Fear of a Post-Christian Planet

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  June 27, 2011 — 75 Comments

As I was putting together a roundup of stories for today, I noticed an ugly thread running through them all. A unifying ethos of fear, intolerance, ignorance, and hate towards any understanding or practice that fell outside a very narrow interpretation of Christian monotheism. Of a “Christian” America and a “Christian” West. They are all very different stories, but they all seem to be about enforcing an increasingly tenuous status quo, desperate sandbagging against a post-Christian ethos in the West.

“…a post-Christian world is one where Christianity is no longer the dominant civil religion, but one that has, gradually over extended periods of time, assumed values, culture, and worldviews that are not necessarily Christian (and further may not necessarily reflect any world religion’s standpoint). Generally, this can therefore mean the loss of Christianity’s monopoly, if not its followers, in otherwise Christian societies.”

This is no easy transition, and resistance to it takes many forms. From accusations of “gnosticism” towards the progressive Christian Wild Goose festival, to the clear cutting of forest on the San Francisco Peaks because the politicians, government officials, and business interests, don’t (or simply can’t) acknowledge the concept of sacred land. The push-back can be as simple as someone shoving hate literature through the door of Pagan-owned shops, or as horrifying as a brutal racially-motivated attack against a Native family, seemingly condoned by local police.

Johnny Bonta was knocked unconscious with a bat, his nose and sinus cavities broken and bleeding, with stab wounds on his neck. Lisa said Jacob Cassell taunted the family as the sirens approached, telling them, “You hear those cops coming? They’re not going to help you. My daddy is a cop in this town, and nothing is going to happen to me. You f***ing n*****s are going to jail.” When Lyon County Sheriff’s officers arrived, they took statements and began filling out police reports with Cassell and his friends, but they did not take statements from any of the victims. When Lisa asked why they were not being questioned for a statement, no one responded. “They ignored us,” she said, before she suffered a seizure and required medical attention.

Why? Because for an unjust social and political structure to remain standing it must forever patrol its boundaries and make sure all perceived threats (real or not) are dealt with. All possible areas of rebellion must be reminded that they are subservient to this order. As those who are most invested in seeing this order, this “Christian” civilization, sustained start to see total dominance slip through their fingers the more reactionary and fear-mongering their rhetoric becomes.

“This “freedom” will include much more than a perpetual pansexual pagan party. It will, and already does, include libel, slander, intimidation, corruption of youth, revolt in congregations, suppression of parental rights, revision of language, disease, loss of employment and loss of life. [...]  Have we already reached a tipping point where only catastrophe can bring renewal? The sages among us – those “haters” and “bigots” who keep trying to sound the alarm – need to stay focused and not lose hope. We must keep educating others that this is not a civil-rights issue, that we have not gained freedom, but instead are selling ourselves into bondage. Most of all, we must not give up the fight, because only God knows the outcome.”

I’m sure it will surprise none of you that the author of the above quote, Linda Harvey, has penned one anti-Pagan book, and contributed to another. Naturally all those who are victims of this rhetoric, this violence, are told that it will all stop once we do one simple thing. As a spokesperson for Texas governer Rick Perry’s upcoming faith-rally “The Response” said: “There’s acceptance and that there’s love and that there’s hope if people will seek out the living Christ.” That’s a very certain version of the “living Christ” as the “gnostic” attendees of the Wild Goose festival will tell you.

The future isn’t about dominance, but about coexistence. Many faiths and philosophies sitting at the table, instead of one (or two) faith groups telling everyone else what the agenda is. The numbers are shifting, generational plate tectonics slowly changing the old religious order. The near future will continue to be numerically dominated by Christian adherents, but they’ll soon lose their unified monopoly on social and political agendas. Alongside the accepted Christians-Catholics-Jews tri-faith understanding that emerged in the early 20th century will be the Hindus, Buddhists, Pagans, atheists, practitioners of indigenous religions, and yes, Muslims. To quote Leonard Cohen, democracy is coming.

Despite the violence and madness, I’m an optimist at heart. I believe we can find an accord. That there is a table big enough for all of us to sit at. That all voices can be heard and respected. Right now though, we’re living through the fear of a post-Christian planet.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • Valerie

    That attack on the Native family happened in my town. I never heard about it. But I’ll make sure everyone I know finds out about it. I’m disgusted and furious.

