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Thread: Leftism as Secular Religion

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    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Leftism as Secular Religion

    Wasn't sure where to put this. I'm interested in the secular take on it. Where do you find meaning and fulfillment in your life? Let's try to keep things civil; I'm not really looking for debate here.

    Source: Dennis Prager

    One of the most important books of the 20th century — it remains a best-seller 59 years after it was first published — is "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl.

    Marx saw man's primary drive as economic, and Freud saw it as sex. But Frankl believed — correctly, in my opinion — that the greatest drive of man is meaning.

    One can be poor and chaste and still be happy. But one cannot be bereft of meaning and be happy — no matter how rich or how sexually fulfilled one may be.

    The greatest provider of meaning for the vast majority of human beings has been religion.

    In the West, Christianity (and on a smaller scale, Judaism) provided nearly all people with the Bible, a divine or divinely inspired text to guide their lives; a religious community; answers to life's fundamental questions; and, above all, meaning: A good God governs the universe; death does not end everything; and human beings were purposefully created. In addition, Christianity gave Christians a project: spread the Good News, and bring the world to Christ. And Judaism gave Jews a project: Live by God's laws of ethics and holiness and be "a light unto the nations."

    All this has disappeared for most Westerners. The Bible is regarded as myth, silly at best, malicious at worst — there is no God, certainly not the morality-giving and judging God of the Bible; there is no afterlife; human beings are a purposeless coincidence with no more intrinsic purpose than anything else in the universe. In short: This Is All There Is.

    So, if the need for meaning is the greatest of all human needs and that which supplied meaning no longer does, what are millions of Westerners supposed to do?


    The answer is obvious: Find meaning elsewhere. But where? Church won't provide it. Nor will marriage and family — increasingly, secular individuals in the West eschew marriage, and even more do not have children. It turns out, to the surprise of many, that marriage and children are religious values, not human instincts.

    In the West today, love and marriage (and children) go together like a horse and a carriage for faithful Catholics, Orthodox Jews, religious Mormons and evangelical Protestants — not for the secular. I know many religious families with more than four children; I do not know one secular family with more than four children (and the odds are you don't either).

    The answer to the great dearth of meaning left by the death of biblical religion in the West is secular religion. The first two great secular substitutes were communism and Nazism. The first provided hundreds of millions of people with meaning; the latter provided most Germans and Austrians with meaning.

    In particular, both ideologies provided the intellectual class with meaning. No groups believed in communism and Nazism more than intellectuals. Like everyone else, secular intellectuals need meaning, and when this need was combined with intellectuals' love of ideas (especially new ideas — "new" is almost erotic in the power of its appeal to secular intellectuals), communism and Nazism became potent ideologies.

    With the fall of communism and the awareness of the extent of the communist mass murder (about 100 million noncombatants) and mass enslavement (virtually all individuals in communist countries — except for Communist Party leaders — are essentially enslaved), communism, or at least the word "communism," fell into disrepute.

    So, what were secular intellectuals to do once communism became "the god that failed"?

    The answer was to create other another left-wing secular religion. And that is what leftism is: a secular meaning-giver to supplant Christianity. Left-wing religious expressions include Marxism, communism, socialism, feminism and environmentalism.

    Leftism's guiding principles — notwithstanding the principles of those Christians and Jews who claim to be religious yet hold leftist views — are the antitheses of Judaism and Christianity's guiding principles.

    Judaism and Christianity hold that people are not basically good. Leftism holds that people are basically good. Therefore, Judaism and Christianity believe evil comes from human nature, and leftism believes evil comes from capitalism, religion, the nation-state (i.e. nationalism), corporations, the patriarchy and virtually every other traditional value.

    Judaism and Christianity hold that utopia on Earth is impossible — it will only come in God's good time as a Messianic age or in the afterlife. Leftism holds that utopia is to be created here on Earth — and as soon as possible. That is why leftists find America so contemptible. They do not compare it to other nations but to a utopian ideal — a society with no inequality, no racism, no differences between the sexes (indeed, no sexes) and no greed in which everything important is obtained free.

    Judaism and Christianity believe God and the Bible are to instruct us on how to live a good life and how the heart is the last place to look for moral guidance. Leftists have contempt for anyone who is guided by the Bible and its God, and substitute the heart and feelings for divine instruction.

    There may be a clash of civilizations between the West and Islam, but the biggest clash of civilizations is between the West and the left.

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    So basically they are equating leftism with humanism?

    There are right-wingers who seem to make a religion out of conservatism too.

    I am also reminded of the Atheist Churches.

