Religio

I would like to revive the Roman word “Religio”, as a word for the shared rituals and solemn pronunciations on virtue that bind a nation together, and symbolize people’s trust in each other to do the expected thing, and a word for the suitably solemn and respectful observance of these rituals and pieties.

What we need is not religion, of which we have oversupply, some of them good but walking dead, some of them alive but disturbingly evil. What we need is Religio.

Thanksgiving, the fourth of July, and memorial day are good examples of American Religio: Japanese Shinto is the best example of Religio in the modern world.

Theoretically every Japanese believes that the emperor is a direct descendent of the Sun God. Of course they have not believed that for several hundred years, and yet at the same time, all of them believe it even today.

In Japanese movies, cartoons, comic strips, and video games, Shinto priests shoot down demons with lightning from their fingerprints. All other religions are depicted as corrupt, hypocritical, fraudulent, and rather silly. Buddhist monks are depicted as perverts, hypocrites, lechers and frauds. Christians are perverts and apt to ruthlessly engage in the most terrifying and shocking violence untroubled by the supposed pacifism of their religion. If Muslims are depicted at all, they are homicidally insane. If someone reads the Koran, he immediately concludes he is commanded to murder the main character. Christianity, as depicted in Japan, is pacifist, but Christians don’t much care. Islam, to the extent that it is depicted at all, is insanely aggressive.

Japanese are solemnly respectful of Shinto shrines and Shinto priests. They have lots of festivals, in which young people solemnly participate in all sorts of activities as if they believed in all sorts of ancient, and rather silly, superstitions.

If we had a nominally Christian Religio, all our movies, television shows, comic strips and video games would cheerfully depict Rabbis in the scorching and inciendary manner that Jesus depicted them in Mathew 23:3-7, while they would depict Christians as noble doers of good in the manner that World of Warcraft got away with depicting “The Religion of Light” before the Social Justice Warriors hacked the testicles off the World of Warcraft developers and forced them to demonize “The Religion of Light” because of its suspicious resemblance to the Christianity of Charles the Hammer and the Song of Roland..

And we would do this even if Christianity was a dead religion, without any need to restore it to real life and vitality. Indeed, if today’s Christianity is almost dead, the robotically animated corpse of a real religion, all the more convenient to celebrate the Christianity of Charles the Hammer. Children and teenagers would pretend to believe, in order to participate with their friends in the festivals, and their parents would pretend to believe, for their children.

But what of the risk of seemingly dead Christianity showing signs of life and mutating to greater virulence? Anglicanism around 1800 mutated from a state religion into a weapon to attack King George, the head of the Anglican Religion, and to undermine the aristocracy. Those advocating religious and sexual purity, which standards of purity were applied selectively against political enemies, should have been excommunicated for the heresy of phariseeism, but were not. I think this reflects the lack of private property rights in superior holiness. Shrines in Shinto tend to be family businesses, while Anglican Churches were captured by the most holy.

Shinto is nominally a private religion, and is showing tendencies to mutate to greater virulence as a result of competition between priests, but this is somewhat held in check by the fact that the valuable shrines are generally public/private, inherited in the family line, rather than being captured by the most holy. To operate a profitable Shinto operation, you need to inherit or purchase a suitably holy shrine, and to be suitably holy, needs to be suitably ancient, whereas in Christianity you can stick a cross on your barn, and claim it is as holy as any other Church. If you whip up your own Shinto Shrine, the authorities will ignore you, and you will have a hard row to hoe. It is working so far. Shinto is alive enough to give Japan cohesion, but we don’t see too many Shinto priests denouncing the Japanese establishment for being insufficiently Shinto and condemning large numbers of Japanese to eternal damnation for being the wrong kind of Shinto. And when a Shinto priest does do that, he finds that despite Shinto theoretically no longer being the state religion, the state nonetheless finds ways to make life hard for him. Alas, the Emperor can no longer cast him out, but the Association of Shinto Shrines, which is scarcely distinguishable from the state, can de-recognize his shrine. It would be a lot more effective, however, if the emperor did it.

The Association of Shinto Shrines in practice protects the establishment from being attacked for insufficient holiness by weaponized religion, and also protects the property rights of existing priestly families to own their existing holiness, protecting them from competition from ambitious outsiders claiming superior holiness for their newly minted shrines.

To prevent Religio from becoming an empty dead husk, need a certain amount of religious competition to maintain religious vitality. But to prevent dangerously vital religion from seeking secular power and secular status, need an Archbishop and Grand Inquisitor to do what the Association of Shinto Shrines does. We need sufficient pious hypocrisy that the established religion cannot be used to attack the establishment, nor used to cast out some large part of the population as insufficiently holy.

Spandrel argues that a semi hereditary priesthood, or an official priesthood, a state manufactured religio, is likely to be insufficiently sincere, and will therefore be defeated by dangerously sincere outsiders.

It is only going to be defeated by dangerously sincere outsiders if you give the competition a fair go and a level playing field. Don’t do that! Bribe the indolence of the clergy with ample privilege over the competition.

Japan shows how to do this right. Christianity in Japan is insignificant and probably shrinking in the same way as it is shrinking in the west, while Christianity in China is expanding in a way that terrifies the party and should terrify the party.

Communism is dead. In China a startlingly lively Christianity expands into the vacuum. China needs a state backed Confucian religio, and they have not got one. Christians in the west are for the most part merely progressives who are not quite up with the latest fashions. Christians in China are dangerously Christian. China is attempting to create a less threatening form of Christianity. In principle, this should be possible, since Christianity is quietist and other worldly, but they are doing it rather clumsily. Maybe they should try for a Christianity as infused with Confucianism, as Anglo Saxon Christianity was infused with paganism.

Japanese religio is today progressive and feminist, because MacArthur commanded it to be. Should international political conditions change, it could rather rapidly cease to be progressive and feminist.

Japan is sinking into crisis because of population collapse. It currently attempts to fix the problem with ever more extreme applications of Keynesianism. To really fix it, need to restore the pre MacArthur status of women. Japan’s strong and cohesive religio is a tool that could do such a thing, though the will to apply this entirely functional and dangerously potent tool is absent, being discredited by the things the tool was applied for in the events leading up to World War II. I don’t think Japan has the will to save itself, but it has the tools to do so, and these tools could be copied.

107 Responses to “Religio”

  1. Nyan Sandwich says:

    So how could we do this in the west? I’d love to see and nominally Anglo-Christian-Pagan Religio, but where do we get one?

    Could construct one, or start taking existing Anglo-Christo-Pagan Religio more seriously, but constructed ones tend to be dangerous…

    • peppermint says:

      Christianity is pretty much our only option. It’s not that bad, is it?

      I mean, unless you want to go for LessWrongism.

      • Just sayin' says:

        Seems almost impossible to deprogram a bunch of Protestants who have been infected by the disturbingly plausible progressive interpretations of Christianity. Christianity in the United States appears to fill the same role as the Republican party: moving the right edge of the Overton window leftward.

        But it is way more effective. From a Christian perspective, how do you even go about arguing against the idea that believing Christian blacks have an immortal soul of inestimable value and worth? If Christian blacks have an immortal soul of inestimable value and worth, then they can marry your daughter and racism is a sin.

        Better to start with agnostics and “no religion”s who don’t believe in much of anything, but who are being very poorly served by the current system.

        And better to take them in a direction far, far away from Christianity. Christianity reinforces all the worst characteristics of modern whites. (Nice-guy-ism.)

        Past whites were not afflicted with crippling nice-guy-ism. We practiced head hunting until the late 1800s. So Christianity made us more powerful by making us more civilized. But at this point we’re over civilized and it is killing us. Need something very, very different from Christianity. Maybe bring back head hunting.

        • Alan J. Perrick says:

          All of those Protestants on the Supreme Court, running the United States into the ground. Oh, wait there aren’t any and S.C.O.T.U.S. is entirely Roman Catholic (6/9) and Jewish (3/9).

          A.J.P.

