Roundtable on Religion and the State: Can Pagans, Christians, and Atheists Get Along? 31

Attack the System
Roundtable on Religion and the State: Can Pagans, Christians, and Atheists Get Along?

August 3, 2014

pagan

ATS contributors discuss their spiritual and theological perspectives, and the relationship of these to history, ethics, and politics. Features conservative Christians Brock Bellerive and Todd Lewis, pagan Rodney Huber, and atheists Spencer Pearson and Keith Preston.

Topics include:

  • The unfortunate history of mutual persecution between Christians, pagans, and secularists.
  • The question of which religious or philosophical traditions have the most blood on their hands.
  • How political decentralization and cultural separation help to foster peaceful co-existence

File type: MP3
Length: 2:23:50
Bitrate: 32kb/s CBR

Download (right click, ‘save as’)

Email Keith:
kppgarv@mindspring.com

31 comments

  1. In the description list I would only recommend one change, a portion of my argument dealt with which tradition did the most good, or had the most saintly people, or comparing best to best; rather than the worst with the worst, which of course we did.

    • Yeah but “best” and “worse” kinda relies on us having an agreed idea of “good” and “evil”, so Christians are likely to think their team better since that team set the criteria for judgement. If we’d have applied Mongol or Aztec values, which we really should of because that would have been cool, then St Patrick probably wouldn’t have rated too high.

      • “Yeah but “best” and “worse” kinda relies on us having an agreed idea of “good” and “evil”,”

        Yes it does. And as Nietzsche said we all share a Christian morality. So unless you ditch it I am perfectly justified in appealing to it.

        • I think I kinda have Todd. I believe in strong fences, not good examples (so that’s a rejection of your golden rule). And I certainly don’t believe in turning the other the cheek. Fight for what you believe and may the better man win, do what thou wilt shall be…

          • “Fight for what you believe and may the better man win, do what thou wilt shall be…”

            You don’t believe that, if you did you would shoot a cop, fire bomb a tax center or don’t pay your income tax. You just talk and talk is cheap.

            You still have the Christian values of generally not attacking people for no reason, presumably keeping your word to a friend etc.

            You are surely no Nietzschian superman, and to the extent you are not you are influenced by Christianity. You really don’t believe in Nietzsche, you just pretend to.

            • Well, lacking Xian morality does not necessarily involve a lack of respect for the doctrine of superior firepower. But in my dealings with the state that’s all they got, if they suddenly decided that their moral claim was enough to dispense with the kind of heavy weaponry they favor and are all to ready to use (remember I saw what they did in Iraq first hand) I really wouldn’t be inclined to follow their commands.

              Sure, I see no reason to use force unless absolutely necessary, apart from anything else it is a crude tool. Sure I see the point of keeping one’s word. But that does not derive from Christianity, my pre-Xian forefathers would have readily agreed, more so perhaps. But I’d be quite willing to use force under the right circumstances, why wouldn’t I? My state does routinely.

              Not that I see myself as a Nietzschian superman, Britain is a post-Xian society and rejecting its morality is no more of a challenge than rejecting the morality of Zoroastrianism

          • You being the weaker party seek to craft a narrative that will make the state (the strong) look guilty and shameful, sounds like slave (oops, Christian) morality. You really are the classic example of the under-man. You speak of injustice, but Nietzsche said there is no such think as injustice, you seek to make the strong feel guilty and rally moral support against it.

            Clément Duval and Marius Jacob were anarchist bank robbers following the dictum of Max Stirner and Leon Czolgosz
            shot and killed a US president, what have cowards like you done? Oh nothing, oops I mean write seedy comments on blogs. Pathetic. Ditch your slave morality and then talk.

            ” do what thou wilt shall be…” Fine then rape someone. If it feels good do it. I’ve never heard someone justify rape with that dictum, but it ultimately leads that way.

            In short you are a sniveling under-man who hides under the mantle of Nietzsche, stop pretending and acknowledge yourself for who you really are.

  2. I have more of a historically materialist view of history. We don’t have slavery or human sacrifice within our own society now because industrial civilization has ameliorated the economic basis for it. Slavery was economically feasible until the time it was abolished, but it is no longer economically feasible. Instead we bomb other countries to steal their resources. I have no doubt that when we don’t all have hundreds of energy slaves working for us chattel slavery will return.

  3. This basic stupidity of this debate is that “Paganism” is a large and vague category, while Christianity is a specific religion. As it is used the term paganism appears to refer to everything from archaic European cults to the heights of Hellenism and Neo-Platonism, and as well to the stupid hippy religion a bunch of moderns made up out of whole cloth.

    Neo-Paganism is a modern new age religion, and aside from false claims to authenticity, it has no connection to any of the pre-Christian traditions usually referred to as paganism.

