Monday, 4 May 2020

The Spiritual and the Worldly

In my last post I described leftism as the ape of spirituality. By this I meant that it is a degenerate, corrupted imitation of spirituality which seems to many people in the absence of any real spiritual understanding to be a moral thing. But it is actually profoundly immoral because it grounds itself in a denial of the very source of true morality which is God. You may say that some people on the left believe in God but they don't really, not the living God and Father of Creation. They believe in humanity first and foremost, that is their idol, and in fact I wonder if they actually even believe in humanity or just believe in believing in it.

The ideas behind what we call the left seemed to many people to come about for a good reason. There was injustice. There was cruelty. There were great classes of human beings who were treated badly. The attempt to address the problems was often well-motivated, even if motives were mixed with resentment and envy. However, the answers put forward were either completely bad or had enough bad in them to do harm, especially as time progressed and the seeds within them blossomed. That is because they were all founded on the fact of this world and that it is justified in itself instead of being simply a training ground for the next. Which should be obvious as everything here ends in death, the one inevitability of earthly life

Why has the left become so powerful? So powerful that it is now the air we breathe whatever our supposed political persuasion. It is because once religion in general and Christianity in particular have been destroyed people have no understanding of what is the good. They locate it in this world and see it as tending to the well-being and defeating the harm of individuals as they are in this world. Human beings wish to be good or, at least, be thought to be good. Leftism says, "I am good, I care". But what do you care about? Earthly things only. Traditional thought doesn't say that. It says, "Worship God and when you do that everything else falls into place". Its principle is that when first things are put first, secondary things proceed as they should but when secondary things are given primary consideration which is what the left does then not only will first things be lost but so eventually will the secondary things which replaced them because these cannot live unless sustained from above. Nothing has any reality except what it borrows from God. When this is not understood, we live in illusion and living in illusion sooner or later always leads to disaster.

It's the same on an individual level as a global one. You are a soul, a mind and a body. If you live as though the mind or the body were the primary thing, you will die. I don't mean physically. I mean spiritually which is the true death. If you live as though the soul were the primary thing, which is the case, then mind and body will be healthy or as healthy as they can be given your individual destiny which may require a certain amount of hardship and suffering. But your moral and spiritual state will be healthy and that is the foundation of everything else.

However, I do have a word of warning for people who think of themselves as religious. For many, their religion is really only a worldly thing, a formal thing. It is not based on the spiritual reality of God and the soul but on a materialised imitation of that. This is easy to tell when the spiritual and the worldly come into conflict. Which bows to which? Which has more meaning and reality to you, the hidden truths of God or those based on human interaction in the material world?

Another question is this. What is more important to you? The outer form of your religion or its inner truth? Its social and communitarian aspect or the unseen vital creative life rooted in transcendence? If you are not careful, religion can easily be co-opted by the world but you need to keep your religious instincts pure and you also need to engage the imagination as well as have faith or else the thing you direct your faith to will be a bland thing, unable to transform you spiritually which is what the religious path is really all about. It is the unimaginative who are most likely to have their religion corrupted by this world because they have not vivified it with the waters of life and done what is required to light from within what is often just a system of beliefs, essentially religious secularism such as is practised by many of the churches today.

God is a consuming fire, as Hebrews 12:29 has it. This fire destroys all that is not divine, and if ideas, sentiments and priorities that are not founded on the absoluteness of the divine exist within you then the God you worship is just a figment of your own imagination using that word in a different sense to that in which it is used above. (The difference being between imagination as creative inner vision and as mere image maker). Do you worship the living God or just your idea about him? Now is the time when that is being put to the test. The current sorting out of the sheep and the goats is not just a crude division between those who are religious and those who are not. It is subtler than that. It is between those who wish to live by eternal truths and those who, even if religious, are of the world. And here is a fact for consideration. If you do not reject the world, particularly at this time when it is more severed from its spiritual source than ever before, you are of the world.


Bruce Charlton said...

@William - Wise words.

But I quibble with the final phrase "reject the world". You don't really mean reject, do you? The world is surely vital, or else we would not have been placed here by God. Reject putting the world First, yes indeed - but people *also* need to know why we are alive here and now, and what we are supposed to do.

William Wildblood said...

But I do mean just that, Bruce. Reject the world. However by the world I mean the world as in the world, the flesh and the devil or as used in the phrase Satan is the prince of this world. So I don't mean creation but the world as worldliness. In John's 1st epistle chapter 2 verse 15 it says "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them." It's in that sense I mean reject the world. So not reject the created world but reject the worldly powers and priorities.

William Wildblood said...

So I think we agree really!

Pangloss said...

God created the heavens and the earth. The world is not the earth but rather a system on the earth, a system made by and run by this heavenly creature that fell from grace and wants to drag us all down with him.

William Wildblood said...

That's how I mean it in the post, yes. It's the system, the matrix, the illusion of life divorced from God and his creative purpose.

Faculty X said...

Good post. In scripture it's all spelled out clearly.

What was Christ's First Commandment?

A re-statement of the Old Testament from Deuteronomy 6:1-19:

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength."

Now the challenge is getting that first to happen; and second so people who claim to do so actually do so and don't make up a bunch of beliefs that in no way correspond to the Bible.

Chris said...

I would make the case that the origins of modernity can be traced back to the Renaissance period of Western Christendom. More specifically, it was the emergence of humanism that started the process that has led us to where we are today. The two defining features of humanism are individualism and secularism.

Recognizing that, should we be surprised, then, by the trajectory of modern history? Once those trends commenced, what could possibly have arrested or reversed the momentum?

William Wildblood said...

The insights of the Renaissance could have been incorporated into a spiritual vision, and I believe were meant to be, but instead they ousted that vision. People like Pico della Mirandola were Christian humanists but always with the emphasis
on Christian. That was increasingly lost which was our collective failure.

Chris said...

The Renaissance was incorporated into a spiritual vision producing the highest level of culture in history.

But, humanism has turned out to be something of a Frankenstein monster. Individualism arose from Christian theistic premises- a great dignity as Pico brilliantly expounded. Strangely though, with the advancement of individualism we have witnessed a steady secularization . They seem to go together like milk and cookies. The question is why? Why does a movement that has a fundamentally theological grounding end up denying itself? Lewis got it right, the Abolition of Man, indeed.

William Wildblood said...

Individualism became individualistic. That's the problem, that and the fact that the more humanity developed its mental side, the more it lost touch with the spiritual. Then there is the problem of what you might call the calcification of matter which took place as the age progressed and matter itself became more opaque to spirit. This wasn't inevitable but was not unlikely either.