  • Ed the Pagan

    This is not just a trend, it is a movement picking up steam. It is the other side of the Aquarian conspiracy we are involved with. This has always been a darker side of the world view of increasing liberty and freedom, and was mostly kept in check. There is a answer to this, and we have been practicing it all along, and that is changing the conversation from never and no, to why not and can we? This has been what we have been all about, doing what we choose and demanding the equality of respect.

    This is why the desire to change away from a Pagan Umbrella at this time is shocking and difficult to see the rationale at this time. This is when people with even the thinnest common ground should be working to preserve our collective rights, not just our individual ones.

    In 1998 when this idea was brought to the forefront of the community it was considered Doomsinging, and was mocked by the Pagan Community. 13 years later, the trend continues, and now those who laughed are becoming concerned.

    I too am a optimist, and good work at compiling this.

  • Anonymous

    Judge a tree by its fruits. If the majority of the christian world reacts this way to the inevitable shift away from their institutionalized religion and back towards a polysphere of thinking, believing, and living (which is the natural state of this world)- then you are looking at the fruit that sprang from the core of the christian tree. It wasn’t a “good” tree once that went bad; this is the general behavior of christianity throughout history, and it has given this bitter fruit more than once. This is just the last crop.

    I don’t concern myself with those remarkable and extremely rare “good christians”, the existence of whom the apologists want us to believe somehow make the entirety of the christian tradition a “good” thing, or a boon to this world; it is not, and it was never a boon. Exceptions to its institutional behavior and to the usual kinds of people and thinking it produces can’t define christianity: the common product defines it. This is true for any institution or movement.

    • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

      Freysvinr? Don’t you mean Robin Artisson?

      • http://twitter.com/lysana Brenda Daverin

        Thank you for ensuring we recognize the voice of unreason despite his name change.

      • Anonymous

        Don’t hate!

      • Anonymous

        Don’t hate!

        • The_L

          So, it’s ok for you to hate people, but it’s not ok for people to hate you?

          • Anonymous

            I don’t hate anyone. My comment presents an extreme distaste for an ideology, not hatred for people.

      • http://rootandrock.blogspot.com Scylla

        Incidentally – and I don’t think it’s been stressed enough – this person is NOT the Author Robin Artisson. He’s stolen that man’s identity, very shamefully, to lend validity to his ranting. In doing so, he’s sullied the actual man.

    • hoperedefined

      How very ignorant and unjust of you. I see the mutual coexistence the original poster rightly talks about is going to be hard to achieve with views like that, no matter how you dress it up.

    • Iaraschamber

      Isn’t the point here not to judge a group of people by a few bad individuals…?? I think you missed the point and I think you’re just as bad as them judging us…or anyone who judges anyone

      • Anonymous

        I think the point I was making was “don’t judge a group by a few good individuals.”

    • Anonymous

      You know, I would hazard to suppose the majority of the world’s ills could be chocked up to a lack of respect for our surroundings.

      A lack of respect for the Planet leads to the pollution of rivers, the destruction of mountains and forests, and the introduction of smog to the atmosphere. A lack of respect for people leads to folks having to suffer poverty, hunger and sickness unnecessarily. A lack of respect for beliefs and ideologies–even those one does not agree with or hold as truth themselves–leads to demonization, and, if left to fester, murder and genocide.

      I have heard it said that “Christianity would be a wonderful religion if anyone ever chose to actually practise it.”

      Generally, if one looks at the bare elements of Christian doctrine–love one’s neighbour, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give your money to the poor, etc.–I have no real problem with Christianity (in fact, I would praise it). I simply have a problem with Christians who claim up and down that anyone who holds fast to a different mythology, no matter their general character, are doomed to Hellfire, who refuse to accept homosexuality, evolution (even in part), or alternate views in general, and who, if they had their way, would have such people, the “others” if you like, exiled or executed.

      But, in the end, they simply lack respect.

      • Anonymous

        You say “I simply have a problem with Christians who claim up and down that anyone who holds fast to a different mythology, no matter their general character…” But by saying this, you’re saying that you have a problem with the vast majority.

