Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Progressivist Statism versus Belief in the True and Living God

I believe it was G. K. Chesterton who said that when people stop believing in God they do not believe in nothing; rather, they will believe in anything.

Ed West in his Daily Telegraph blog post entitled "When People Stop Believing in God they Start Believing in Big Government and Obamaism" comments on some recent studies that confirm what astute observers of modernity have been saying for a long time. He writes:
A new study has found that belief in a God may be inversely correlated to belief in Government.

A sense of political stability provides comforting reassurance that our world is orderly and controlled. So does belief in an all-powerful deity. This puts the two in a seesaw relationship: When one goes up, the other goes down.

Obviously people who live in chaotic and anarchic parts of the world and who subsequently live in squalor are more likely to be religious. And until a society reaches high levels of education and wealth religion is unlikely to lose its grip. However there is more to it than that . . .

He then describes the study, which you can read about by clicking here. He concludes by writing as follows:

In other words, people who do not believe in an all-powerful creator are more likely to believe that the state can move mountains.

There is an understandable tendency among atheists and agnostics to laugh at the beliefs of religious cultures, and this forms a large part of modern British snobbery towards the United States. But should they really be so smug? The Virgin Birth, the Resurrection and life after death cannot be proved nor disproved, but some of the commonly-held beliefs that flourish in England are demonstrably false. Take, for example, Gordon Brown’s pledge to “end child poverty by 2020”, which is a big topic at the moment with the current cuts; even if we were to use the traditional measurement of poverty, rather than the Labourite relative poverty, the state simply cannot end child poverty, because the primary cause of child poverty in rich countries is bad parenting, which the state cannot eliminate without truly totalitarian measures. Which is inevitably where all these unachievable goals lead them.

From Robespierre onwards people have believed that the state can perform any God-like function, something Jonah Goldberg, author of Liberal Fascism, calls statolatry – worship of the state.

Perhaps a belief in a supernatural deity acts as some form of vaccine for this destructive belief, which has caused untold misery from the Vendée to the Killing Fields. Roger Scruton speculated that people who believed in paradise in the next world were perhaps less likely to go along with schemes to create it here, and maybe there’s some truth in it.

The Guardian and the BBC have been keen to point to the religious beliefs of Tea Party activists. That is hardly surprising, considering the US is a religious country, and it does not change the secular nature of the movement; what is true is that Obamaism, the deification of the 2008 Democratic candidate by the European and American media, who they believed would heal the planet and end racial division, was a form of statolatry. And there’s no doubt which side of that debate was filled with sceptical rationalists and which one with credulous fools.

True religion is protection against fanaticism, irrationality and idolatrous cults which create chaos, bloodshed and tyranny. One cannot worship both God and Caesar.

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