          • Just sayin' says:

            It can plausibly be argued that Catholics are advancing the interests of their (brown, superstitious, ignorant, third world) pseudo-tribe. There is some cuckolding involved, but that is a common feature of religious pseudo-tribes. See Islamic martyrs.

            It can certainly be argued that Jews are advancing the interests of their tribe.

            Therefore, the question isn’t “what’s wrong with Jews” or “what’s wrong with Catholics”. They’re behaving normally, as subversive aliens who are implacably hostile to White Protestant culture should behave.

            The question is “What’s wrong with White Protestants?” They’re the ones who are failing. In the US they are far more numerous than the other two groups, yet they hold zero supreme court seats, their government and their entire society have been turned against them and re-dedicated to cuckolding them on a massive scale.

            “What’s wrong with white protestants?” is a pressing question. They need to change their ways or they will surely perish. Or at least, we need to break the transmission of failed memes from the older generation (lost cause) to the younger generation.

          • Alan J. Perrick says:

            That’s a reasonable point, but I don’t know if it’s a good one. That is because many people will take the responsibility that white Protestants should have, and turn it into blame of them, in fact a cretinous mob against them or, actually, us.

            So I don’t point out “What’s wrong with white Protestants?”

            I point out, “What’s wrong with the anti-whites? Why do they want White Genocide?”

            Best regards,

            A.J.P.

          • Just sayin' says:

            “I point out, “What’s wrong with the anti-whites? Why do they want White Genocide?””

            Because they can take down a dangerous competitor.

            You might as well ask why the other animals wanted the extinction of the sabertooth tiger.

            Over-specialization is a leading cause of species extinction. Northwest European whites evolved in a highly specialized way* that brought them great power, but left them reliant on a specialized, temporary environment and highly vulnerable to parasitism. They failed to aggressively maintain that environment and so it was destroyed.

            Now they find their greatest strengths turned against them, as attitudes that served them well in the past have become utterly detrimental to their survival.

            “Mainstream White culture is emasculated and submissive. White men are constantly apologizing for being White, and for being men. They’re overly concerned with rules and social etiquette and with being “good men.” They’re limp dick beggars, begging women for sex and the whole world for forgiveness. They’re naive believers, repeating whatever feel-good fantasy women or gays or blacks or Mexicans make up about themselves to seem magical, misunderstood, or sympathetic. White men are so busy chewing up pencils trying to resolve the unresolveable paradoxes of their universalist moralities that any self-interested people or person can play them like puppets.”

            Need to adapt fast or die. Doing the same old shit isn’t going to work.

            *hbdchick attributes this in part to the Catholic church’s banning of cousin marriage out to the 7th cousin, which was most strictly adhered to in the North West European areas which eventually mostly became Protestant.

          • Alan J. Perrick says:

            You’re still saying that we deserve what’s coming to us. It’s the anti-white position.
            &
            All the theory in the world isn’t as interesting in some basic truths that work under pressure from the enemy.

            A.J.P.

            • jim says:

              The anti white position is not the anti white position. It is the anti those other whites position, the anti anglo saxon protestant position.

          • Alan J. Perrick says:

            “Jim,” are you saying that the Roman Church has cruelly calculated a sacrifice of their own white French population in order to get at us white Anglo-Saxons? That’s plausible at least…

            But still, it’s all around anti-white at this point. So while I do in fact agree with said theory, and find it inspiring to morale, it does pay dividends to attack all anti-whites since they are from the same cookie-cutter factory…

            It’s not easy, and I do not want to become a cookie-cutter myself!

            Best regards,

            A.J.P.

            • jim says:

              “Jim,” are you saying that the Roman Church has cruelly calculated a sacrifice of their own white French population in order to get at us white Anglo-Saxons?

              Yes.

          • Alan J. Perrick says:

            This being the case, any moral person should wish for considerably, Considerably less ecumenism with the nominally Christian Roman Catholics.

          • peppermint says:

            conspiracy theory level: alex jones

        • Adolf the anti-White says:

          >If Christian blacks have an immortal soul of inestimable value and worth, then they can marry your daughter and racism is a sin
          Having a soul entitles you to marriage?

          Maybe in an anti-monastic version of Christianity.

    • Alan J. Perrick says:

      My preferred version of “America 2.0” – The Continuing Anglican movement

      After 1960s revuhlooshuns, convened a congress in 1977 to get back to actual religion.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuing_Anglican_movement

    • scientism says:

      The danger in constructing a religio lies in being insincere. You have to avoid all calls to return to the past and all calls to create something that looks like something else and ask, “What can we do with sincerity?” Sincerity is the most important thing. There’s no use performing rituals that we can’t take seriously. We want stronger families and there are obvious rituals that go with that. Marriage rituals, birth rituals, funeral rites, rituals for remembering the dead, etc. What shows piety? What shows sincerity? The point is that these things are public, taken seriously. You have to do them in front of people. We turned marriage ceremonies into a form of entertainment because we no longer take marriage seriously. Marriage is now an excuse to make a goofy YouTube video. The lack of solemnity reflects our attitudes. We’re no longer comfortable taking things seriously. We need to joke around in these situations, because we’ve become universally socially retarded. Religio would have to reflect our solemnity, our sincerity, otherwise it’s just LARPing. To do that it should express the seriousness we place on culture and civilisation.

      • Kgaard says:

        Good points Scientism but it’s a losing battle. How do you get hot young women to sign up for marriage en masse and not eject when they get bored? I don’t think it’s possible. There aren’t enough compelling dudes in their 20s. And the value of men in their 20s continues to drop as the economy gets more winner-take-all. Meanwhile the women get less attractive due to dysgenic breeding.

        If we agree that marriage as originally designed in patriarchal societies was BASED on oppression and rationing of hot fertile women, then we have to accept that women will only go along with such a deal if they absolutely have to. And they don’t. Because the society is rich. American wealth can be taxed away from successful men and spread around to single women and their bastard spawn. This, in fact, is the LOGICAL way to do it from the vantage point of the totality of women. So that’s what we’re going to get.

        For a guy the only question is how best to navigate this reality.

        • scientism says:

          You have to take away women’s financial independence. Dismantle the welfare state and make it impossible for women to hold bank accounts. The family is an institution and should have a single account managed by the head of the household. He decides the privileges of his wife and children. When a son marries, he becomes the head of a new household and is put in charge of the finances of his household. When a woman marries, she joins her husband’s household. This will force women to make good decisions. Even if she earns money, she still needs to marry a responsible man to gain any independence from her parents. Until then, her parents have control over her, legally and financially, and, since the state won’t support her bad decisions, her parents have a reason to keep her from making bad choices. Once quotas, regulations and subsidies that favour women are removed from the economy, there will probably be fewer women working anyway. Of course, none of this is impossible if you don’t rid yourself of democracy first, but everything is impossible if you don’t rid yourself of democracy first.

      • jim says:

        One can sincerely make oaths before God and man, without engaging in excessive curiosity as to the history, activities, and nature of one’s God.

  2. Gary Seven says:

    Excellent post, sir!

  3. The Pretender says:

    Pretending to believe often leads to real belief.

  4. spandrell says:

    I don’t know what Anime you’re watching, but Japanese are, or at least were overwhelmingly Buddhist. You got it all wrong, and I’d need a whole post to explain it.

    Shinto and Buddhism were only separated in the 1870s. Before that, Shinto shrines were pretty much colonized by Buddhist gods and ritual.

    Shinto is not a religion. The Japanese follow no religion. The Japanese have rituals, and some rituals are done in some places, while others are done in other places.

    When a baby is born, on its 100th day it’s taken to a local Shinto temple. When people die, you call the local Buddhist temple, give them 10k dollars, and have the monk arrange a funeral. Most marriages today are done in a fake Christian church by a white fake priest.

    Nobody know shit about religion, nor gives a shit. The point has been made that the Japanese believe in Japanism, that they’re an awesome people in awesome land and their culture is the best on earth. That is not based on Shinto or any other religion really.