        • Anonymous

          And it is not just some strange accident that they are the majority. This is the view that is consistent with the doctrine. The ‘good Christians’ who are different are different because they reject, whether consciously or not, large portions of Christian dogma.

          • Anonymous

            People are quite unkind to me, owing perhaps as much to my personal limitations in communication style, as any political correctness that might infect the discourse. No one wants to see peace reign in the heart of man, and between his religions, more than me. However, we can’t get lost in wishful thinking or in denial of what reality is displaying for us, full hog, without distortion. We won’t get anywhere- and I do believe we can get somewhere- until we deal fairly with reality. We can’t just ignore these issues: christian ideology, which is one of the factors in this puzzle, will inhibit progress. It will be that way until we recognize the reality- without sweetening it up for the dozens of reasons we tend to do so- and then make real steps, in line with reality. And it goes without saying that the “other side”- the christian ideologues- will have some hard recognitions and changes to make. There’s no other way forward, and if they refuse to change, then we must again be brave and honest in admitting that they are part of the problem, not the solution.

          • Ananta Androscoggin

            One thing I cannot comprehend is the sheer number of Christian Apologists within the Pagan communities. It’s as if, unlike Stalin’s comment about capitalists, these so-called Pagans would happily pay for the rope to be used by the Christians to lynch their own Pagan communities.

        • Anonymous

          True, and indeed I do, but your post seemed to imply that there was absolutely no merit whatsoever in the Christian religion; when you speak of it in terms of “a tree that was never good” etc.

          Personally, I think Christianity, in its inception (before it was even called Christianity or followers of the late Yeshua began calling themselves Christians), was a good tree. It was only after the establishment of the Church, and after the formers of said church outlined all of the dogma we now associate with Christianity, that the tree began to decay.

          Again, I have no qualm with the message of Christianity, aside perhaps from the commandment to “go forth and convert” and whatnot, but I do think that it should put an end to this idea that they are the only path to Paradise, and that everyone who is not Christian is somehow in league with Satan.

          Of course, this will not happen because of the changes that have happened within the religion (and have been in place since at least the time of Constantine), so perhaps it truly will come down to some sort of violent struggle (Gods forbid). But, for my part, I shall try to respect others, until they wish me physical, emotional, or spiritual harm, because I think it is possible for people to be different in their ideas, and yet still respect those ideas enough to coëxist.

          • Anonymous

            The problem I have with your statement is that it falls into the historically inaccurate line of thinking which would have us believe that there was ever a “Christianity” without a church. That is not the case. The church has always been there. Christianity wasn’t a “good thing” before those evil churchmen and politicians “took it over”- they were there from the very beginning. They, and not some hellenized jewish prophet, created it. And when we talk about the truth or desirability of a religion, we have to make a distinction between organic and revealed religion- you talk about the positivity of christianity, but by the time you have a “religion” being invented by men writing books and preaching, you’ve already fallen very, very far from the peace, beauty, and natural truth of organic religions that don’t need scriptures and prophets. By the time you have a revealed religion- even a nice one- you’re already almost hopelessly distant from what humans really want, which is a direct connection to reality, to nature, to one another- a connection not filtered through what this writer said or through what this prophet said. I can tell you, with 100 percent certainty, that there are a lot of people out there who don’t know you, but who already wish you spiritual harm, because you are simply Pagan of some variety, and they have a blanket hate-on for all non-christians. You say you want to stay out of this until someone wishes you personal harm, but if you look at this more broadly, and systemically, the wishing is going on, and it includes you already- and it always did, going back 1700 years before your birth.

          • Anonymous

            “The problem I have with your statement is that it falls into the historically inaccurate line of thinking which would have us believe that there was ever a “Christianity” without a church. That is not the case. The church has always been there. Christianity wasn’t a “good thing” before those evil churchmen and politicians “took it over”- they were there from the very beginning.”

            True, but before 325 there were many churches, and not The Church, there were many alternative views to the orthodoxy of today (of course, with that statement one will ask which sect of today’s “orthodoxy” I mean–Catholic, Greek, Baptist, Lutheran, Latter Day, etc. Well, I’ll just lump them all together in the interest of brevity and be done with it). It still probably wasn’t the most ideal of conditions, but I imagine it was better when there were mystics in Christianity.