    Neo-pagans have more in common with Grateful Dead followers than any recognizable form of ancient Hellenism. They should neither be allowed to claim any of its achievements, nor blamed for any of its crimes.

    “Pagan” was of course a term of abuse, and none of the various groups modern Neo-pagans claim to emulate would ever have used it to refer to themselves.

    Perhaps the reason why both sides have such a bitter hate-on for each other is that Neo-Paganism and early Roman Christianity have so much in common:

    A degenerate gnosis made out of an incoherent mess of half understood foreign mythology, a taste for mystical theatrics and bizarre rituals that reek of cannibalism, a viscous strain of anti-Semitism, and lots of doomsday bullshit linked to a doctrine of human guilt and moral worthlessness.

    A social base drawn from the most diseased parts of the upper class of a decadent empire, fused together into a cultic milieu by a variety of psychotics, gurus, and cheap con artists.

    Of course the early Christians also had a Messianic faith and an army of fanatical martyrs.

    Neo-Pagans have a bullshit role playing game and a bunch of UFO convention neckbeard fatties with secret handshakes and fake swords.

    The most annoying part of modern Neo-paganism is the endless narrative of persecution by Christians.

    If Christianity was oppressing you idiots, the Inquisition would have burned down the new age bookstore and all the customers along with it. The air would be thick with the smell of burning neckbeards and the howls of fatties screaming from the torture chambers of the Inquisition.

    Made up bullshit does not entitle you to claim the persecution and suffering of others as your own, you stupid fat white first world assholes.

    On the other side, you Christians should maybe be a little more worried about salafist Sunni Islam than extinct forms of ancient polytheism and stupid new age bookstore social clubs.

    Last time I checked they were breaking your crosses, burning your churches, and beheading your brethren in the very nursery of the faith. It appears that the only forces between what is left of your brethren in Syria and the swords of ISIS are the Shiites and the Marxist YPD.

  4. Spencer’s point about this program turning into a debate over who has more blood on their hands was spot on. It seems like, even for ATS editors, the discussion of religious beliefs cannot be engaged dispassionately; rather, it appears to quickly devolve into a contest of legitimacy and revisionist history for all (or most) involved.

    In a way, though never really addressed substantively and directly, the character of the conversation in this podcast answers the question in the program’s title.

    Also, perhaps having so many participants is a bad idea. I know that even with three participants, it’s difficult to know when it’s one’s turn to speak.

    In any case, though, it’s good to see the podcast back, and thanks to everybody for participating. This is surely a difficult topic to discuss.

    • The program’s title was a post facto affair. The original context was a rebuttal of Greg Johnson’s hatchet job at Counter-Currents.

      “It seems like, even for ATS editors, the discussion of religious beliefs cannot be engaged dispassionately”

      To be honest I don’t see a lot of dispassionate discussion of the state at ATS either.

      Also there is nothing wrong with passion, I would assume that you are passionate for social justice and the aggression of the strong against the weak.

      • The one question that was material to ATS — the issue of tolerance in a post-state society that the gentleman representing the pagan perspective introduced — devolved into a litany of accusations and defenses. I dunno, I would have thought here at ATS we’d be beyond feeling the need to justify the millennia-old historical record of various religions or cultures. Does anybody judge today’s Christians by what Constantine did, or pagans by what Caesar did, or atheists by Richard Dawkins? It would be absurd.

        • ” It would be absurd.”

          Not necessarily. I mean that’s like saying lets not judge Fred for his past behavior. Whether Fred is trust worthy or not can only be know within a context of past behavior of Fred. I think we would all be justly sceptical of a person who was arguing for the creation of a Marxist state in the US, give the terror of the USSR, PRC and DPRK.

          “or atheists by Richard Dawkins”

          Judging a group by one person, I agree, is not the best; but if that group has a tendancy to produce Dawkin’s then we would have grounds to question the authenticity of that group. Surly your suspicion of the state and its defenders is borne out of your understanding of history and the state’s past actions.

          • With all due respect, Todd, you’re missing my point. What does any of this historicism have to do with the struggle against the empire? It seems empire can cloak itself in any ethos or creed.

            Although I expect I’m becoming the resident scold on rhetoric at ATS. 🙂

            • ” What does any of this historicism have to do with the struggle against the empire?”

              If you reread my very first and second articles on ATS you would see. Certain worldviews are not compatible with freedom. This is why historicism is important. If a world view is constantly unable to generate freedom, then it cannot be an ally in the war against tyranny.

              Do you doubt that Marxism leads to the most terrible tyrannies in human history? If not, then Marxists cannot be useful allies.

              ” It seems empire can cloak itself in any ethos or creed.”

