Postmodern Atheism

In my youth, it was a point of pride for modern atheists to portray their skeptical scheme of a godless universe, stripped of all supernatural elements, to be the one pure and icy-hearted reasoning reached, reason without trace of sentiment or mysticism, dealing strictly and with scientific rigor with such conclusions as permitted no room for doubt.

We were the sole heralds and harbingers who followed the science, as it were, toward the soaring future made possible once the last vestiges of theocracy, papism, sectarian violence and superstition was stripped away.

Ours was the promised utopia of Houyhnhnmland, which was no doubt a bountiful island in the southern seas of planet Vulcan.

This image was more myth than fact, especially among the science fiction reading youth of those years, during the Cold War, when the assault against the traditional religious morality of America was at its  subtlest stage, namely, when the ideas incubated in academia were being popularized through intellectuals and entertainers, too slowly for censors to object. In science fiction, with few exceptions, futures were portrayed blandly secular, as if the solution to religious strife were to eliminate religion, not the strife.

But the nature of the atheist consensus changed in the intervening years, albeit the rhetoric, by and large, has not. Modern atheism stumbled and slid, as was inevitable, into postmodernism and subjectivism to antinomianism to nihilism.

Nihilism is literally belief in nothing. In that void, the soul is left with nothing but fallacies and sentimentality, anger and emotionalism. So when the modernist atheist devolved into the postmodern atheist, he devolves into pure emotionalism, the claim that truth is whatever one feels with heated feelings to be true. It is a philosophy of humanism steadfastly refusing to use human faculties of reason.

But the postmodern skeptic still talks the talk of modernism, that is, of arch-rationalism, while being the opposite.

Skeptics will still scoff at monotheists as benighted and unlettered, gulled by Tartuffesque snake-oil salesmen, and will still boast of their own intellectual superiority, as evinced by their moralistic grandstanding as they decree that the enlightened must follow science.

And yet somehow the Skeptics are not skeptical enough to ask a biologist whether sex is binary in mammals; or ask if a man can become a woman merely by an act of will; or whether the unborn humans are necessarily human; or to ask a climatologist how the same emissions that trigger nuclear winter trigger runaway greenhouse warming; or how chlorofluorocarbon use in northern hemisphere creates an ozone hole above the Antarctic, but not the Artic; or to ask an economist how, if Earth is depleting a fixed supply of resources such as oils and ores, the price goes down, not up; or to ask a geneticist why DNA determines homosexuality but not sex, and certainly not IQ.

As for the epidemiologist, he is never asked how a cloth facemask prevents the transmission of a disease (one certainly not created in a lab!) between two people already vaccinated against it; nor why and how Trump rallies are super-spreader events, but not anti-police riots nor Obama birthdays.

All such questions demand more skepticism than the Skeptics dare muster.

Where is the famous skepticism of the skeptics? The answer is inarticulate. In not so many words, the  skeptic now, by his actions, displays his belief that the enlightened skeptic is to follow the science unless it leads into a realm of uncomfortable questions.

Because true science consists in unquestioning conformity to consensus opinion, these days, including opinions that directly logically contradict each other.

The postmodern atheist is as hapless in dealing with supernatural questions as natural.

It often happens during conversations about atheism and monotheism, that an reasonable atheist will bring up doubts about the existence of God, not because of a philosophical doubt about the idea of a Supreme Being, but because of doubts about the justice and mercy of God being so little in evidence in this sad world. Such doubts are sober and must be answered soberly.

However, it also often happens in the midst of such sober discussions, some point of logic will arise, where, for example, it is proposed that not even an omnipotent god could create a cosmos where to love was mandatory (as this would involve a paradox of involuntary volition).

With eerie frequency, more often now than in days past, the counterargument is not about the nature of fate and free will and forethought, where there is admittedly room for debate; the counterargument is instead on the grounds of the impermissibility of logical arguments.

The postmodern atheist is a mystic, not a rationalist. Yet postmodern mysticism is based, not on an enlightened and transcendent vision of ineffable truth, truth too sublime for words; but on nihilism,  a benighted and desolate vision of all words being meaningless and truths being false. The postmodern atheist does not object to fallacious reasoning, but to reasoning as such.

In such a case, the problem is not with the atheist philosophy, it is with the fact that the person espousing atheism, in a sense, has adopted a philosophy that denies philosophy.

A philosophy is a rationally ordered worldview addressing the basic and deep issues of human life. Once reason is denounced, philosophy become anti-philosophy, and atheism is no longer a philosophical position. Atheism then is a religion. It is faith in faithlessness, the belief that skepticism will work salvation.

To eliminate God as a core concept of life, one must unmake the twin mystical concepts of piety, loving heaven, and philanthropy, loving one’s neighbor. The idea of the brotherhood of man, and its corollary of dealing honorably even with enemies, is difficult or impossible in any godless hence worldly philosophy.

To be honest, the cases when what seems a poor, ragged, vulgar, stupid clown for pragmatic reasons merits treatment as a long-lost brother, or when a today’s enemy is tomorrow’s ally do exist, but are far, far outnumbered by the cases where there is no practical reason nor worldly benefit for treating strangers as brethren, or foes as human.

