am reluctant to even acknowledge it as really much of a deviation from norm. I am no historian but I’d gamble that families have never been more dysfunctional today than ever before. Children are growing up in single parent households where they reach adulthood without having even seen a two-parent household. The rate of fatherhood was better in slavery times than they are today. Despite all the incentives and welfare programs that were put in place to make poor families stronger.
We are anti-fragile beings who can adapt to whatever tragedy comes our way but it’s malevolence that traumatizes us, destroys us. Without a foundation to assist us with reacting to the malevolence of the world we are vulnerable to disaster fatigue. Without inspiration we can become bitter and cynical about this malevolent world. Because life is suffering. If you have nothing to offset your suffering you can easily slip into apathy and nihilism. The kind of apathy that places you behind the wheel of a vehicle after too much to drink and ends with wiping an entire family off the face of the Earth. The kind of nihilism that finds you bringing a gun to school or workplace. Misery loves company it’s far easier to tilt the world towards hell than it is to tilt it away. It’s easy to find a devil behind a transformation like this. And we all hold the capacity for evil like this.
I used to be the champion of the grey area argument. I prided myself on my centrism. Socially liberal and fiscally conservative. A man’s man with a soft side. But now I see a society obsessed with the grey area. Where all rules are oppressive and must be torn down to mean nothing. Everything must be open ended and all variations of the truth must be valued as an equal truth. Like in today’s gender debate. Where radical leftists actually believe that biological sex does not exist. To the point where Twitter will now ban you for misgendering an individual and doctors are being compelled to not specify the sex on the birth certificate of newborns.
It’s gotten so out of hand that it has actually fractured the feminist community to where women who now advocate for women-only spaces are being discredited as “radical feminists” and labelled as “TERFs” (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists). So if you believe we should have a woman-only gym or shelter to protect women who have been sexually assaulted and traumatized by male genitalia then you are being deemed a bigot for simply not qualifying a trans-woman as a legitimate woman and insisting they be segregated based on their genitalia. Some people now actually referring to biological women as “bleeders” in an attempt to be “inclusive” to trans-women. How about you? You ready to sit your daughter down and explain to her that she is a “bleeder”? All in the name of progress.
These ideas are nowhere near as fringe as I would’ve thought. I saw this in my own friends who are all well educated people. Justin Trudeau initiated a new rule at Service Canada where staff are no longer to refer to parents as “mother” and “father” because those terms are now deemed offensive. Yet my friends react to these things with this odd acceptance almost as a way of signalling how accepting and compassionate they are. Compassionate to who, exactly? We ALL have a mother and a father regardless whether or not that relationship extended to our upbringing it was the very product of our conception. This remains true through the animal kingdom. All Mammals have a mother and a father. So how the fuck would that ever not apply to anyone existing on planet Earth today? There is no exception to that rule.
But such is the consequence of conflating subjective identity with biological realty. Because the social construct argument denotes reality itself. Which means legislature accommodating such beliefs are actually legislating law that actually contradicts factual reality. All in the name of appearing progressive by accepting ALL world views. Even though the worldviews you’re attempting to accommodate for actually hold you in contempt and actively seek to cause you direct harm. Because it’s not gay as in happy, it’s queer as in fuck you. Google it.
This virtue signalling doesn’t prevent us from calling our own parents mom and dad. This acceptance of biological fluidity doesn’t prevent us from wearing our girly clothes or guy accessories. It doesn’t prevent us from seeking partners that are identifiably attractive based on their biology. It doesn’t stop women from loving their chick flicks or guys from building their man caves. But we’re expected to constantly contest any form of stereotype that reveals itself to us. As if adopting the progressive narrative has become more important than just living in reality. It’s scary to see the level of self flagellation we will embrace towards seeking the approval of others. Of complete strangers.