    Shinto shrines are a family business. But Buddhist temples are also a family business. I knew a girl whose parents run a Buddhist temple. She was also the town bicycle. Lovely girl though.

    I don’t remember arguing that hereditary temples wouldn’t work. I do like Handle’s theory that hypocrisy tends to not transmit well to the next generations, so false believers tend to produce true believers in the end, so you gotta be careful about those false beliefs.

    Historical fact is the Meiji reformers tried to cook up a state religion that they called Shinto, and they actually sent goons to burn down Buddhist temples and kill monks. But it didn’t work out; the masses were fond of their Buddhas, the temples counterattacked, and Buddhism remained the majority religion, while state-Shinto was never taken very seriously. Not that they took Buddhism very seriously anyway, but still.

    Asians are not religious in the way Caucasians are. They are quite tribalist, and Japanism is a thing, as Chinese cultural chauvinism is a thing .They are both admirable things, and quite superior to religion as we understand it. I don’t think Caucasians work like that, though.

    • jim says:

      Shinto is not a religion. The Japanese follow no religion. The Japanese have rituals, and some rituals are done in some places, while others are done in other places.

      Hence, religio, rather than religion. Shared rituals and pieties. I said that an entirely dead Christianity, robotically animated, in which adults only pretend to believe, would be a fine religio for the west. In order to participate in Shinto rituals, and everyone on Japan participates in Shinto rituals, have to go through the motions of believing.

      Historical fact is the Meiji reformers tried to cook up a state religion that they called Shinto, and they actually sent goons to burn down Buddhist temples and kill monks. But it didn’t work out; the masses were fond of their Buddhas, the temples counterattacked, and Buddhism remained the majority religion, while state-Shinto was never taken very seriously. Not that they took Buddhism very seriously anyway, but still.

      Todays Japanese believe no more and no less than they believed in 1940, and in 1940 they died in large numbers for their beliefs. It is not a religion in the sense that Christianity is, but it is far from being nothing.

      If you say “It is not a religion, japanese are not religious”, well, yes, not religious, but clearly they are something and clearly they were something.

      Buddhism nonetheless gets a rough deal in the media. Without direct knowledge of what goes on in Japan, but observing the media, looks like Buddhism survives on state assimilation into shinto – if your Buddhist shrine is not part of the Association of Shinto shrines because it is excessively Buddhist and insufficiently Shinto, will not get far.

      Shinto shrines are a family business. But Buddhist temples are also a family business.

      Indicating assimilation by the state and Shinto, much as Christianity has been assimilated by progressivism, with its primary rites of holiness being open borders, adopting black babies, and honoring gays.

      • spandrell says:

        Anime is not “the media”. It’s 10% of the media that the average Japanese consumes. I’m not aware of the details, but I guess Buddhists in Anime are depicted as evil schemers by association with their role in the big civil wars of the Middle Ages, where Buddhist monasteries were independent warrior states meddling with everyone, until they were disarmed in by Nobunaga and then Tokugawa. But that’s not how they’re depicted in mainstream media or thought by most people.

        Buddhist sects have their own associations and they’re quite healthy as they are. The Association of Shinto shrines is absolutely inconsequential, although I’ve heard they are popular among the handful of hard-righters out there. Mostly yakuza related these days. Nothing mainstream about it.

        Indicating assimilation by the state and Shinto

        Not quite. Religion in Japan was taken over by the state in the 1600s
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danka_system
        This outlawed conversion, defanged the monasteries, and made the temples effectively into a household registration bureau. Their evolution into a hereditary business was an administrative issue, not a religious one.

        The Japanese didn’t fight to death for the emperor. “Emperor Banzai!” was just a call. The Japanese were drafted, and fought for what soldiers always fight: for their peers, and to not dishonor their families. Nobody believed in shit, as the enthusiastic welcome of McArthur and progressivism shows.

        Japanism works because the Japanese are tribalistic, but not religious. Caucasians though are religious and not tribalistic. White people need to believe, or they feel like frauds. Japanese people are overwhelmingly frauds and it doesn’t bother them in the slightest.

        • jim says:

          Japanism works because the Japanese are tribalistic, but not religious. Caucasians though are religious and not tribalistic. White people need to believe, or they feel like frauds. Japanese people are overwhelmingly frauds and it doesn’t bother them in the slightest.

          But, if frauds, pretending to something.

          Japanese go through the motions of religion more than whites go through the motions of religion. You say this does not matter, yet all the indications that it does matter. Every other soldier said they would die fighting but did not. The Japanese said they would die fighting, and actually did so.

          So, maybe not frauds. Or maybe if you base your relationships with everyone else on a fraud, you wind up carrying through.

        • jim says:

          If shrines are family businesses, then a private property right in superior holiness. If a private property right in superior holiness, someone is enforcing that right against other claimants to holiness. If the family business can make a profit, holiness matters.

          As I said, if it is not religion, it is still something. If Judges Israel was theocracy without a state, Shinto is theocracy without religion.

          • spandrell says:

            It doesn’t work like that.

            The Tokugawa outlawed holiness competition. Every house was forced to choose one local temple and stick to it forever. Temples were run as household registration bureaus, eventually evolving into funeral bureaus which is what they are to this day; now it’s not forced, merely customary.

            People in the Edo period who wanted to proclaim their superior holiness were executed, and religion was fixed in place as a state bureau. Religion is a matter of ritual, not of belief; it’s not about being holy. There are no homilies or sermons in Asian religion. You don’t see the priest or monks. You do your ritual, or perhaps go and put some money to pray for luck in the next exam.

            If anything the holiness competition is moved to the political realm; the Kokugaku can be seen as a big holier-than-thou attack at the Shoguns, understood as warriors understand holiness.

            Anyway you’re forcing me to do some research on this issue. Expect a long post some time soon.

            • jim says:

              The Tokugawa outlawed holiness competition. Every house was forced to choose one local temple and stick to it forever. Temples were run as household registration bureaus, eventually evolving into funeral bureaus which is what they are to this day; now it’s not forced, merely customary.

              And what happens when someone gets up to some uncustomary holiness competition? The Cathedral forbids state religion. Looks to me that the Japanese are just kidding us about not having a state religion. They have a state something-not-a-religion.

          • spandrell says:

            How is it state mandated though? Might have been on Meiji days, but the state today isn’t enforcing Japanism. You got openly communist teacher unions for example. And plenty of holy agitators and QUANGOs these days. Twitter has been particularly harmful.

            Japanism lives on in a very vocal fascist minority, and most peoples passive behavior, but the state isn’t doing much.

    • Hidden Author says:

      But how does one explain the Japanese soldier of WW2? The Italians cracked under pressure (surrendered en masse, defected to the other side in some cases); the Germans fought hard but aside from the SS and Hitler Youth generally preferred surrender to certain deaths once the battle was lost. But the Japanese would fight to the bitter end with 10 battle dead for each taken prisoner. And THEN they took the opposite approach when their Emperor ordered them to. In fact, some leftist peaceniks argue that Japanese surrender could have occurred prior to Hiroshima if the Allies had promised beforehand to let the Emperor retain his throne. So if you are 5*Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander, what can you conclude other than the Japanese love and revere their Emperor? So the general keeps the Emperor in place and the Western understanding of the Emperor’s role in Japan is established.

      What did MacArthur get wrong in your opinion?

      • spandrell says:

        There was a coup attempt to stop the emperor from surrendering. The Japanese weren’t faithful. They just had the samurai concept of honor, that death is preferable to shame. The Japanese to this day are pretty quick to kill themselves. A common insult is “why don’t you just die?” And when you feel bad about anything you say ” i wanna die”.

        Not to say they didn’t venerate the emperor as the head of the nation. Having it removed would’ve been a huge shock. It’s an unbroken line of over a thousand years. Yet it was the government which insisted in keeping the monarchy. Plenty of republicans around in those days.

        • jim says:

          The Japanese weren’t faithful. They just had the samurai concept of honor, that death is preferable to shame.