            I do agree that revealed religions, in general, are not as conducive to the needs of humanity (especially in regards to establishing its well-being), primarily because revealed religion is more concerned about its laws that were written in stone, and all that, than about appeasing the spiritual needs of its congregation, but I suppose that’s why I’m an Animist.

            “I can tell you, with 100 percent certainty, that there are a lot of people out there who don’t know you, but who already wish you spiritual harm, because you are simply Pagan of some variety, and they have a blanket hate-on for all non-christians. You say you want to stay out of this until someone wishes you personal harm, but if you look at this more broadly, and systemically, the wishing is going on, and it includes you already- and it always did, going back 1700 years before your birth.”

            Perhaps you are right–and in fact, it is quite probable–but I will simply laugh at their ignorance of me.

          • Mitch Mitchell

            Good points. From the beginning the Church created what they wanted in terms of religion. The Council of Nicea set doctrine, the Council of Trent threw out the gospels they didn’t like, King James translated the book to add his own spin, etc. It’s safe to say that many words have been placed in the prophet’s mouth that he didn’t say, and many more were left on the cutting-room floor.

            That being said, Gnostic and Esoteric Christians attempting to put the story straight(er) and get to the essence of Christ are in a completely different phylum than Evangelicals and Fundamentalists. I’m sure they wouldn’t want to be lumped together any more than adherents of Asatru would like to be lumped in with David Lane’s Temple of Wotan.

          • Anonymous

            “I can tell you, with 100 percent certainty, that there are a lot of people out there who don’t know you, but who already wish you spiritual harm, because you are simply Pagan of some variety, and they have a blanket hate-on for all non-christians. ”

            This does bring up the subject of Imprecatory Prayer. Its use is contentious even within evangelical Christianity (but like most things related to this particular sect of Christianity, an attack on Imprecatory Prayer results in a broad-spectrum defense of it from all corners of evangelicalism.)

          • Ananta Androscoggin

            I quite agree. I have come to refer to that as “Christianity sold it’s soul to Constantine for the sake of political power.”

          • Anonymous

            Mr_Willow: “I have no qualm with the message of Christianity, aside perhaps from the commandment to “go forth and convert” and whatnot, but I do think that it should put an end to this idea that they are the only path to Paradise, and that everyone who is not Christian is somehow in league with Satan.”

            What is the basis for thinking that these things are extrinsic, rather than intrinsic, to true Christianity? To be clear, by “these things” I mean:

            (1) “the commandment to ‘go forth and convert'” (the so-called “Great Commission” found in Matthew 28 and also found in the other Gospels and the Book of Acts, as well as in the apocryphal Acts of Thomas).

            (2) “this idea that they are the only path to paradise” (John 14:6 “None comes to the father except through me.”)

            (3) “and that everyone who is not Christian is somehow in league with Satan.” (Mark 16:15-16: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.”)

          • Anonymous

            I don’t think many modern (and mostly young) Pagans understand the important distinction between “extrinsic” and “intrinsic”. If they did, they’d have to backtrack quite a bit on their apologetics in defense of christianity.

          • Anonymous

            A valid observation.

            Perhaps my following paragraph should have begun: “Of course, this will not happen because of the nature of Christianity, and it will not loosen its grip on the masses because of the changes that have happened within the religion (and have been in place since at least the time of Constantine).”

            But I still think, to some degree anyway, that Christianity was a more respectable (and that might not be the right word) religion before Constantine’s conversion, because afterward all the different interpretations of the texts of the time were reduced to one.

            The Gnostics would have been a little bit more accepting of a different point of view, I think.

          • Anonymous

            Mr_Willow: “But I still think, to some degree anyway, that Christianity was a more respectable (and that might not be the right word) religion before Constantine’s conversion, because afterward all the different interpretations of the texts of the time were reduced to one.”

            There are two problems with this, in my opinion.