Once the ideas of piety and philanthropy are eliminated, equality in law is impossible, as is righteousness in grace. Justice becomes a question of practicality, and the most practical question of all is the most immoral, which is asking who has the strength to force his will on whom. All talk of right and wrong is replaced with talk of weak and strong.

A godless cosmos is not sacred, so all things in it, justice foremost, is desecrated. Justice is redefined to be arbitrary personal opinion, or arbitrary social convention, or, eventually, an deceptive rhetoric, an opium to lull the oppressed.

Let is be noted that this opium dream of apathy, wherein the oppressed do not realize their own oppression, on the grounds that it is a system of injustices being done secretly, masked by the illusion of justice, is the dream from which the “Woke” claim to have been awakened, to see with open eyes the systematic injustice of the system. Let it moreover be noted that this is a non-disprovable theory. Like all conspiracy theories, the absence of evidence is taken as proof of the sinister power and reach of the conspiracy.

Since justice is injustice, injustice is justified, or so the secular Woke must say, and is true justice. Inflicting retribution on the innocent descendants of unidentified evil ancestors becomes the order of the day.

Instead of the sacred notion of justice granting each man as he merits regardless of station, secular justice grants to each according to station, regardless of merit, and the station is ranked by a freakish pyramid of victimization, where the least meritorious is rewarded most.

To judge by results would be just, and that is out of the question. So no man is judged for his prudence, that is, for his practical ability to assess reality and create solutions. To the contrary, he is applauded for his intentions only, and the more extravagant and imprudent they are, the louder rings applause.

Fortitude likewise is out of the question, since to bear suffering with stoic dignity lowers rather than raises one’s station in the caste system of victimology. Those who whine loudest win largest prizes.

Temperance likewise is out of the question, since self-command is the one property no victim, who is helpless before his oppressors, is ever allowed to manifest. Indeed, the more self-destructive his vices of sloth and lust and drunkenness, the greater is the blame thrown onto the system who victimized him, and greater is his praise.

If his vices include sexual lust, the praise to him is more, and if they are perverted sexual lusts involving sodomy, cross-dressing, or self-castration, the praise to him is most of all (Pederasty is not currently lauded as a brave and virtuous sexual act, but, if the thing past give fair omens of things to come, the day is not far off).

The logic of the secular position requires, like it or not, what we may dub the “Gnostic Inversion.” All ideals an principles suffer transmogrification into their mere opposites.

Vice is lauded as virtuous, on the grounds that intemperance, particular of sexual perversions, is brave and beautiful. Virtue, on the other hand, dismissed as being judgmental, wrongheaded, and sinister, if not a criminal. Silence is violence. Calling virtue virtuous is uncouth, if not criminal.

The Gnostic Inversion requires virtue to be vice and vice to be virtue, but also requires the fine arts and popular entertainment to follow, so that proportion in art, lyricism in poetry, grandeur in architecture, harmony in music, truthfulness in theater and cinema and literature, likewise are fated to be dismisses as trite, unimaginative, or unforgivably lacking in dynamism, social awareness or timely relevance.

In place is offered malign distortion, morbid gibberish, squat gray brutalism, snarling cacophony, and dehumanizingly stercoraceous or meretricious putrefactions of sense and mind and soul, by turns disgusting, absurdist, and blasphemous.

Soon enough, as the busy foes of muses have do their deeds of desecration, neither artwork, workplace, domicile, monument nor hall, song nor story, is decorative, dignified, decent, delightful, truthful or true-hearted.

But in a world where vice is virtue, foul is fair, reality likewise must be unreal. This is done by conflating fact and opinion, passion and judgment, until reality itself is replaced by narrative, and truth with fiction.

Reality cannot be unreal and truth cannot be untrue except in a world where reason is unreasonable, meaning is meaningless, and logic is illogical. Thus the gift of speech, which Aslan granted to all talking animals at the dawn of Narnia, by their own word, is revoked.

So then, from godlessness to impiety, to the idea that human life is not sacred in heaven, hence men born not equal in law, is but a small step, but inevitable. Once the cosmos is not sacred, justice is not sacred, and becomes the will of the stronger.

Pagans could erect a workable, if cruel, tribe, city-state, or empire holding the stronger to be born to rule. The rulers were semi-divine, blessed with the mandate of heaven, born into the ruling caste, descended from sun-goddess or sky-father, nor was it outrageous to grant Caesar divine honors. All barbarians were as much enemy as any dangerous vermin in the wild, boars or wolves, because, like them, they raided the livestock. To be brothers with such unlettered half-apes was not so much debatable as unthinkable.

Paganism was cruel, and their gods were devils, but their harsh and hopeless world provoke them to praise justice, prudence, temperance, fortitude. The ideal of the virtuous pagan, albeit rarely, was sometimes achieved: Trajan was lifted to the heaven of Jupiter at least by the poet Dante, and perhaps the saint Gregory the Great.