We are all expected to condemn masculinity in all it’s forms and deem it toxic but then we turn around and reminisce of our hockey days and how much fun it was scrapping with the opposing team. But we must advocate against exactly these fond memories to the next generation, without a single mindful thought on how shaming and social engineering children for their sex differences would impact their growth into adulthood. Despite the declines we are seeing in sexual relationships, academic success and overall competence among boys growing up today. Warren Farrell documents these declines in his book The Boy Crisis and Christina Hoff Sommers in her book The War Against Boys.
But we put seeking approval above actually improving the quality of life. Above fixing the world. I mentioned 911. After 911 it’s like we awoke to a reality we never really knew existed. I started watching news for the first time and I never stopped. I felt naive and vulnerable that I didn’t know what the Trade Towers were and I wanted to develop a sense of defense by understanding the world around me better. Images of Muslims celebrating the attack filled the news coverage of the day. The assault on America was an assault on the entire western world and, to paraphrase Jordan Peterson, the question wasn’t what fell but what remained standing.
The loss of thousands from that attack would have a ripple affect around the entire world but largely within all of America. Every single American and many Canadians were either directly or indirectly attached to a family who suffered a loss on 911. That tragedy would transform into anger. We needed someone to blame in a situation where those directly involved were already dead and we needed to make sense out of a situation that would never make sense.
We discriminated against people different than us. We mocked and attacked Indian Sikhs when the people who committed the crime were Wahabi Muslims from Saudi Arabia. But that didn’t stop us from calling Sikhs diaper heads or terrorists. Nor did it stop America from doing billions of dollars in business with Saudi Arabia. A large portion of the American public believed that Barack Obama was disqualified to run for president simply by the fact his middle name was Hussein, like Saddam Hussein, and his last name was Obama, similar to Osama (Bin-Laden).
Luckily this alone did not prevent the rest of America from voting for America’s first black president. Twice. But this was right at the same moment the great recession hit the world economy. And in those 8 years of Obama’s presidency we started seeing a cultural shift. As social media grew more powerful and attractive it drew in everyone around the world from all the corners of the internet into one single place where we would now all be faced with one another. Websites like Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube and Instagram would centralize public discourse.
Now the fringes of the internet like 4chan would be more accessible than ever before with all it’s content, good and bad, constantly being shoved in our faces by trolls and clickbaiters. And all our cleeks and tribes would clash in ways like never before. And for the first time we had to take a hard look at ourselves for how prejudicial and ignorant we ALL are. The fallout of this would spark real world movements like black lives matter and occupy wall street.
However a new form of progressive politics would emerge out of these movements. Early in things like #gamergate and later in things like #Metoo. Other more specific moments like when Kathleen Wynne would tell Ontario media that systemic racism did exists and was thriving well. Moments like Justin Trudeau making it mandatory to be pro-choice in order to sit on the Liberal caucus and initiating a gender parity cabinet “because it’s 2015”. By all accounts the data shows that America was left more polarized and prejudicial after Obama’s 8 years in office. Coming up to the 2019 Canadian federal election I would say the same is true for here in Canada after 4 years of a feminist Prime Minister. And this is to not even mention the Brexit vote in the UK or any of the events coming out of the Asylum seeker crisis. And then Donald Trump.
Donald Trump, in many ways, represents a boiling point when everything in our culture just erupted in chaos. In many ways on both sides of the political spectrum. I truly believed that Trumps reputation alone was enough to disqualify him for president so when I saw him win the republican primaries I was stunned and thought this would be a shoe in for Hillary. Not to my pleasure, I have never been a fan of Hillary Clinton. But I believed she was the obvious choice in comparison to Trump, at least. But I was wrong.
And in 2016 after I watched Trump win his presidency when all polls claimed a landslide victory for Clinton, I decided that I was in a bubble and I needed to start doing more listening and looking for my news beyond the usual ABC, CNN, CBC, BBC, PBS, TVO. I came to the realization that ignorance was no longer an old world concept that would die out with the aging generation of yesterday but it was thriving in today’s youth in ways I was blind to. I would seek out truth and call out ignorance wherever I saw it. But to my further shock, the most manipulative, audacious ignorance I would find would actually be on the left-wing. Not the right-wing.