            First, the sequence of events provides evidence that Christianity corrupted the Roman state, not the other way around. Prior to Constantine, the Roman state allowed nearly (but perhaps not quite) perfect freedom of religion. Dozens, or possibly (depending on how one counts them) hundreds of religions existed side-by-side, and the primary function that the state played was to serve as a conduit for the dissemination of different religious ideas and practices from one end of the known world to the other. Indeed, this is precisely how early Christianity spread.

            Second, while there were different interpretations of the scriptures prior to Constantine, there were not many, if any, early Christian sects that abjured the claim, made by Jesus, to exclusive possession of “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Each sect claimed to be orthodox and denounced the others as heretics. That this is an intrinsic quality of Christianity itself is demonstrated by the fact that almost twelve centuries after Constantine the so-called “Protestant Reformation” witnessed a repeat of this spectacle of multiple competing sectoids, each claiming sole possession of truth, and declaring all the others to be not merely mistaken, but damned.

          • Anonymous

            To your first point I completely agree, and I’m honestly a little confused by it because I don’t think I was trying to argue the contrary. If it seemed that way I do apologise.

            To your second point, though–particularly: “while there were different interpretations of the scriptures prior to Constantine, there were not many, if any, early Christian sects that abjured the claim, made by Jesus, to exclusive possession of “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”–I can only counter with the view of some that interpreted Jesus as meaning that he was not special,

            “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” John 14:12

            that each of us are God, each of us contain God, and we only needed to wake up and realise it.

            “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” John 14:20

            That is my view of the subject, anyway.

      • Anonymous

        You say “I simply have a problem with Christians who claim up and down that anyone who holds fast to a different mythology, no matter their general character…” But by saying this, you’re saying that you have a problem with the vast majority.

    • Anonymous

      It makes me laugh a little that you use a parable from the Bible in condemning the christians.

  • http://www.thehighwayhermit.com James Bulls

    Anybody who says that the Christian Right isn’t as dangerous as Radical Islam needs to open their eyes.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not counting my post-Christian chickens just yet. Only one non-monotheistic religion registered above the margin of error, according to the data at the Pew website (link). Buddhists come in at 0.7%, while the margin of error is 0.6%.

    We will be post-Christian when multiple real alternatives to Christianity/Islam/Judaism (as opposed to atheism, agnosticism and nothing-in-particularism) are statistically significant (and have a significance of more than 0.1%). Until then we will still be living under the spiritual two-party system of Christianity (or something just like it) versus Nothing (“in particular”).

  • Anonymous

    I’m not counting my post-Christian chickens just yet. Only one non-monotheistic religion registered above the margin of error, according to the data at the Pew website (link). Buddhists come in at 0.7%, while the margin of error is 0.6%.

    We will be post-Christian when multiple real alternatives to Christianity/Islam/Judaism (as opposed to atheism, agnosticism and nothing-in-particularism) are statistically significant (and have a significance of more than 0.1%). Until then we will still be living under the spiritual two-party system of Christianity (or something just like it) versus Nothing (“in particular”).

    • Sunweaver

      They chose to lump and divide several non-monotheistic faiths in kind of a weird way. I’m wondering how many of the “Eclectic”/”own belief” respondents, UU respondents, or “others” are actually Pagan or Heathen, but cagey about saying it out loud to a stranger. It’s not easy to count Pagans and I’m willing to bet two shiny pennies that actual numbers are statistically significant. The ARIS report similarly lumps in Wicca, Paganism, and Druidry with Scientology, New Age, and Unitarian Universalists under the category of “New Religious Movements.” They don’t even mention Norse Heathenry. (I’m not really upset about the lack of mention of Hellenic Polytheists. You could probably fit the lot of us in a large classroom without violating fire codes.)
      It would be interesting to see a survey that focuses on Paganism, Heathenry, &tc. rather than lumping it all together and glossing it over. The lack of statistical significance may be due in part to a combination of survey methodology and a closeted culture. I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just having statistical thinky thoughts.

  • Anonymous

    There is a perfect word for what they are going through: Wangst.

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Wangst

    • Anonymous

      In some cases it’s more like “wankst”.

  • hoperedefined

    I struggle to see how this is a Christian planet now, so the idea of a post-Christian planet is irrelevant.

    It is a human planet. End of.