          And where, Spandrel, did that concept come from?

        • Hidden Author says:

          Also how can the Buddhist temples be run by families of priests. My understanding is that Buddhism is a religion run by monks and occasionally nuns. Speaking of which, aren’t vows of celibacy and poverty a sign of strong commitment and belief? Granted from the perspective of European Christianity, the commitment of the monks to poverty tends to inversely proportional to the revenue their monastery brings in. (Although even when the monks are wealthy, officially the individual monks have nothing and all the wealth the monks enjoy is officially the communal wealth of the monastery.)

          • jim says:

            That is my understanding also. I conjecture that Buddhism in Japan, in so far as it is tolerated, is assimilated to Shinto.

            I like hereditary priests and temples as private family property. Prevents holiness competition. But of course, to be hereditary, marriage etc has to be not just permitted, but pretty much mandatory.

  5. Wyrd says:

    I used to like Anime until I saw Legend of the Overfiend. What the hell is that shit? What is wrong with your, Japan?

  6. […] Hawk politics. No enemies to the left. Greetings! Unity (I don’t get it) — this seems to be related. The basic dissymmetry. Reliable […]

  7. Barnabas says:

    “I said that an entirely dead Christianity, robotically animated, in which adults only pretend to believe, would be a fine religio for the west.”

    That’s exactly what America had for a couple of generations but now no one has time for such play acting. The children and grandchildren of those formalist Christians are now true believers, either in the social justice religion or in a more fundamentalist Christianity. It takes a lot of social pressure to keep people cooped up in a church away from their various distractions if they aren’t true believers.

  8. Barnabas says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen you reference James Burnham. His The Machiavellians was one of Moldbug’s sources but he doesn’t get nearly enough attention in NRx circles. He references Georges Sorel and describes a “myth” that energizes and motivates a people and that is not subject to rational analysis. As you read his description you can clearly recognize how such myths have been used by our adversaries to motivate revolution. The use of myths to preserve a society is likely to be a much more difficult project.

    • Just sayin' says:

      “The use of myths to preserve a society is likely to be a much more difficult project.”

      Neo-reactionary signalling aside, one has to wonder if we’re really trying to preserve this rotten society, or if it is too late to preserve anything and we’re into the area that might be called “conservative revolution”.

      • Barnabas says:

        Certainly, but at some point we would want to get off the revolution carousel. I don’t have a good historical model for that and I’m not sure that can be done until there is a catastrophe so great that it causes the loss of a significant amount of population and technology.

  9. Rollory says:

    “Shrines in Shinto tend to be family businesses, ”

    That’s how classical paganism worked also. Gibbon claims that one of Christianity’s superior adaptations was making its shrines independent of private fortunes; making them into paid positions supported by the church organization and tax (tithing) income.

    When Julian tried to re-found paganism as an organized system in opposition to Christianity, he tried to replicate this also. It didn’t survive his death.

    A more in-depth comparison of Shintoism in competition with Christianity as compared to classical paganism in competition with Christianity could be very interesting.

    In general though what you are discussing here could address Hood’s concerns about the weakness of a religion based on the old gods in his articl here: http://www.radixjournal.com/journal/2014/11/18/a-god-to-damn-us

  10. VXXC says:

    Here’s an idea.

    How about WE defend our civilization?

    How about WE do some work?

    What matters what tool we use? That’s like arguing what caliber of bullet is optimal whilst the enemy sweeps past you.

    Why copy Japanese tools when we don’t use our own?

    We fail largely at present because our elites have collapsed at all levels, and all levels of leaders are bribed into indolence or so cowardly they’re intimidated by hags and fags. For instance the World of Warcraft developers didn’t actually have their balls hacked off. They just got nagged in public. Cowards.

    Our school system especially our Universities produce Universal cowardice and decay. If you’re not strong enough to stand up to hags and fags what makes you think grabbing a Katana makes you a Samurai?

    We lack courage and will. It can still be found. Mind you they aren’t as educated in many cases as the wretches we have now. If we were to judge performance and correlate to education one could infer an Illiterate Leader might be best now. Brave Idiocracy would be preferable to Cowardocracy.

    On the good news front American Law Enforcement is having their Bundy moment in Ferguson, and their not taking kindly to being the Cows at all.

    Cops, soldiers, Veterans, Firefighters, EMT’s. We lack courage, that is what we lack. It would make sense to go to it’s reservoirs to find.

  11. Dr. Faust says:

    It conveniently solves the problem of nihilism which has captured everyone’s mind while not requiring anyone to actually believe in religion. But I think the shinto religion is successful in modernity because most people are smart enough to realize the benefits of religion as cultural identity and the ones not so smart are few enough not to make too much trouble.

    Oh and it means we don’t have to have Christ the feminized figurehead of feminism anymore. We can show Christianity as a masculine religion like Odinism.

  12. B says:

    My comment got eaten.

    What would Carlyle say to this proposal?

    He would say, you are in this mess because you had sham-kings, and now you propose to remedy it with sham-priests worshiping a sham-god?

    You can’t lie your way out of this.

  13. Wouldn’t Christianity infused with Confucianism basically be medieval Christianity?

  14. Adolf the anti-White says:

    I think Jim’s materialism is causing his beliefs to get weird.

    I think the Japanese Emperor is the descendant of a god. I am an Orthodox Christian.

    Pagans generally believed Christian rituals had spiritual effect. And they hated Christianity. Christians generally believed that Pagan rituals had spiritual effect. And they hated Paganism.

    The Old Testament is Henotheistic. It believes in gods other than Yahweh, but commands the children of Israel to worship only Yahweh. St. Paul continues in this belief:

    1 Corinthians 10:19-21 (DRB) What then? Do I say that what is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? Or that the idol is any thing? 20 But the things which the heathens sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils and not to God. And I would not that you should be made partakers with devils. 21 You cannot drink the chalice of the Lord and the chalice of devils: you cannot be partakers of the table of the Lord and of the table of devils.

    The belief that rituals have no effect is traceable to low-church Protestants. Sacramentarians, who denied the cup was Christ’s blood, and that the Japanese gods actually existed.

    • Adolf the anti-White says:

      Modern science is (or should be) empirical. Spiritual traditions may be in conflict with science, to the extent that they make empirically-testable claims. If they make non-empirical claims, they are not in conflict with science.

      Can we test the claim that the Japanese Emperor is the descendant of the Sun god? If yes, how? If no, then it must be categorized as some non-scientific sort of belief.

      Moral ideals, mathematical ideals, et cetera, are all non-empirical ideas. They are often mixed with empirical ideas, which makes it a bit confusing.

    • Adolf the anti-White says:

      Put another way, Jim sees his materialism (a.k.a. a disbelief in spiritual ideals) as the norm. He sees a Japan that does not believe in stuff like creationism, or other anti-empirical religious claims.

      So Jim concludes that the Japanese doesn’t actually believe in the rituals.

      But in actuality, Japan does believe in the rituals. They just don’t believe the parts of Traditional Shintoism that conflict with empiricism. Jim’s ideal of restoration Anglicanism also did something similar, though in a very different way.

    • Adolf the anti-White says:

      A belief system that denied the existence of all gods but Jesus, will tend to turn into Atheism, by subtracting one more god. Or deism, by subtracting the specific attributes of Jesus and turning into a general idea of God.

      Historically, denial of henotheism looks like it’s a forerunner to atheism.

    • jim says:

      Bernal Díaz del Castillo and the men around him seem to have taken for granted the Aztec gods were real, and really derived power from human sacrifice. They just did not much like them.

    • jim says:

      My understanding of Paul’s position is that if you thought that meat sacrificed to idols was merely meat, and anyone who knew you ate it thought it was merely meat, then it was merely meat. But if someone, particularly yourself, thinks it is not merely meat, then it is not merely meat – which is pretty close to my materialist position that devils exist, but only inside people’s heads, and rituals are effective, but only in that they cause people to act in certain ways and display intention to act in certain ways.