But the modern skeptic, no matter how skeptical he is, once he rejects the sole rational foundation for the equality of men, rarely abandons it. The modern skeptic still says all men have natural rights, albeit he has no author of nature from whom those rights come: a right to a living wage, to medicine, housing, provender, esteem, pleasure, success; a right to free love and free abortions; and a right all else he craves, always to be provided by others somehow less equal than he.

Occasionally, perhaps, one finds the rare follower of Nietzsche or National Socialism preaching eugenics and genocide against the lesser races with the enthusiasm of a dog-breeder discussing how to eliminate wolves and improve wolfhounds. But the need for racial supremacists so far outstrips the supply, that their numbers have to be invented out of thin air, and Jordon Peterson is dragooned into the role, along with Ben Shapiro, Candace Owens, or Larry Elder.

Aside from such rare cases, the monotheist ideal of the brotherhood of man is replaced by a secular ideal of egalitarianism, which is the mere opposite of brotherhood. Egalitarianism holds that all differences in talent and nature between man and man are unjustified and unjust.

This means no man owns what he owns, nor does the work he put into creating it, either by sowing grain or sewing cloth, or pushing a plow or pushing a pen, nothing, no property, no works, no fruits of his labor, actually belong to the productive man who produced it. All things belong to the most needy.

The hard work of the productive workingman is instead a sign that more tasks must be assigned to him. The least productive, the one most in need, the one to whom life had been most unfair, he is the one whose burdens are lessened, and Caesar grants him the workingman’s work.

With egalitarianism, justice dies, replaced by social justice. Social justice, by its own logic, by incentivizing victimhood above accomplishment and intentions above results, replaces fortitude and prudence.

And with justice gone, ethics are inverted, so that all matter of praise and blame now consist of shifting blame away from the guilty and onto the innocent.

Now it is society, not the tippler, who besots the drunkard, and it is the evil of matrimony, not of the adulteress, which makes her fornication unlawful.

To blame the blameworthy for sins of lust and gluttony is slut-shaming or fat-shaming.

Controlling one’s anger is inauthentic, for silence is violence; whereas random acts of arson and looting, rape and murder, when and only when perpetrated by a designated victim-group, is the laudable redistribution of wealth and reparations for past injustices fated to usher in Woketopia, where all races aside from Caucasians will finally be equal. On that glorious Woketopian Day will math and science banished from schools, at least until Chinamen lower their average test scores to match those of Negroes.

Once virtue is vice and beauty is ugliness, the only way to prevent thoughtcrime, that is, to prevent each man from seeing with his own eyes that vice is misery, and modern art, cinema and literature consist of dreary rubbish and boring lectures, is to invert the meanings of words, so that all words now mean the opposite of once they did. Correctness in matters of fact and truth is replaced by political correctness.

This puts rational thought, such as legal, scientific or medical discourse, or anything rigorous in thought and practice, directly at odds with political correctness.

Hence the legal community, once plagued by unethical lawyers and sharpsters, had been entirely replaced by them; scientists by crackpots; doctors by cranks.

The medical profession, at the time of this writing, is busily engaged in preventing cheap but useful treatments from reaching patients, falsifying statistics, suppressing medical advice that challenges the narrative, and coercing human medical experimentation of untested treatments on those who neither need nor want them.

The scientific profession lost is prestige in the 1990s, when it sold its soul for a mess of Global Warming, demoted Pluto, and refused to revisit Darwin in light of recent advancement in genetics.

Economists lost their in the 1930s, by honoring crackpot theories of socialism and Keynesianism.

Philosophy died during that time of worldly darkness called the Enlightenment, killed off when Kant severed the noumenal from the phenomenal, the rational from the real.

And now we are left with the irrational. Nihilism preaches the truth that there is  no truth. In a world without truth, without logic the sole method of resolving differences of opinion  through logical fallacy.

The battlecry of “follow the science” is Argumentum ad Verecundiam; the trick of escaping criticism by decreeing the critic to be an Ismist or Phobophobe or some other ungood thoughtcrimer of hatespeak is Argumentum ad Hominem; Antifas and Black Marxists provide the Argumentum ad Baculum; while long-haired, glassy-eyed, high-tech oligarchs, high-flown with ego and opiates, do not even need to voice a fallacious reason to silence debate, for they need give no reason at all. The modern bookburning is done merely by flipping a switch. Truth does not meet our community guidelines. 

And there is nothing else.

Postmodern debate is merely a clamor of dueling credentials and false accusations, each louder than the next.

Man cannot destroy reason. He can refuse to heed it, and declare it dead, and reason will destroy him.

Man cannot topple the throne of God, nor wholly eliminate the image of God in Man. But he can rear an idol to the Beast in his own image, a creature with many horns of power and crowns of glory, and screaming mouths of blasphemy, on whose back rides a whore called worldly pride. The monster will outgrow behemoth and leviathan, filling land and sea; and Man can watch in wonder when the idol finally comes to life and rends him.

Can the postmodern atheist be convinced of the reality of God? Only the Holy Ghost can answer that.

But surely the postmodern atheist can be convinced of the reality of the misery of Hell. He is creating it daily about him.

It is a misery he knows.