Right-Wing media would report with it’s obvious right-wing bias. This is why I’ve always dismissed Fox News as not actual news because they couldn’t be objective. However other channels like CNN and MNSBC went absolutely bonkers, reporting actual lies on top of a new doubled down left-wing bias like never before. The language I see coming out of those on the left is more dehumanizing than I’ve ever seen before.
And these views really are only from a fringe minority but they are propped up by the left-biased media to create the perception that these are majority views. An effort to kowtow everyone into their respective lanes where they are expected to stay and shut the fuck up. I fell in love with Stephen Colbert when he roasted Bush at the 2006 white house correspondents dinner. Now he is more of an embittered Trump fact checker than anything that passes for comedy. I’ve never seen more vitriol than jokes in comedy than what I’ve seen since Trump won presidency. Which, fair enough, but what is the role of a comedian when they stop being funny? I won’t even address the changes going on in the Comedian world.
This is true with Brexit, it was true with Trump and it was True in Ontario with a super majority conservative provincial government lead by Doug Ford. But the reaction to this was not humility and introspection, it was of doubling down with identity politics and intersectional narratives coming out of academia and political circles. One of the most successful and outspoken proponents against tribalism and ideological possession would have to be Jordan Peterson. He warns about the dangers of equality of outcomes and censoring free speech. And it’s because he’s been so successful in his lecture based world tour he has become the single largest target of fake news hit pieces next to Donald Trump himself.
Jordan Peterson and his book 12 rules for life helped me see the errors in my own thinking. He taught me just because the ideal judged me, that did not mean the ideal was not worth striving towards. To merely condemn it out of my own insecurities would only produce more suffering than it would prevent. And in his 4 part debate with Sam Harris he truly challenged my preconceived notions around both the Bible and of reality itself. This was where, I believed, he proved that in order for us to come to the proper logic, empathy and reason we needed the proper context behind it. That context was best provided by the Bible. Ancient wisdom that was designed to unlock deep truths about ourselves. Thousands of years in refining and interpretation, the Bible was much deeper and thorough than anything drummed up since the enlightenment.
Watch Jordan Peterson on the meaning of life:
I learned that we truly need that context. Or as the marxists call it, the ‘lense’ from which our reality is shaped. Because the reason why smart people buy into stupid, dangerous, regressive ideas are because you can convincingly argue the reasons why. If you live in nothing but grey area then you have no foundation in which to oppose these bad ideas so you are compelled by logic, reason and empathy into submission.
That’s why everything in the social justice movement is presented to us in the guise of compassion. More similar to the compassion a mother bear has for her cubs when she has to decide whether you are friend or foe. But compassion nonetheless. So who doesn’t want to look empathetic, caring, kind and ‘inclusive’? But in your submission in guise of your compassion is also consent for a worldview you are now subscribed to. You don’t get to be a mom or a dad in social constructionism. That’s biological essentialism and that’s bigoted. You’re not a bigot, are you? Even if you like to play one at home, the people you propped up will condemn you for doing so.
No one is realizing that if speaking out about these issues represents protest then silence and complicitness is by the same logic consent. And we are dealing with a movement that by design pushes you to the cliffs edge of your comfort zone and only lets up when you push back. Otherwise you will find descending the cliffside and it will be considered consensual. But the problem with arguing with these ideologies is that you as soon as you play the game by their rules you are destined to fail. In their game they decide the rules of engagement. This is how they eliminate the grey area and all forms of centrism. There is no intersection for that.
As a “CIS white male” I am disqualified to have opinions about anything outside the boundaries of “CIS white male” issues. There’s a reason why people seek “allyship” and not membership. Because you do not belong and you will always be the enemy. It’s just a political correct form of racism, discrimination, ignorance and hate. Fascism is something we all agree must be opposed but make it look progressive and it’s just the latest hipster movement. In that is a deep seeded ignorance which is a product of the arrogance that comes from conventional education but with a lack of knowledge about the history of the systems we rely on to function in daily life.