      • Adolf the anti-White says:

        I could see how you might understand the passage that way.

        I understood it as saying that God is supreme, therefore, you don’t need to worry. In the OT, Yahweh is supreme above the other gods, and they hold no ultimate dominion over the followers of Yahweh. See The Ark of the Covenant destroying Dagon, Elijah’s conflict with the Prophets of Baal, and Aaron’s staff/snake eating the staff/snakes of Jannes and Jambres.

        1 Corinthians 10:25-28 (DRB) Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, eat: asking no question for conscience’ sake. 26 The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof. 27 If any of them that believe not, invite you, and you be willing to go: eat of any thing that is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake. 28 But if any man say: This has been sacrificed to idols: do not eat of it, for his sake that told it and for conscience’ sake.

        The relevant question is – can a demon hold sway over a non-believer? Paul seems to say yes. And the gospels definitely say yes.

      • Adolf the anti-White says:

        By the way

        >rituals are effective, but only in that they cause people to act in certain ways and display intention to act in certain ways

        Is precisely Zwingli’s position on the Eucharist. Which the Baptists copied.

        The Catholic and Orthodox position on the Eucharist is that it’s actually Christ’s body and blood. Orthodox tend to clarify that they’re saying that the “essence” of the bread and wine becomes flesh and blood.

        It seems to me that a lot of materialists and Baptists hear things like this and don’t get it. They either understand it as physically Christ’s body and blood, or as a metaphor. And it obviously isn’t his body and blood in a physical sense.

        I’ve always wondered what it would be like explaining mathematics to a human with a totally non-mathematical brain. Explaining spirituality to Baptists and materialists seems a bit like that. It’s an entire process of reasoning that seems to be built into my (and a lot of other people’s) brains, that some people don’t seem to have. Or don’t use.

    • Alan J. Perrick says:

      You are not any kind of Christian, A.A.-W.. You are Anti-White, which is the strongest and most fundamental doctrine in the pagan religion of Political Correctness, in The Cathedral…

      Lest we forget:
      “They draw some imaginary line between the in-group and out-group, and rarely recognize non-racial differences. So a “White” man with an IQ of 80 should make babies, but an Oriental man with an IQ of 120 should not.

      And where does the line between “White” and “non-White” exist?”

      http://blog.jim.com/politics/neoreaction-and-identitarianism/#comment-764501

      • Adolf the anti-White says:

        And what is factually wrong with that statement?

        1.Identitarian religion is generally egalitarian on class, gender, et cetera. See: Nazism

        2.The line between “White” and “non-White” is definitely blurry. The one-drop rule excludes virtually everybody. Skin tone is not practical for various reasons. Major populations in Europe (i.e. Albanians) are difficult to call White.

        Racial religions tend to end up with absurdly pure standards (i.e. only Nordic people). Or ineffectively loose standards.

        Religions promoting close intermarriage among kin, and opposing marriage to outsiders has worked. See: Judaism. But that’s not a racial religion – lots of dark-skinned Jews around. (or, if you think Abraham was dark, lots of light-skinned Jews around).

          • Adolf the anti-White says:

            If we’re dealing with pure Africans and pure Europeans, one can certainly draw a clear and permanent distinction.

            Problem is, in a mixed country, we’re likely to get mulattos. And Quadroons. So where do you draw the line then? One-drop rule is impractical.

            Are Arabs black? Italians?

          • peppermint says:

            Look more closely, Arabs are Arabs.

            But yeah, you need to socially define mixed breeds as not White in order to preserve Whiteness for the future. Which is fine. It’s also the way things work right now, bizarrely enough. Meanwhile, Jews don’t want to acknowledge the Jewishness of their African brothers. Can’t say I blame them.

          • B says:

            Jews don’t have a problem with African Jews. But African Judaizers must formally convert.

          • Peppermint says:

            …and receive mandatory inoculation against African pregnancy

          • B says:

            I heard that whitey brought crack and AIDS to the black community. Is that not true?

          • Peppermint says:

            That’s right, you guys love diversity and faggotry, inside Israel especially. And autistic Negro seed in the sperm banks for empowered green-eyed 130 IQ Ashkenazi lesbians. Racism is a goyischkopf attitude, and the reason goyim need their microprocessors designed in Israel by Ethiopian transformed.

          • Peppermint says:

            Android was goyischkopf enough to incorrect ‘transwomen’. That’s why Google is failing.

          • Adolf the anti-White says:

            >But yeah, you need to socially define mixed breeds as not White in order to preserve Whiteness for the future.
            And how do you come up with a precise definition?

            When the American South defined “black”, they defined it as “one drop of negro blood”. Of course, by that standard, Italians are definitely black. The standard was not consistent, and a bit silly.

            Not that we can’t have racial standards, but they can’t be permanent. They need a lot of flexibility. The South needs to accept Italians, but not those who are 95% White and 5% Negro. Otherwise, we get Latin America.

            South Africa, on the other hand, probably needs to accept Boers as White. Even though they’re like 6% black.

            >It’s also the way things work right now, bizarrely enough.
            Being non-White is high-status. So everyone with a little bit of non-White wants to be non-White. See: Elizabeth Warren the Native American.

          • B says:

            The socialist, secular government, using tricks straight out of Margaret Sanger’s playbook, convinced some Ethiopian women to get Depo Provera. Obviously, the perfidy of the Joo is exposed. Never mind that I can walk around and see all kinds of Ethiopian Jews with lots of kids (mostly religious, but not all.) The main thing is the narrative, published by our socialist newspaper, that whitey is at it again. Since whitey is, in this case, a Jooo, you find this totally believable.

          • Peppermint says:

            I’m not concerned about it being overblown, because promoting the conspiracy theory that Jewish donors backing mass immigration here are just anti-White and actually support Jewish racial integrity in Israel like sane people is good for Whites. Get Whites thinking in non-universalist terms.

            But your attitude towards my conspiracy mongering. Are you to the left, or to the right, of notable Jewish intellectual and biochemistry professor Isaac Asimov? If to the right, don’t just dismiss it as a crazy Black conspiracy theory, because Asimov has quite a lead on you in terms of interpreting the Holocaust, and his Foundation books in which the three great races are somehow broadly preserved despite millennia of race being socially irrelevant except among evil stupid people is soon to be an HBO series. If to the right of Asimov, say that you wish it were true, like I say of the Holocaust.

            • jim says:

              Your question is unclear to me. How do you interpret Isaac Asimov’s position?

              Isaac Asimov was a progressive Jew, who hoped for the Jewish progressive future in which all humans are one, and there are no more Jews. I am pretty sure that would be a very bad outcome, though not as bad as no more whites.

    • peppermint says:

      Πιστεύω εἰς ἕνα Θεόν, Πατέρα, Παντοκράτορα, ποιητὴν οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς, ὁρατῶν τε πάντων καὶ ἀοράτων.

      Καὶ εἰς ἕνα Κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν, τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ τὸν μονογενῆ, τὸν ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς γεννηθέντα πρὸ πάντων τῶν αἰώνων·

      φῶς ἐκ φωτός, Θεὸν ἀληθινὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ ἀληθινοῦ, γεννηθέντα οὐ ποιηθέντα, ὁμοούσιον τῷ Πατρί, δι’ οὗ τὰ πάντα ἐγένετο.

      Τὸν δι’ ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους καὶ διὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν σωτηρίαν κατελθόντα ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν καὶ σαρκωθέντα

      ἐκ Πνεύματος Ἁγίου καὶ Μαρίας τῆς Παρθένου καὶ ἐνανθρωπήσαντα.

      Σταυρωθέντα τε ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἐπὶ Ποντίου Πιλάτου, καὶ παθόντα καὶ ταφέντα.

      Καὶ ἀναστάντα τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ κατὰ τὰς Γραφάς.

      Καὶ ἀνελθόντα εἰς τοὺς οὐρανοὺς καὶ καθεζόμενον ἐκ δεξιῶν τοῦ Πατρός.