    Also, Christianity is still growing in areas away from its traditional base in Western Europe and North America – particularly so in China and South Korea. The Christianity of the future is likely to be very different because the concentration of Christians will be different.

  • Pagan Puff Pieces

    (If the atrocities of the past weren’t enough of a crisis to cause a tipping point, I don’t think anything could ever be)

    I suppose the real test would be to see how well modern Pagans and non-Christians exist without enemies. If we can accomplish that, then there’s little to fear, I think.

  • http://profiles.google.com/paganveg David Salisbury

    Very interesting things to think about

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    “Those attending the [Wild Goose] conference are young tattooed evangelicals, musicians with instruments slung over their shoulders, gay Christians of all stripes and seasoned members of the Christian Left, most carrying backpacks, water bottles and sleeping bags, according to National Catholic Reporter.”

    Tattoos!? Backpacks!? Circle the wagons; it’s — it’s The Sixties!

    • Pagan Puff Pieces

      WATER BOTTLES!

      As opposed to what, goat skins?

      • http://twitter.com/Mjausson Apel Mjausson

        As opposed to silver flasks with whatever type of alcohol the local Good Ol’ Boys favor.

        These lefty Christians are dangerous water-sipping, hemp-fiber-wearing hippies that will taint the water supply with Ecstasy and sing Taize songs around the camp fire instead of shooting anything that moves. And their women are vegans who breastfeed in public and don’t shave their legs. The horror, the horror!

        In case you wanted to know. ;-)

        • Moggie_cat

          Huh. Sounds like my local food co-op. :-)

  • Iaraschamber

    Forgive me for seeing a bright side to this obviously bleak subject…but I had never even heard of this “Wild Goose” festival before today and I must say, doesn’t this sound like perhaps a tiny step in the correct direction.

    Of course I understand it’s one step forward and 50 steps back, but hey I mean there is a whole FESTIVAL full of Christians who accept this movement! lol That sounds positive to me. I read their website, they accept anyone of any spirituality or sexuality…that’s very different for a Christian festival!

    Yea so a bunch of jack@$$es bashed on them, but when doesn’t that happen?! That means they’re doing something right and it’s getting to people! lol and yea I’m sure if a bunch of Pagans showed up we’d get a comment or two, but I bet it’d be a better experience overall than a normal Christian fest. Just saying…you know on the bright side.

    and on the darker side..I plan to facebook and tweet the articles on that poor Native American family (to make people aware and spread the word) and if there’s anything else we can do to help their cause I’d really like to!

  • http://badocelot.com badocelot

    The true believing fundamentalists are not really the problem here. The real problem is that their leaders are not true believers, but opportunistic scoundrels who’ll convince their followers that any sin is justified if it means victory over the forces of darkness.

    • RivaWitch

      You hit the nail on the head!

    • Anonymous

      badocelot: “The true believing fundamentalists are not really the problem here. The real problem is that their leaders are not true believers, but opportunistic scoundrels who’ll convince their followers that any sin is justified if it means victory over the forces of darkness.”

      If one studies the Christian holy scriptures, along with the writings of Irenaeus, Lactantius, Eusebius, Augustine, Ambrose, Savonarola, Luther, Calvin, and other true believers, you will find that the problem is not those who stray from Christian teachings, but rather those who take it most to heart.

      For example, the New Testament (including the Gospels), is full of religious intolerance (including antisemitism).

      • http://badocelot.com badocelot

        I see what you’re saying, but my point was that fundies tend to keep to themselves until whipped into a frenzy by their leaders. Like most radicals, they’d rather complain and then get on with their lives than actually do anything.

        I’d also like to correct what I said above. There are leaders who are true believing scoundrels, what social psychologist Robert Altemeyer calls “double-high” authoritarians: both social dominators and submissive followers. To exaggerate a little, they’re the sort who will tell a pious lie and believe it themselves.

        It seems clear to me that the majority of the fundamentalist leadership is made up of social dominators, but not all of them double-highs. That’s what I was trying to say. I apologize for the confusion.

        • Anonymous

          Now that I think of it, my opinion is actually that they are both: rank opportunists AND true believers. Those who fully embrace the Great Commission inevitably adopt a “by any means necessary” philosophy for its accomplishment.