We are born into this world and we only live to a point and the accumulated knowledge and wisdom we obtain in that life dies along with our body. We only trust that the legacy we leave behind can be utilized by the next generation to pick up where we left off to improve the future in the same way for the next generation. Of course society grows, evolves, changes as we also grow, evolve and change as individuals and not all rules of yesterday can work in the society of tomorrow. But in today’s culture war we are faced with a very judgemental ideal and instead of contending with this ideal we are attempting to burn it down. With complete lack of appreciation that you can only hit the big red reset button so many times before there is no recovery. We attempted that enough in the 20th century to prove this point to be true.
When I look down the road to where this all leads us, what the naive utopians see as a renaissance, I see as a cultural collapse. We have a resentment of our father and we are conspiring to erase him. But the truth is we need to journey into the abyss to save him otherwise we will share his fate. I mean that we need to truly understand the history we come from and view that history accurately. In the context that we are those people from our history. We are as capable of the atrocities they committed but also as capable of the miracles they performed. To see yourself as both the nazi camp guard but also as Mother Teresa. That’s the only way to truly understand history. And to appreciate our role in carrying the torch before passing it on.
I believe there is no reasoning, no logic, no empathy without a strong foundation to provide a sufficient context. And so how do I participate in this culture war without becoming the same beast that I am opposing? How do I not find myself slipping into some tribal group of just a different variation of mob justice? This is how the real white supremacists are recruiting. But out of all the ideologues I have noticed that it’s the Christians who seem to be the boldest in their opposition to the SJWs, best at discerning right from wrong and best at drawing clear boundaries around virtues and vices. Though they worship as a tribe, as a community, they operate as individuals.
It’s that acknowledgement that we are all made equal under God that I believe can serve to be the best method of inoculation against this regressive movement of hate and division. The entire structure to intersectionality is predicated on segregating us based on our superficial differences and sorting us out on an artificial social hierarchy where those who are deemed guilty and tainted have no human rights and those higher up the ladder are deemed righteous and operate as a protected class. This movement has been tried and defeated before. It was a sentiment held by the Nazis, the communists, Islamists and it’s always been defeated and it will always be defeated. Because this notion that each human being is not of individual intrinsic value equal to that of the next individual human is just wrong and it always will be wrong. None among us are perfect, therefore there are none among us who are above scrutiny. Period.
Watch a reading an conceptualization of “Tarantulas” by Friedrich Nietzsche:
Fighting this battle as a CIS white male from the bottom of the hierarchy is a fight that has been lost from the start. But as a man created by God, with a destiny of my own, I can refute your reality and invite the dispossessed among you back into the fold through offerings of a meaningful life of love and happiness. Because good Christians love their enemies. Good Christians attract others from the inner peace they radiate outward into the world. Because love will always conquer hate. Seeking the approval of man will only result in conflict whereas seeking the approval of God will only bear fruit.
The utopia is a lie. There are no entitlements in this world other than the guarantee of suffering. And you cannot transfer suffering, you can only create more. And there are a lot of people who are tilting this world towards hell. And I believe this is the only way to correct for what is going wrong. That is what has put me on the journey for deep truth so I can equip myself with the tools I need from the narratives of the Bible to bring peace. The peace can only begin from within so this is where I start.
It’s also clear to me that by now that none of us ever stopped worshipping. I think worship is far deeper ingrained in our DNA than we realize. Even atheists who denounce religion still operate in terms of idolization and engage in the sacred. Only the idols we worship on mass today in the west are things like iPhones and clothes brands. We engage in sacred language as we emphasize on things we view as pure and other things we regard to be tainted or corrupted.