      Καὶ πάλιν ἐρχόμενον μετὰ δόξης κρῖναι ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς, οὗ τῆς βασιλείας οὐκ ἔσται τέλος.

      Καὶ εἰς τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον, τὸ κύριον, τὸ ζῳοποιόν,

      τὸ ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς ἐκπορευόμενον,

      τὸ σὺν Πατρὶ καὶ Υἱῷ συμπροσκυνούμενον καὶ συνδοξαζόμενον,

      τὸ λαλῆσαν διὰ τῶν προφητῶν.

      Εἰς μίαν, Ἁγίαν, Καθολικὴν καὶ Ἀποστολικὴν Ἐκκλησίαν.

      Ὁμολογῶ ἓν βάπτισμα εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν.

      Προσδοκῶ ἀνάστασιν νεκρῶν.

      Καὶ ζωὴν τοῦ μέλλοντος αἰῶνος.

      Ἀμήν

    • B says:

      Not so. The Torah does not believe in any other gods and says specifically in multiple places that they don’t exist. The point of Dagon’s story was that he was just a statue. The point of the priests of Baal was that they were false priests, not priests of a lesser god. The point of Moshe’s encounter with the priests of Pharaoh and his staff eating their staffs was that their magic was trickery and illusion, while he had G-d performing a miracle for him.

      Thus, Psalm 135:

      The idols of the heathen [are] silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.

      They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not;

      They have ears, but they hear not; neither is there [any] breath in their mouths.

      They that make them are like unto them: [so is] every one that trusteth in them.

      Or Isaiah:

      They that make a graven image [are] all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they [are] their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed. Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image [that] is profitable for nothing? Behold, all his fellows shall be ashamed: and the workmen, they [are] of men: let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; [yet] they shall fear, [and] they shall be ashamed together.

      The smith with the tongs both worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with the strength of his arms: yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth: he drinketh no water, and is faint. The carpenter stretcheth out [his] rule; he marketh it out with a line; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compass, and maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man; that it may remain in the house. He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest: he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish [it]. Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth [it], and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth [it]; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto. He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth [himself], and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire: 17And the residue thereof he maketh a god, [even] his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth [it], and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou [art] my god.

      They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; [and] their hearts, that they cannot understand. And none considereth in his heart, neither [is there] knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten [it]: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree? He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, [Is there] not a lie in my right hand?

      See? The Torah thinks worshiping idols is stupid not because they are weaker gods than G-d, but because they are not gods at all but sticks and stones, childish make-believe, and those who make them know it, or at least should have the brains to know it.

      • Adolf the anti-White says:

        Historically, Hellenized Judaism and exile Judaism were henotheistic. Talmudic Judaism, not so much. Of course, Christianity came from Hellenized Judaism, and so is henotheistic.

        And saying that an idol is just dumb and useless gold or stone, or man-made, is not equivelant to saying the god does not exist. Idols (usually) represent gods. They are not gods themselves.

        >The point of Moshe’s encounter with the priests of Pharaoh and his staff eating their staffs was that their magic was trickery and illusion, while he had G-d performing a miracle for him.
        That seems to be a bit of a weird interpretation

        Exodus 7:11 (DRB) And Pharao called the wise men and the magicians; and they also by Egyptian enchantments and certain secrets, did in like manner. 12 And they every one cast down their rods, and they were turned into serpents: but Aaron’s rod devoured their rods.

        Notice that Aaron’s “rod” devoured their “rods”. Not serpent.

        You have a point about Elijah and the Prophets of Baal.

        Psa 82:1 (DRB) A psalm for Asaph. God hath stood in the congregation of gods: and being in the midst of them he judgeth gods.

        Psa 95:3 (DRB) For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

        Psa 135:5 (DRB) For I have known that the Lord is great, and our God is above all gods.

        • peppermint says:

          what’s the difference between acknowledging other gods as demons and not acknowledging other gods?

          By hilariously sticking to the former position and calling the latter position low church protestantism, you call St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Paul, and the biblical prophets low church protestants.

          • Adolf the anti-White says:

            >what’s the difference between acknowledging other gods as demons and not acknowledging other gods?
            How are demons different from gods? Both are powerful spiritual beings. Both are evil.

            Deuteronomy 32:17 (DRB) They sacrificed to devils and not to God: to gods whom they knew not: that were newly come up, whom their fathers worshipped not.

            And as I said, St. Paul and the prophets agreed with me.

          • Adolf the anti-White says:

            Also, look up the etymology of the word “demon”.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demon#Etymology
            >The Ancient Greek word δαίμων daimōn denotes a spirit or divine power, much like the Latin genius or numen.

            >http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daemon_%28classical_mythology%29
            >The words “dæmon” and “daimōn” are Latinized versions of the Greek “δαίμων” (“godlike power, fate, god”), a reference to the daemons of ancient Greek religion and mythology, as well as later Hellenistic religion and philosophy.

            • jim says:

              There is a lot of stuff in the Old and New Testaments, particularly the New Testament, that implies that the pagan Gods were real.

              There is also a lot of stuff in the Old and New Testaments that implies that the pagan Gods were only real to the extent that people believed in them, which is to say, not real in the sense your uncle Bob is real, because uncle Bob is real in the sense that he goes on having effect regardless of whether anyone believes in him or not.

          • Adolf the anti-White says:

            @Jim

            Pagans don’t necessarily believe all the gods exist. Once can believe Baal, and Thor exist, while denying the existence of Zeus and Krishna.

            So any specific instance of the Bible denying the existence of a specific god, does not mean no gods exist.

            There is also a question of what exactly a god/demon is. In the Old Testament, the concept of “spirit” and “mood” were quite blurry.

            What is the difference between a dark cave that puts people in a fearful mood because of it’s layout and color, and a dark cave inhabited by a demon of fear? Well, the dark cave can, to some extent, be established by empirical testing. But not entirely.

            When scientists confirm the medical effectiveness of some “magic herb” used by the local witch doctor, they don’t credit it to his spiritual powers. But when they find the “magic herb” has no medical effectiveness, they dismiss it as “useless superstition”. There is a double standard.

            Religion generally contains some empirical truth that we have difficulty testing. In days past, the magic herbs. In modern days, probably some aspects of psychology.

            It’s difficult for psychologists to establish the harmfulness of adults having sex with children. Probably because psychology is especially difficult to study in an empirical way.

            But I am confident that religion and human instinct understand psychology better than the psychologists. In many ways, at least.

            And then when we get to subjects that can’t really be studied empirically. Which are purely in the arena of religion, and not in the arena of empiricism at all.

          • peppermint says:

            The pagan gods can be spiritual entities, but they must have been created by God, and if they’re not angels that followed Satan and turned into demons, they’re some other kind of spiritual entity created by God that willfully lead men into rebellion.

            This is all pretty obvious from the worldview of St. Thomas Aquinas.

            You can’t put the pagan gods on the same level as God. God is the unique all-powerful Creator. You can only tear Yahweh down from that level and put him as the god of Mt. Sinai, at which point he can be on the same level as Zeus, who rules Mt. Olympus. We know what happened to the followers of Yahweh at the hands of the followers of Zeus and Jupiter.

            What happened?

            The monotheistic God met the virgin Greek mind and Christ was born.

            Presaging monotheism are Cicero and Plato. But Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher-king of Rome, was unable to check the decline. Perhaps Christianity, good enough for Constantine, is not good enough for us. Maybe we need to go back to stoicism, or forward to lesswrongism. One way or another, though, we need to figure out how to be virtuous again.

          • Adolf the anti-White says:

            >but they must have been created by God, and if they’re not angels that followed Satan and turned into demons, they’re some other kind of spiritual entity created by God that willfully lead men into rebellion.
            Yup.

            And this seems to be exactly what the OT, Jesus, Paul, the Church Fathers, and Aquinas believe.

