I have a friend who’s long been pretty casual about his Christianity but he has just started taking it seriously as a substitute for going Alt Right.
I said to him, “Given that all religious beliefs are based on a substantial non-rational leap of faith, why take them as seriously as you do now? I have my answer, curious about yours.”
“Walker Connor might wonder if you are using a religious test as a proxy for national (racial) interests. Connor argues that religious fights are often a cover for national/racial ones.”
My friend responded:
A couple reasons come to mind:
—There are so many things I don’t understand, things I don’t know and can’t know. Not knowing, I’m forced to live by faith. There’s no real objective way to judge, and so I just came home to the one that was given to me as mother’s milk, so to speak. I have a strong desire to give my grandchildren a chance to have something in common with my own grandfathers. Five generations of continuity.
—Speaking of mother’s milk, don’t boil a kid in his mother’s milk. Christianity gives me an ability to say more than I can with secular language. If I stay in that register, for now at least, I have a better protection than I do espousing, say, wignat views.
—I do think that the gospel is a reaction to the problem of faction and tribalism that was challenging Greece & Rome. It seems like an extremely elegant attempt to forge a new identity for a bunch of deracinated empire dwellers and it dealt with the JQ in a way that was fair enough. As I said, Jesus gave them the first invitation to the party.
—I really enjoy Paul’s psychological insights about sin in Romans 6-8.
—and I love Paul’s emphasis on life by spirit as opposed to life by flesh (in Galatians).
—I know you said you prefer the Old Testament to the New, but I think that they’re absolutely amazing taken together; even considered merely as literature, the Bible has me transfixed. It’s also the main source text for so much of the literature I love.
—I rely on my religion to provide me with substance for parenting. It would be hard to explain the universe from scratch or to offer my children no explanation. I read them the same stories I remember hearing when I was a kid.
—it changes the way I see the world and I like how I see the world better now. Same for how I see myself.
—it permanently BTFOs the Jews and triggers them.
Yeah it’s useful… and also I think it’s true, even in the “Hegelian dialectic” materialist sense… which is to say, it is the inevitable answer that *had to* come in reaction to what Judaism was doing. And then it came. And it came just how it had to come: through a Jew and addressed to Jews first, because they were the most exemplary tribalists and so they would not listen if Protagoras or Socrates announced the new doctrine, but after they were invited, everyone else was invited too. It was basically a nonviolent way of marginalizing Jews and other would-be holdouts.
It’s like you know how fascism exists as an algorithm precisely to defend against encroaching communism? Same thing with Christianity sort of.
I also literally believe in the apostle’s creed! Isn’t that based? Like I just threw off the yoke of reason and was like, yeah I believe it… madman, huh? But I don’t bother you and the gevalters much about that cuz I know you’ve heard it. I feel mainly evangelized by Paul and my mission, like his, is to give the gentiles the magic key to the kingdom… it’s really a contest of morale. And nothing elevates white morale except for Christianity. But it can’t be fake Christianity. Has to be true Protestant Christianity.
My answer is that my leap of faith (conversion to Orthodox Judaism) works for my life and furthers what I believe in (the presence of God and goodness in this world)… I converted to Judaism because of Dennis Prager’s presentation of it as a step by step plan to make a better world. Prager noted that only if God says do not murder, is murder objectively wrong (evil). But faith in a God who says do not murder depends on a subjective leap of faith. Anything multiplied by zero is zero. So there’s still no objective standard of right and wrong. There’s only a subjective leap of faith, which means to me to be humble about my religious claims. I enjoy talking to atheists and learning from them. There’s a reason and purpose for everything, and atheism is a lens with useful insights in certain circumstances. As a Hasidic rebbe taught, if you see a poor person, help him as if there were no God to help. My faith in God helps power my daily life, but I don’t use it to understand power politics and how the world works. There it hurts more than helps.