Saturday 10 November 2018

Remembrance Sunday

We are at the time of year in Britain when a sense of sanctimoniousness becomes rather noticeable. The public display of virtue, particularly in the media, is very prominent. I am speaking of Remembrance Sunday to which the lead up, just like Christmas, seems to become longer every year. I may be wrong but I think that people only wore poppies on Remembrance Sunday itself at one time but they are now worn days, if not weeks, in advance as we all show how much we are against war and how much we support the brave soldiers who fought and died.

Do you detect a note of cynicism in my words?  Well, there is. It can't be helped. Now that we have chased the goodness of God from our lives we are left with a void that must be filled with something and we effectively fill it with ourselves. I mean that we congratulate ourselves on the nearest thing to spirituality we have left which is our supposed concern for others and our abhorrence of violence. That is all well and good but do we have to make such a display about it? The big public exhibition of virtue we make at this time of year is a pretty tawdry thing. Especially when in most other ways we celebrate the shallow and the hedonistic, and push aside the one thing that really takes humanity beyond war, that being a genuine spiritual awareness. I'm sure churches all over the country will echo with pious platitudes on Sunday but what do they really mean? How many people are really prepared to put aside their egotism and selfishness which are the principal causes of war? 

Of course, it is right to remember those who have died in a just cause but let us also remember that Christ did not approve of big displays of spirituality, and that is because he knew they were largely insincere. As he said:

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy
closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray
to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father
which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

It is all very well to be against war but war takes more than one form, and at the moment we are deep in a spiritual war and this one must be fought. It cannot be sidetracked and there is no chance of a truce. It is not fought with guns and bombs but it has its own weapons which are the spiritual qualities including love of truth. It needs courage just like ordinary war and there will be casualties too though, in this case, it is not physical death we need fear. So perhaps what we should really be remembering at this time is the first war, the War in Heaven, which is actually still going on and which, there is reason to believe, may currently be approaching some kind of climax. Let us make sure we are on the right side


Bruce Charlton said...

@William - I agree. In a general sense, since this is a mass media phenomenon; this fits with something I wrote in Addicted to Distraction: that everything-without-exception that is given heavy coverage by the mass media, always falls into one of four categories:

1. Good presented as bad
2. Bad presented as Good
3. Good presented as Good, but for a bad reason
4. Bad presented as bad for a bad reason

And Remembrance is the third category - Something Good in principle, but being celebrated for (overall) bad reasons and in harmful ways. And we need to be discerning enough to recognise that Remembrance celebrations are indeed bad, and do overall harm; simply due to the nature of modern public discourse.

We may not know exactly what bad things are being aimed-at; and we may not wish to spend the time trying to find out - but we can be 100% sure that the intent is evil; given what we know regarding the nature of the people involved in the whole business.

William Wildblood said...

That's a good analysis, Bruce. Sometimes we feel something is amiss with what is apparently good but can't identify what exactly it is. Remembrance Sunday has become a celebration of our own virtue with the dead used merely as a vehicle for that. It is a means for the spiritually empty to deny their spiritual emptiness. Not necessarily individually but publicly certainly.

Seijio Arakawa said...

This was the first year I did not wear a poppy at all. The decision was driven by having some mass-media virtue signaling around the event being pushed at me in a way that I don’t remember previously, and which I found rather insulting to the memory of the actual people who fought. Essentially, it has been long enough now and the World Wars are removed from people’s experience to an extent that the meaning can be substituted in the interest of present-day political objectives. Which defeats the point of an occasion one of whose stated purposes is to remember history for what it is rather than what we want it to be.

William Wildblood said...

Yes I don't think we are remembering the dead at all now. We are celebrating ourselves and our own moral superiority. Publicly at least that is so.