      • Adolf the anti-White says:

        I’m not trying to get into a textual argument. But the idea that the gods are demons (fallen angels) is not a Christian construct.

        And the Torah sounds an awful lot like it acknowledges the existence of powerful spiritual beings and rituals outside of God. And if you read (Jewish) stuff like the Book of Enoch, you get something that is essentially like Christian beliefs about angels and demons.

        • B says:

          Well, to say Hellenized Judaism does X which the Greeks do but non-Hellenized Judaism doesn’t is to say that X is a foreign element to Judaism.

          The point Isaiah is making is that the idol represents something which does not exist, can’t do anything, is a stupid make-believe idea.

          The story of the rod needs to be taken in context. Look a bit higher, you’ll see that they came before the Pharaoh and cast the rod down and it turned into a serpent. Then Pharaoh calls in his magicians, who do the same. Then Aaron’s rod (which is presumably still a serpent) eats their rods (which are presumably still serpents.)

          The word which is being translated here as “gods” is “elohim,” which is used in Hebrew to mean, variously, “gods,” “highly placed individuals,” and G-d himself in the sense that He controls nature. The Psalms are, in this case, speaking of G-d as judging the cults of the nations. For instance, another Psalm says “ki kol elohei ha-amim elilim, v’Hashem shamaim asa,” meaning, “for all the gods of the nations are idols, but G-d made the heavens.”

          The existence of demons (shedim or mazikim) is something else. Lots of the Talmudic sages seem to think they exist (though of course not as gods (note they are referred to by a completely different name,) and not that you can or should worship them.) On the other hand, Maimonides said that they don’t exist unless you believe in their existence, meaning, they only exist subjectively. On the third hand, the Vilna Gaon differed with him harshly on this matter. But nobody says that these are gods or fallen angels, more like little goblins or the Russian domovoi.

          The Book of Enoch is gnostic apocrypha. Just like with the Hellinistic stuff, if gnostic Judaism and gnosticism have X and mainstream Judaism doesn’t, X is most likely not part of authentic Judaism and comes from gnosticism. When we see gnostic (Manichean) deities mentioned in aggada, like Rabba Bar Hanna talking about the time he saw Ormuzd, the stories are so wild that it is obvious they are parables, not intended to be taken literally at all.

          The larger point is that Judaism is monotheistic because it doesn’t see any other gods as real or objective realities, and sees any kind of compromise as inherently evil and leading to total destruction. This is why we lost our Temples and were exiled from our land-people would say, of course G-d is One and the source of all…but we can also reach him through a certain idol or cult, fast and easy, and hedge our bets. And it got to the point, logically, where they were sacrificing their children and eating mice to those idols.

          • Adolf the anti-White says:

            >Well, to say Hellenized Judaism does X which the Greeks do but non-Hellenized Judaism doesn’t is to say that X is a foreign element to Judaism.
            Depends on what the Jews did before Hellenized Judaism. Regardless, Hellenized Judaism is older than Talmudic Judaism, if less purely Jewish.

            The word for demon is “shêd” or less likely “śâ‛ı̂yr”? See the word “devils” in the two verses below. My Hebrew is not good, but some Jewish sites I checked agree that “shed” means “demon”.

            Deuteronomy 32:17 (DRB) They sacrificed to devils (shed) and not to God: to gods (elohim) whom they knew not: that were newly come up, whom their fathers worshipped not.

            Leviticus 17:7 (DRB) And they shall no more sacrifice their victims to devils, with whom they have committed fornication. It shall be an ordinance for ever to them and to their posterity.

            Is the word for demon “elohim”? It is used in a way that sounds a lot like “spirit” or “demon”. The Witch of Endor talks to Saul:

            1 Samuel 28:13 (DRB) And the king said to her: Fear not: what hast thou seen? and the woman said to Saul: I saw gods ascending out of the earth. 14 And he said to her: What form is he of? And she said: An old man cometh up, and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul understood that it was Samuel, and he bowed himself with his face to the ground, and adored.

            >The point Isaiah is making is that the idol represents something which does not exist, can’t do anything, is a stupid make-believe idea.
            Where do you see Isaiah say that the god behind the idol does not exist? That does not seem to be very clear.

            >The Book of Enoch is gnostic apocrypha.
            So who are the “sons of God” as referenced in Genesis 6 and the book of Job? Are they not angels? Are they not fallen?

            >The larger point is that Judaism is monotheistic because it doesn’t see any other gods as real or objective realities
            I don’t doubt that Talmudic Judaism is. And you think Talmudic Judaism is equivalent to the Hebrew religion around 600 BC. I don’t think it is, and from what I can tell, most historians agree with me. But those same historians generally don’t believe in Jesus’ resurrection, I suppose.

            >Look a bit higher, you’ll see that they came before the Pharaoh and cast the rod down and it turned into a serpent. Then Pharaoh calls in his magicians, who do the same.
            I am unclear on your interpretation of the text. Was their magic real? Or was it a David-Copperfield-type illusion?

          • B says:

            >Depends on what the Jews did before Hellenized Judaism. Regardless, Hellenized Judaism is older than Talmudic Judaism, if less purely Jewish.

            Not so. Rather, the Talmud (which just means “learning”) is the codification of a tradition going back all the way to Sinai (you can see references to an oral tradition in the Torah itself.) In other words, the Torah, for example, tells us to slaughter animals as we’ve been taught. There is no other place in the Torah where it gives any details, but we see that in the very first place that the way Jews document how animals are to be slaughtered, there is an extensive corpus of instruction, which is understood by the documenters to come all the way from Moshe in an unbroken chain of transmission. The Talmud is the first place that this tradition is written down (under duress-basically, they feared that due to Roman persecution, the knowledge would be lost as the rabbis and their yeshivas were killed or dispersed.) But the tradition itself goes back a long way.

            In Josephus, we see that he agrees that the rabbis were the bearers of an authentic tradition, and that the majority of the people agreed as well. See the etrog (citron) controversy. Now, this was a couple of centuries before the codification of the Talmud.

            >The word for demon is “shêd” or less likely “śâ‛ı̂yr”? See the word “devils” in the two verses below. My Hebrew is not good, but some Jewish sites I checked agree that “shed” means “demon”.

            “Shed” literally means “goat,” and figuratively means “demon.”

            >Leviticus 17:7 (DRB) And they shall no more sacrifice their victims to devils, with whom they have committed fornication. It shall be an ordinance for ever to them and to their posterity.

            “Victim” is “korban,” which literally means “sacrifice.”

            >Is the word for demon “elohim”? It is used in a way that sounds a lot like “spirit” or “demon”. The Witch of Endor talks to Saul:

            “Elohim” means “gods” or “G-d.” The episode with the witch of Endor is very strange and abnormal, and there are different opinions on it. One is that the witch was a fraud, and as she was about to do her typical magic, a miracle happened, similar (I guess) to how the Torah tells us that if a prophet arises and tells us to follow other gods or abrogates the Torah, any miracles or prophecies he may achieve are just G-d testing us, and we shouldn’t fear him and put him to death.

            >Where do you see Isaiah say that the god behind the idol does not exist? That does not seem to be very clear.

            Isaiah is saying, you took a tree you planted, chopped it into logs, took a log, used half of it to cook your dinner and carved an idol out of the other half and worship it. The whole thing is a fraud and a sham, and there’s a lie in your hand. What is the lie? Obviously, that the idol represents something real.

            >So who are the “sons of God” as referenced in Genesis 6 and the book of Job? Are they not angels? Are they not fallen?