  3. Amen Ana Dragule amen'd this post.
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    tWebber firstfloor's Avatar
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    “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” could have been said by Jesus Christ, in my humble opinion.
    “I think God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.” ― Oscar Wilde
    “You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” ― Anne Lamott
    “And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence” ― Bertrand Russell

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firstfloor View Post
    “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” could have been said by Jesus Christ, in my humble opinion.
    Too bad communism didn't actually follow through on that.

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    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firstfloor View Post
    “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” could have been said by Jesus Christ, in my humble opinion.
    The parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) has the main character giving according to their ability not according to their need. And note how he took back what he gave the servant who buried the money and did nothing with it rather than used it to increase the owners wealth and gave it to the servant who had increased his wealth ten-fold.

    Doesn't sound very socialistic to me.

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" -- starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)

  7. Amen Sparko, Jedidiah amen'd this post.
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    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firstfloor View Post
    “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” could have been said by Jesus Christ, in my humble opinion.
    Lemme know where you find something similar actually said by him.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

    Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio

    I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

  9. Amen Jedidiah amen'd this post.
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    tWebber firstfloor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    Lemme know where you find something similar actually said by him.
    You can be sure that Jesus said a lot more than is actually quoted in the Bible. The question then is how is he portrayed and what is his legacy. He is definitely portrayed as a left wing socialist who puts people before wealth. Mind you, he shows no interest in posessions because he thinks the world is about to end.
    “I think God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.” ― Oscar Wilde
    “You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” ― Anne Lamott
    “And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence” ― Bertrand Russell

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    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firstfloor View Post
    You can be sure that Jesus said a lot more than is actually quoted in the Bible. The question then is how is he portrayed and what is his legacy. He is definitely portrayed as a left wing socialist who puts people before wealth. Mind you, he shows no interest in posessions because he thinks the world is about to end.
    Jesus instructed His followers to take care of the poor. He never said anything about getting government to force others to do so.

    I always find it ironic how those who refuse to listen to Him and scream about separation of Church and State whenever someone quotes Scripture when talking about social policy suddenly turn around and seek to try to use Him to support something they want.

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" -- starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)

  12. Amen mossrose, Jedidiah amen'd this post.
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    Does anyone have an opinion on the actual article? The theory of Jesus espousing socialism is sorta tangential to that at best.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

    Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio

    I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

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    Professor and Chaplain Littlejoe's Avatar
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    I think meaning definitely is a major driving force...especially in today's culture. I think though, many people, especially those on the left mistake "purpose" for "meaning". Purpose is a powerful thing in it's own right an shouldn't be trivialized. Purpose is great! But it’s not meaning. I'm reminded of the Greek mythological king who liked to kill random travelers and start wars. He killed for pleasure. He killed for profit. He killed for pride. When he died the "gods" showed him no mercy. The wicked king was condemned to spend eternity pushing a huge rock up a hill. The hill was such that, whenever he managed to finally get the rock to the top, the rock would immediately roll down the other side and the king was forced to descend the hill and began pushing again, and again, forever. His existence was futile, it had no meaning. The king was doomed to repeat over and over a useless and fruitless accomplishment.

    Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre was convinced that life could be meaningful without God...an agnostic or atheist has free-will and therefore, they can decide to be whatever they want to be. They could do whatever they wanted with their lives as they saw fit. So, to an Atheist, creating his own self how he would want, supposedly, gives his life meaning. He might say: "I do not need the universe, God, or the President or whatever, to give me meaning because meaning has nothing to do with anything other than me. I can decide to be a good father, a professional fisherman, a wealthy entrepreneur, or the world’s heaviest pole vaulter. Sartre's thought was that we are "thrust into this world without definition. We define ourselves, and that is our meaning."

    The argument has some merit and it's thought provoking in its own right, but I think Sarte missed the mark...and profoundly so. Using his argument, suppose the mythical king decides “I am going to be the fastest rock pusher ever.” According to Sartre, the King has created meaning. But even if he accomplishes his goal, the rock still rolls down the other side of the hill. There is still no point to the Kings existence. He still has no meaning. He could learn to sing opera, memorize the all the works of Shakespeare, and push the rock up the hill while walking on his hands, but his existence is still meaningless and futile. Without God the best we can accomplish in life is purpose. all else fails, and nihilism is inevitable.

    Meaning by its very definition is something that is "meant" to be. That's why the lefts many attempts to create it fails. You can’t have intention from a source (like the universe or an ideology) that does not have the capacity to intend. Without intention, there is no meaning. What can be intended and meaningful from environmentalism or socialism? They can have a purpose, but purpose is local and contingent. Thus, ultimately un-meaningful an unsatisfying.
    Last edited by Littlejoe; 08-29-2018 at 02:17 PM.
    "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

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  15. Amen KingsGambit amen'd this post.

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