Friday, 20 May 2016

Darkness Masquerading as Light

It seems to me that one of the principal responsibilities of any spiritually concerned person nowadays is to proclaim and bear witness to the destruction of truth and promotion of falsehood in the modern world. Of course, I don't mean that our main duty is not to attend to our own soul. Naturally it is and always will be. We can't be like those Pharisees who condemn others rather than purify themselves of pride and anger. But in terms of outer activity or teaching what is required is to point out like the prophets of old the desecration of truth and corruption of real values, often in the name of so called good which always turns out on closer examination to be a worldly good aimed at the advancement of happiness and curtailment of suffering of terrestrial man and woman, and which takes no account of, indeed actively denies, our true destiny in eternity. The world today chases and promotes the good of the lower self or earthly personality and this is often in direct opposition to the true good of the soul.

There is little doubt that this process is incited and abetted by that power known in Christianity as Satan, aided, unconsciously usually, by the selfish, rebellious, proud, foolish, indifferent and well meaning but naive among us. The world is being remade according to the concept of man as a being entirely of this world, formed exclusively of physical matter and with no deeper quality to his being. And this is not just a question of a natural development due to the superstitious nature of religious belief and the discoveries of science and rational philosophy. It is a deliberate perversion of truth which is being orchestrated by forces antipathetic to God and the good, the beautiful and the true. This statement, which might have seemed almost hysterical in the not too distant past, must surely make more and more sense to more and more people now as we see ideas which weren't even considered realistic on the fringes of society not too long ago become part of mainstream public opinion, with their rejection almost a matter for shame and disgrace.

All this was prophesied long ago so we need not be too surprised, even if the extent of the takeover and its relative speed are rather extraordinary. What can we do about it though? I'm inclined to say that we can do nothing other than, as I say above, try to point out the truth of the reality of God and not let that truth be hijacked (as it assuredly will be, as, in fact, it often is) by political considerations. If you ever see the name of God or the idea of spiritual truth being used to support contemporary fashionable opinion you can be pretty sure it is being used in the same way that the devil cites scripture; to advance his own ends.

We can do nothing because the process is too far advanced. But this is not a counsel of despair. God's kingdom is not of this world, and though that doesn't mean that this world is not important, it does mean that our true focus should be elsewhere. We can warn and try to stand as examples of truth but we should not allow ourselves to become attached to results or get despondent when these don't arrive and things carry on as they are or, indeed, get worse.

There is one thing to watch out for though. It is possible that as absurdity is piled on absurdity and distortion follows distortion as reality is remade according to the dictates of those with an anti-spiritual agenda there will be a reaction. After being pushed to one extreme humanity might suddenly react and rush to the other. That is when religious people need to be careful. They might be given what they want. How will they respond? With humility and restraint or with triumphalism born of relief or maybe something less forgivable? I am speculating but it is not unreasonable to suppose that the figure known as Antichrist might arise as a religious leader who appears to be saving us from the follies of the past, and will seem to offer us release into a golden age of heaven on earth. This will be the temptation for religious people. Heaven is not on this earth and it will not come about through charismatic leaders. Those on the religious right who feel that the liberal left is the focus of most of what I am saying here must look to themselves too. The devil plays for and against both sides and he can distort anything which he does by appealing to our desires and playing on our fears. As I was told 'the greater progress you make the more you will be assailed by evil in all its forms' and this also means the subtler will be your temptations. The only safeguards are humility, love of the true God (i.e. not attachment to an image of our own making) and spiritual discernment. So, if you feel that the world has lost its way, condemn yourself before you condemn anyone else. Focus on principles rather than individuals. And don't look for satisfaction in this world for it may be that those who receive that satisfaction 'have their reward'.


Bruce Charlton said...

@William - Fine piece, and the warning applies to me as much as anybody.

What makes our task especially difficult is the infiltration and corruption of mainstream 'Christianity' which has become *almost* 100% worldly. This week we have seen a massive public campaign of 'Christian' Aid - probably as much prominence as the word Christianity gets in the UK outside of Christmas - and yet just look at the nature of this organization (their self-description) with their roster of (as they boast) well paid staff and a CEO which they admit has a basic salary of 120K pounds plus...:

I hope this is not pointing out a mote in someone else's eye - but more that to regard this organization as Christian, amounts to a massive exercise in disinformation.

On the other hand, we both agree that even real Christians have some serious problems in terms of a way of thinking and philosophy of life that is very nearly as materialistic as the mainstream culture.

My feeling is that we need to encourage people to become Mere Christians then move onward almost straight away to striving for theosis, for a transformation of consciousness. That way becoming a Christian is not *wholly* a matter of joining a declining and oppressed social organization but has a wonderful and growing spiritual dimension quite apart from the worlds of politics, work and personal status.

That may be the positive destined task for those of us who are unaffiliated-but-serious Christians and have an extra possibility of freedom to be creatively exploratory.

William Wildblood said...

'My feeling is that we need to encourage people to become Mere Christians then move onward almost straight away to striving for theosis, for a transformation of consciousness.' That is what I believe too. An outer affiliation is not necessary and actually increasingly difficult nowadays if one would be faithful to inner truths. But an inner conversion certainly is required.

By the way, I'm not saying that we shouldn't condemn the falseness in the world just because we are not perfect ourselves. We absolutely should. Only that we should not allow that falseness to lead us into negativity ourselves which is hard (for me anyway!) but I see as the pitfall lying in wait for those who wish to align themselves with the right side in the spiritual war.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William - This matter of putting mortal; life into a broader context is something that tends to be misunderstood nowadays - at least I certainly used to misunderstand it. If anyone spoke about life after death or reincarnation I would interpret this as them saying that mortal life doesn't matter. And sometimes, some religious people have indeed spoken and behaved inthis way.

yet, in reality the opposite is usually the case; and *only* when this mortal life has a wider context can it be seen to have genuine meaning. Certainly, the people who really believe that Men are merely animals born for no reason and whose minds are extinguisged at physical death seem to have a hard time staving off despair - whereas those who really believe in Heaven and fully -expect to live beyond physical death (such as some of my Mormon friends) lead transfigured lives, very obviously much more happy and fulfilled uuring mortality.

I try to make people realize that there has been no 'discovery' that 'death is the end' - and (although the range of beliefs about what happens after death is extremely wide) among all of Mankind this is merely an eccentric belief of a tiny minority of recent Westerners.

William Wildblood said...

I certainly do think this life is important but mainly as regards its place in the greater scheme of things, not for itself or on its own terms. It's rather like the world. The world is a wonderful thing when seen as God's creation but when regarded as a lump of matter orbiting aimlessly round a cosmic bonfire, not so much. It's all a question of meaning and purpose.

If this life were so important in and for itself then the martyrs were idiots and the suffering of saints is a waste of time. Even the life of Christ was a failure. But the saints and martyrs, apart from elevating the world as a whole by their deeds and examples, were also transforming themselves so that they might be able to come closer to God in the hereafter.

William Wildblood said...

I'm not saying that this life should be about suffering. Just that if it comes then so be it. But personally I prefer happiness and joy!