          It is not really that they seek power just for power’s sake, or even for their own personal gain. But they do seek power no matter what it takes or costs, which often looks the same.

        • Anonymous

          You are talking about Altemeyer’s book The Authoritarians, which is an excellent read and extremely enlightening.

          (At the same time, reading it makes me bummed that I never got invited to play in the Global Game. That sounds like fun! =) Unless you get stuck with the group that has a pack of social dominators in it.)

          But yes, I highly recommmend this book to anyone trying to make sense of the directions that modern US culture and politics is going.

  • Charles Cosimano

    The future, like the past, will be about dominance. The only question is what is going to be dominant. Who is going to have the guns to force everyone else to accept their way of doing things?

    Right now the smart money is not on the Pagans. But in 64 AD the smart money was certainly not on the Christians.

  • Scott Wardzinski

    I once heard it said that “Fear is the last great weapon of a dying nation”. Those on the far right of the nation and Christianity are seeing their ways coming to an end as humankind grows and the conscience expands. Long gone are the days of the Beaver family and the Waltons, and love is finally being accept as love, and not as it was dictated to us what it should be. People are awakening to find that they live in the world and not just on it and are trying to save it and themselves. We are seeing the same complexities in the world as we see in a human body, the random happenstance that fits together in such a way to create life by the smallest of threads, and seeing that yes, the world is alive. And this is a bad thing to some, the problem is these few know how to make a big enough scene to gather attention and reported on 24/7 news networks until the fringe becomes the norm.

  • Pentaclewtch28

    Unfortunately I have a slightly pessimistic view. As long as there are hateful humans in the world there will be hateful acts. People don’t actually think for themselves anymore if they are told that it is bad by the TV, Radio, and any other media outlet…

    • Anonymous

      Be cautious that you don’t try to limit this issue to just some “hatefulness” that humans display. Humans don’t just spew hate for no reason. Humans have to be taught to do so, and taught how. And certain books and traditions do just that- they teach people how to hate and judge and disregard. And they do it while simultaneously claiming to teach people how to love. This is pernicious, and underhanded, and even largely unconscious on the parts of the religious persons that do it, but this is the hard reality. We cannot avoid criticizing creeds just because they are ancient, traditional, or religious.

  • Anonymous

    Using the angst of long-term social and economic changes and their upheaval abusively is tragic, but that’s what abusers do…because they can’t think of other ways to have or gain power other than to have power by hurting and disempowering others.

    As an artist, I recognize that when intellectualism, the arts, and civil rights flourish then entire cultures and nations can benefit, move forward, advance, thrive, bloom. The world benefits even.

    So cutting education and the arts while creating a hostile atmosphere of fear of upsetting “the” social order, with all the creedism/racism/heterosexism/sexism is just really dumb. It sells us all short. Abusively. The entire human race.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

    I’d prefer they go quietly, but as long as they go….

  • http://twitter.com/KulkulkanX Thomas Valdez

    Welcome to the Aeon of Horus, friends. The old ways of thought, in this case the dominant monotheism, are dying/changing, but a wounded beast is most dangerous. We have to be careful its death spasms do not take us out as well! Note well that I am not happy, necessary, that these ways die, but simply stating what we all see.
    The new ways of religion, like Thelema and so many of the Pagan movements leave us to walk our paths alone, and that is to many like our folks making us live on our own. It should be expected that there are those who would rather rail and struggle tha accept responsibility for themselves. Be careful out there, and keep your powder dry!

    • Ananta Androscoggin

      These are the people who brought the world Mutually Assured Destruction, and the flock of Rebiblicans who are campaigning for their party’s presidential nomination seem to be mostly the types who would see setting MAD off to be a good choice if they don’t get their way.