I believe this has also manifested itself in the trend of organic foods, GMO free foods and other dietary quirks. We are desiring purity. This is also evident in how trendy yoga has become. There’s a taste of spirituality to it. Look at Sam Harris, the most outspoken atheist out there next to Dawkins himself. One of the 4 horsemen. Constantly promotes the benefits of meditation. Well what is meditation? What are you actually doing? You don’t believe in a man in the sky by apparently you can connect to the universe by sitting cross legged and square breathing? Get real dude, if this isn’t the biggest case of denial, I don’t know what is.
I truly believe we are a body which requires sustenance, we are a mind which requires stimulation but I now also truly, deeply believe we are also a spirit which also hungers. And the more we deprive ourselves of spiritual fulfillment the more we seek it out. Like desiring a food containing a vitamine you’re deficient in. So instead of eating junk food you’re serving yourself better by eating higher quality food. A baby cries because it’s hungry. If it’s not hungry there is something wrong. This is literally true about us, symbolically true about us and metaphysically true about us.
Just looking at how political parties are treated in the US shows that party membership is synonymous with religious communities. Families are not coming over for holiday dinners over how they voted in the last election. It has devolved into religious warfare. Intersectionality operates just the same. Original sin to the SJWs is the white man and whiteness, colonization and european traditions. You are inherently guilty and tainted if you fit in this identity group membership. If you speak out against the narratives being put forth, if you are Terry Cruz questioning whether or not Liam Neeson is a racist then you are guilty of wrongthink and you are henceforth a heretic until you repent. You spoke out against the group consensus and deviated from your ‘lane’. We all know you must stay in your lane and shut the fuck up. It absolutely has rituals in which people engage. Just look at land acknowledgements.
What we have are two incompatible sacred values in society and until one value system wins the culture war will continue to rage on. And there’s no telling how bad things can get. The grey area is wrong and centrism has no home anymore. So I will look at where I see the persecution and I will identify with the persecuted as God revealed himself to the lowest of man, the sheppard. I believe there is no coincidence that my pursuit of truth has lead me away from secularism and on the path to God.
Watch Jonathan Haidt discuss incompatible values in universities:
However now I have the huge task ahead of me of understanding what it means to build a relationship with God. I don’t think I even really understand what worship is, what that means or what it looks like. I have never prayed, at least not in the way I see others pray. Because I don’t understand what it means to speak with God. But I do know that when I’m watching the sun come up as it beams rays of light through the clouds, it sure feels like God talking to me.
I’ve been really enjoying speaking with members of the church I’ve been attending about what God means to them and how their relationship with God has improved their lives. In a time where I see nothing but self interest and deep narcissism and cynicism about the world, I found myself at church surrounded by people who could not be more grateful for simply having another day on this planet. Grateful for the gift of life and even the trials that life presents us. And the courage to trust God in the face of adversity. It was something that reduced me to tears to witness. It felt like affirmation that this is what’s correct.
On this Easter weekend I reflect on my life and realize that I’m becoming a new version of myself as I follow this path. But part of growing up, part of becoming wise is burning off the dead wood that was your old self. Our life and society itself constantly goes through a state of life, death and rebirth. That is how I see the resurrection to be real. I don’t have all the answers nor do I claim to have. I don’t even understand God and may never really have the capacity to conceptualize God anymore than an ant can conceptualize man.
I do know that I’ve witnessed enough of this natural world to believe there is a design to it. And you simply do not have a design without a designer. Whatever that may be. So my challenge ahead is to embrace this path and solidify my beliefs. And stand in the light wearing my truth in the open unafraid of petty, superficial trials. I went into this to battle conflict, so I can’t allow myself to shy away from it. I seek to do right by all those around me. I will carry my burden and ascend to the city of God where I will take my place in the greater destiny of the world. I encourage you to contemplate on this and at least step outside of your grey area to stand for something. Because if you stand for nothing you fall for everything. Happy Easter.
“He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces.” (Isaiah 25:8)