            Who knows? First, there is ambiguity about the verbiage. They are not the “sons of G-d.” The tetragrammaton is not used here, for the obvious reason that G-d doesn’t have sons, any more than he has a minivan or a Playstation 4. The word “elohim” is used, and given the context, used in a way that it means “high ones,” some sort of highly placed men, probably. Second, there is an opinion that the entire first book of the Torah (Genesis) up until a certain point, is allegory, and even after that point parts of it are allegorical. Maimonides says that all the prophecies and appearances of angels etc. to prophets happened in visions and dreams, except for Moshe. The Sages of the Talmud disagree about who Job was and whether he existed at all, with some of them saying the whole book is a parable. The whole extensive catalog of fallen angels and all that stuff is gnostic/Christian in nature. Maimonides thinks “angels” are just forces of nature by which G-d acts on this world, meaning, abstract laws/principles governing events, in which case they obviously can’t “fall”-can gravity or evolution fall? Even in the more mainstream view, each angel has one specific function and no free will (that’s more or less verbatim from the Talmud, when they complain about why man got the Torah while they didn’t, and Moshe points out that they don’t need it, having no free will.) Can something with no free will rebel?

            >I am unclear on your interpretation of the text. Was their magic real? Or was it a David-Copperfield-type illusion?

            Who knows? If you believe in magic, then it must have been real. If you don’t, obviously an illusion. Maimonides holds of the second view, and I agree with him, with the reservation that it is possible that there are exceptions to the way the world works in my observation, and deeper rules underlying the observable and testable ones which themselves are not easily observable or testable.

          • Adolf the anti-White says:

            >Now, this was a couple of centuries before the codification of the Talmud.
            And about three centuries after the writing of the Septuagint. Hellenized Judaism is older, just admit it.

            >the Talmud (which just means “learning”) is the codification of a tradition going back all the way to Sinai (you can see references to an oral tradition in the Torah itself.)
            Obviously an oral Tradition exists. Obviously the Talmud has a lot of original oral Tradition in it. Obviously Hellenized Judaism has a lot of original oral Tradition in it.

            However, the the Hellenized Jewish oral Tradition more accurate, or the Talmud? That is the question to resolve. (and our Hellenized Jewish oral Tradition is difficult to document)

            >“Shed” literally means “goat,” and figuratively means “demon.”
            Are you sure you meant “Shed”? Not “Se’irim”? As I said, my Hebrew is weak.

            My knowledge of Jewish theological disagreements is limited, but it certainly seems like a significant number of Jews agree with me. If not you, or Maimonides.

            >http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/13523-shedim
            >Demons in the Bible.
            The demons mentioned in the Bible are of two classes, the “se’irim” and the “shedim.” The se’irim (“hairy beings”), to which the Israelites sacrificed in the open fields (Lev. xvii. 7; A. V. “devils”; R. V., incorrectly, “he-goats”), are satyr-like demons, described as dancing in the wilderness (Isa. xiii. 21, xxxiv. 14; compare Maimonides, “Moreh,” iii. 46; Vergil’s “Eclogues,” v. 73, “saltantes satyri”), and are identical with the jinn of the Arabian woods and deserts (see Wellhausen, l.c., and Smith, l.c.). To the same class belongs Azazel, the goat-like demon of the wilderness (Lev. xvi. 10 et seq.), probably the chief of the se’irim, and Lilith

            The Israelites also offered sacrifices to the shedim (Deut. xxxii. 17; Ps. cvi. 37). The name V04p515007.jpg (believed by Hoffmann, “Hiob,” 1891, to occur in Job v. 21), for a long time erroneously connected with “the Almighty” (V04p515008.jpg), denotes a storm-demon (from V04p515009.jpg, Isa. xiii. 6; A. V. “destruction”; compare Psxci. 6, V04p515010.jpg, “that stormeth about”; A. V. “that wasteth”). In Chaldean mythology the seven evil deities were known as “shedim,” storm-demons, represented in ox-like form

            >The whole thing is a fraud and a sham, and there’s a lie in your hand. What is the lie? Obviously, that the idol represents something real.
            That does not seem to be obvious to me. If someone made an image of God, would that represent something real? (I am fully aware both our religions prohibit that, and that it would be an inaccurate representation).

          • B says:

            >And about three centuries after the writing of the Septuagint. Hellenized Judaism is older, just admit it.

            The Septuagint was written under coercion from the Ptolemid ruler. I don’t believe Hellenized Judaism had any kind of independent existence, being a sort of transitional stage for many Jews living under Greek dominion between Judaism and assimilation. It was like Americanized Judaism-the fact that many Orthodox Jews like sushi and minivans doesn’t mean that there’s any kind of meaningful and lasting fusion between American religious concepts and those of Judaism. The fact that Maimonides wrote the Guide to the Perplexed in Arabic and dealt largely with Greek philosophy in it doesn’t mean there was a Greco-Arabic Judaism.

            >Obviously an oral Tradition exists. Obviously the Talmud has a lot of original oral Tradition in it. Obviously Hellenized Judaism has a lot of original oral Tradition in it.

            >However, the the Hellenized Jewish oral Tradition more accurate, or the Talmud? That is the question to resolve. (and our Hellenized Jewish oral Tradition is difficult to document)

            Since the Talmud is with us in practice and Hellenized Judaism went extinct quickly, if you assume (as I do) that the Torah is from G-d and true, and that it endures, it’s obvious that Hellenized Judaism departed from the Torah and the Talmud didn’t (in some very meaningful way.)

            >“Shed” literally means “goat,” and figuratively means “demon.”
            Are you sure you meant “Shed”? Not “Se’irim”? As I said, my Hebrew is weak.

            I think you are right. But I am not sure there was a major difference between the two. Maimonides doesn’t seem to see one worth discussing here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/gfp/gfp182.htm

            >My knowledge of Jewish theological disagreements is limited, but it certainly seems like a significant number of Jews agree with me.

            A significant number of Jews thought that demons had some sort of objective existence, as sort of supernatural evil animals, but not as gods. I think that a good analogy is a bear living in the woods behind your house, with which you can reach some sort of understanding based on you staying away from the woods and not leaving garbage around. This does not constitute worship of the bear.

            >That does not seem to be obvious to me. If someone made an image of God, would that represent something real? (I am fully aware both our religions prohibit that, and that it would be an inaccurate representation).

            Let me answer that indirectly: in the time of David and Isaiah, there was a Tabernacle and a Temple, respectively. And they were both undoubtedly familiar with the idea that something divine can be represented in this world in a specific set of physical objects. So when they say, you’re worshiping a stick which has eyes but can’t see, and has ears but can’t hear, and you yourself will become like that which you made, they mean that the object represents nothing real. Contrast with the Psalm that says that the wicked do evil saying that G-d does not see or hear, and asks, is it possible that he who gave sight is blind and he who gave hearing is deaf?

            They’re not saying that Baal and Ishtar exist but are weaker than G-d. They are saying, you’re worshiping nothingness.

  15. R7_Rocket says:

    To note, the Tokugawa Shogunate instituted isolationism and purged Japan of Christianity right about in the middle of The Thirty Years War that was ravaging Central Europe.

  16. Jaskologist says:

    Doesn’t Japan’s population collapse demonstrate precisely that their current Religio *isn’t* working?

    • jim says:

      Could be that after MacArthur, worked just fine to impose female emancipation, as before MacArthur, it imposed female subordination.

  17. josh says:

    Great, so you want to use symbols to evoke passions to manipulate the stupid populace. How is this any different from what exists now? Oh you’d be in charge. Well, now I feel better.

    A religion based on Truth is the only protection that poor people have from the rich and powerful.

    • Candide III says:

      Of course, no existing religion claims it’s based on Truth. What an idea! Never heard it before except in this godforsaken corner of teh internets.

  18. […] Religio. Related: The Puritanical political impulse. […]

  19. grumpy the grump says:

    @B and Adolf —

    I have to side with B here, not from deep textual learning but as a matter of basic unshakeable principles of Judaism. In addition we know that Jesus cast out malevolent spirits which recognized who He was, but He didn’t say they were lesser gods He said they were demons, malevolent spiritual beings whom Jesus forced to flee. When Jesus is tempted by Satan in the desert He refuses to worship him on the grounds that God alone is deserving of worship, viz. He recognizes that the devil is not a god and cannot be one.

  20. […] delivered a massive post on Religio, which covers both the necessity of established religion and approximately how to do it […]

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