  • Alex Pendragon

    “Oh, you haters, lumping us good Christians with a “few bad seeds”…..Gebus am I getting so tired of hearing this. I am one of those ex-Catholics turned Wiccan who also personally knows a few (VERY few) Christians who actually behave like Christians, and would take a bullet for them, but complaining about pagans who have a problem with Christianity as a whole is denial incarnate. If we had withheld dealing with Nazi Germany for the sake of those few “Good Germans”, where in the hell do you think we’d be now? No, I’m sorry, but left to the devices of Bachman and Palin and their rebranding of the same old monotheistic madness, we pagans and adherents of ANY of the “wrong” faiths will not be given any mercy. They want us gone. Plain and simple. We stand in their way. It’s about power and politics and their God and Savior has always been the strange bedfellow they use to control the masses. So, you want us to know that you are a “genuine” Christian who doesn’t hate or brands us as Satanic? Fine. Wonderful. Then show us what you are really made of by actually raising your voices and moving against those who make you all look so bloodthirsty. Until you are willing to do that, pagans such as I will NEVER turn our backs on you. The wounds are to deep for that. “An it harm none, do what thou will”, does NOT deny me the right to defend myself, and I will.

    • Druidwood067

      We all do that despite what religion you follow. The bad people in said religion always makes the rest of the people look bad, dispite the good some of us try to do.

  • Git

    “The near future will continue to be numerically dominated by Christian adherents, but they’ll soon lose their unified monopoly on social and political agendas. ”

    I wish I could believe this, Jason, but when I see an increase, rather than a decrease, in Fundy politicians here in the US, I find this difficult to believe.

    • Rua Lupa

      Why not try having people of similar beliefs run instead of letting all the radicals get all the runnings?

      The two party system its self is a recipe for disaster. I’d like to see more parties in the USA so that there is more voices of reason, instead of people being to one of the two extremes.

      Anyone know of or want to start a Nature or Poly based party? Now that would something I’d want to see.

  • Rhoanna

    Surely you mean Protestants-Catholics-Jews, not Christians-Catholics-Jews. Catholics are Christians after all, even if some (very strange) Protestants think otherwise.

    • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

      You’re right, that is what I meant. I didn’t mean to imply that
      Catholics aren’t Christian.

  • Tom

    I am less than optimistic about a post-Christian future. I do not see Christianity’s dominance being replaced with robust religious pluralism, but with either laïcité and nihilism or merely a secularized version of Christianity’s theoretical framework, or perhaps both at once with each feeding the other. In other words, I see Nietzsche’s future.

    I am also concerned about how this future will confront the presence of Islam. Unlike Western Christianity, Islam is not moribund but full of vigor. If Europe is any indication, it does not look good.

    • Rua Lupa

      Yet you see and I’ve spoken with Islamic individuals who are more liberal in their perspective, belief and practices. The very fact that these people are fighting for rights and equal treatment for all in the east is an indication of great liberty and tolerance towards others of different faiths.

      • Anonymous

        Islam talks a good game about peace and equality while there in the minority. All you have to do is look to history for the truth of the matter. Bloody borders is an understatement.

        • Rua Lupa

          I’m not talking about Islam historically, I am talking about it in very current modern times of people who are living today and fighting for rights now.

          I know that this liberal way of thinking isn’t on every Muslim’s mind, yet the up coming generation seems to think differently on such matters compared to their forefathers.

          So in essence I am not talking about Islam, I am talking about the people.

          • Rua Lupa

            Beliefs either stagnate and die, or they evolve to the times and minds of the people of the current day. Many people of Islam are evolving a liberal set of values and beliefs, changing the way their religions are practiced.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, I think Europe 50 years from now will look dramatically different if they don’t better control the invasion of foreigners looking to take advantage of European social programs. All the hand-wringing and appeasement of Islamic fanatics isn’t going to do much for ensuring the survival of European culture.

      • Rua Lupa

        Control? Invasion? Sounds like outright war. So long as people are not hurting each other, why should anyone care?

        I don’t know of one culture that hasn’t remotely changed since the time of their conceivement.

        • Rua Lupa

          Doesn’t Europe itself have a long history of cultural changes?

  • http://dimortuisunt.wordpress.com/ Falselogic

    All I can say to the coming “post-christian” world is AMEN!

  • Druidwood067

    It was really a matter of time before this happened people will only tolerate things for so long this includes, religion, politics ,etc I sent this link to some of my Christian friends & they didn’t seemed to concerned about it. They too agreed that Christianity had seemed to run it’s course when it came to being in power for so long. When you think about it though they only have themselves to blame for the downfall. These days the media catches every little thing someone say & people eat it up.