I’m most definitely not a religious person. Although I went to a CoE primary school where we attended church three times a week, I’ve never really thought there was a place in my life for organised religion. In my younger years I even fell into the common trap of deriding those with religious belief. Oh how stupid those people were, believing in their imaginary man in the sky! I was of course, far more educated, intelligent and enlightened than these simpletons. I was perhaps very much the product of a secular and hubristic society.
I wasn’t an atheist. To be honest I find the idea of atheism horrific. For me at least, the inescapable, inevitible conclusion of atheism is a spiritual vacuum which I instinctively recoil from. In my mind at least, I want there to be… I need there to be a meaning to it all. No, I consider myself an agnostic. I don’t think I know it all, nor do I believe anyone who tells me they know it all. I’m like a dog watching the television. I can see the picture and hear the noise, I can even react to them in a simple or instinctive manner. I don’t know how the picture and noise got there, nor who made the television and for what purpose. In fact, I don’t even know it’s a television!
Just like the dog I will work my way through life within the bounds of my limited intellect and perception. If there is something more to all of this, if there is a deeper or greater meaning, I’ll find out when I get there. I hope there’s more to it. In the meantime I will hold on to what Hamlet told Horatio:
“There are more things in heaven and earth, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
It always struck me that the notion of Heaven and Hell were a rather crude and simplistic way of intimidating people into following an organised religion. I can see the parallels with modern leftist thinking. If we embrace socialism, open borders and multiculturalism we will find ourselves in Utopia. However, if we stray from the light, if we embrace capitalism and nationalism then we will surely descend into fascist Hell with concentration camps, secret police and thugs roaming the streets.
It’s meant to scare you into following a specific agenda or ideology. The idea of Satan was especially silly to me, the fallen angel sitting down there waiting to prod you with his red hot poker for all eternity because you’ve been very naughty. It seemed quite ridiculous. Especially when it seemed to be the very people who were peddling this nonsense were very wealthy men living very affluent lives and far too many of them appeared to enjoy the company of children just a little bit too much.
So along comes Professor Jordan Peterson. I’d like to point out that I am one of the relatively few puffins who were fans of Dr Peterson before Cathy Newman famously impaled herself on his superior intellect. We were ahead of the curve. Alas, I digress.
One of the things that really drew me to Jordan Peterson was he seemed to share a very similar outlook to me. I’m far from convinced that I believe in the God of Abraham, but I’m not going to totally reject the idea. I instinctively believe there has to be more to life, being and the Universe than what we can see or touch. I just won’t take anybody else’s word that they know the true nature of God and what God wants us to do.
If you’re familiar with the work of Dr Peterson you’ll know he says the Biblical stories are far older than the Bible itself, and that they seem to almost be the collected wisdom of our species. He also says the Biblical stories have a far deeper meaning than they appear to have on first inspection. Once you begin to comprehend these meanings they will resonate with you in quite a profound way, perhaps because they really are the collected wisdom of ages and they are profoundly right.
Those of you familiar with my current circumstances will understand me when I say I’ve had a lot of time to do a lot of reading, watching videos and learning about all sorts of things. I’ve explored areas and ideas which I never seemed to have time for previously and I think I’m just perhaps beginning to comprehend what Dr Peterson is talking about. Whatever the case I can tell you quite categorically the learning process for me has been quite profound and my views and understanding of the world are now based on much more solid intellectual foundations.
Let’s put aside the literal interpretation of the Biblical stories. Let’s instead regard them as allegories for human nature. Let’s start with the Ten Commandments. I know there are at least eight different traditions with their own slightly different versions of the Ten Commandments (and that in fact even the “Ten” aren’t strictly ten). If I may be so bold to summarise them in my own interpretation:
- Don’t have any other belief systems or values
- Don’t worship physical things
- Don’t do bad things in God’s name
- Set aside a day where you can contemplate all these things
- Love and respect your family
- Don’t kill anyone
- Don’t steal anything
- Don’t cheat on your spouse
- Don’t lie
- Don’t be jealous of other people
Forgive me if I’ve not used the exact words from whatever approved scripture you may or may not cleave to. I’m trying to summarise them into what I think the meaning of each one was. I think you’ll agree these are a pretty good code to live by and if everyone could successfully do so then we would have a pretty pleasant and functional society to live in.
You might even call it heavenly.
Then let’s look at the Seven Deadly Sins, which all have their mirror virtues, and yes I know there were originally nine deadly sins.
(Plus Acedia and Vainglory which have been rolled into Sloth and Pride respectively)
These things are in all of us. This is what I think the notion of Original Sin is meant to represent. We are born with the capacity for these behaviours and instincts. If we allow these behaviours to rule us then our society will become very unpleasant and dysfunctional.
What if there’s an allegory here? What if “God” is the good part of us? Then wouldn’t Satan be the bad part? What if God is civilisation and order, and Satan is chaos and disorder?
What if this is really an allegory for the eternal struggle against our own nature? The constant war within us between the good and the bad that we are all capable of?
Satan was an angel, created by God but fell to darkness. The story goes he didn’t like how God apparently loved the imperfect Mankind more than he did the ostensibly perfect Angels. He got jealous and has been having a massive sulk ever since. Satan succumbed to several of the Deadly Sins, namely Envy, Pride and Wrath. What if “God” is our triumph over the Deadly Sins? What if “Satan” is the triumph of those Deadly Sins over our better nature? What if God represents our hope for a better tomorrow, and Satan represents our surrender to the darkness within us all?
What if Satan is the embodiment of nihilism?
Nihilism of course, lies at the very heart of Post Modernist thinking. Post Modernism has infested our academia for decades and thus is now a central pillar of our society and is being used as the means by which to undermine that society and subsume it into a new Globalist order.
What if hidden behind the stories and allegory, our religious scripture really is the collected wisdom of ages passed down to us from time immemorial? Are we really so intelligent and enlightened to just dismiss it out of hand?
“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist” – Kint (played by Kevin Spacey) in the 1994 film The Usual Suspects
“…even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.” – 2 Corinthians 11:14–15
So I’m going to ask you to do something. Put religion and the instinctive rejection of it instilled within you by modern secular society aside. Put the literal interpretations of the scripture aside. Look at the world and society around you. Look at the moral, social and cultural decay, look at the dysfunction wrought by the “progressive” establishment.
Are you still so sure Satan doesn’t exist?
To answer my original question, what is evil?
Evil is the triumph of the dark side of our nature. It is the destruction and ruin of civilisation and all of its accomplishments, achievements, wisdom and knowledge. It is exactly what is happening right now.
Are these the faces of evil in the modern age?
© Æthelberht 2018