              Some creeds fit better than others eugenics (Nazism) and materialist dialectic (Communism). Janists and Amish are rather poor allies of the Empire. I hope you are not saying that all worldviews are equally compatible with empire? If so, that is demonstrably untrue.

              “Although I expect I’m becoming the resident scold on rhetoric at ATS. :)”

              Yeah especially after Keith and the guy from C4SS argued for almost a week in the comment section.

              • I think I said in the podcast Todd that one of the major drivers of radical right (European) hostility towards Xianity is its tendency to leap into bed with whoever is in charge. I know from bitter personal experience that even at a very local level the “Church of England” is ever ready to get its hands dirty in political fights against those who challenge the Establishment and its orthodoxy. At the risk of upsetting Jeremy that one thing that has remained consistent among Xians since the time of Constantine. The only regimes ever opposed by Xians are those that explicitly oppose Xianity, otherwise they’ll sign that concordat.

                So if any world view appears inimical to “freedom”, by any definition, then Xianity appears to be it.

                • Yeah and atheism is always willing to jump in bed with power USSR, PRC, DRPK anybody?

                  The only thing consistent with atheism is that it loves genocide. USSR, China, the Republican French and North Korea. Atheists always loose this kind of game.

              • If you reread my very first and second articles on ATS you would see. Certain worldviews are not compatible with freedom.

                Believe me, I get this. But let’s acknowledge the argument for what it is: a criticism of an organizing principle of Attack the System, which should endeavor to stay neutral on such matters.

                And I think the core question of religious tolerance is one that deserves a frank discussion without what seems to me a pithy “he said, she said” feud over who’s got the best God. We don’t have to agree which religion is best if we can agree on the framework in which religion operates.

        • The take away is this, what people believes matters. With identical forms of government and military technology we can look at Tsar Nicholas II and Lenin. With a slight modification in technology Ivan the IV “Terrible” and Lenin. Who would you rather have? Beliefs matter, people’s commissars build gulags and Tsars don’t call me crazy, but I prefer the latter to the former.

          “I dunno, I would have thought here at ATS we’d be beyond feeling the need to justify the millennia-old historical record of various religions or cultures.”

          But you don’t do that you take millennia-old historical records of various states. Whats the difference?

          • “But you don’t do that you take millennia-old historical records of various states. Whats the difference?”

            The difference is that we do not believe that there is anything necessarily wrong with any religion or culture, since neither necessarily claims the right to our souls or persons. I mean some do (Islam) but they need not, the state on the other hand does. That’s pretty much its definition. So there can be, even in theory, no peace because the very idea of the none-consensual state is abhorrent and there is no other kind in the historical record or in theory.

            As for Nicholas II Vs Lenin Vs Ivan, all cunts. Sure Nicholas looks good by comparison but what kind of beauty contest is this? It’s not about the least worse option out of a selection of doomed nightmares it’s about making people responsible for their own destiny. That’s not utopian BS, it’s just common fairness.

            • ” all cunts.”

              And your not?

              ” It’s not about the least worse option out of a selection of doomed nightmares it’s about making people responsible for their own destiny.”

              Why are those always the words of terrorists, such as Nechayev, a real anarchist unlike yourself.

              “The difference is that we do not believe that there is anything necessarily wrong with any religion or culture, since neither necessarily claims the right to our souls or persons.”

              Then be prepared to fail. Obviously Marxism and Nazism and Islam are incompatible with anarchism since all three are aggressive and impose power on people and the first and the last do support world domination, yeah totally compatible with anarchism. It is historical fact that there are many groups of people, as they stand, are not able to be anarchists.

              “That’s not utopian BS, it’s just common fairness.”

              It just is utopian BS.

              “Sure Nicholas looks good by comparison but what kind of beauty contest is this?”

              Ummm. Yeah the point is that atheist’s are genocidal maniacs.

              You are just a nihilist afraid of being a nihilist. You have to invent some BS morality to make yourself feel better, just ditch your slave morality and grow up. Get out of the kiddy sandbox and be a real anarchist, but I know you won’t, because it is too risky. well the other option is to shut up.

              As usually you have nothing to offer, why don’t you actually learn something before you try to communicate. I don’t suffer fools lightly.

        • Its kinda a right wing mindset, you are responsible for the actions of your ancestors whether you consider them positive or negative. But hey Jeremy, there’s a lot of that going around; ask a German. Gotta check that privilege right?

          (I’m not taking the piss btw, just pointing out this isn’t just a right wing thing.)

          • Yeah, I’ve spent a lot of time in Germany and know just of what you speak. I just wonder if the secret to transcending the Westphalian status quo isn’t in somewhat dispensing of that baggage, or at least recognizing the malignancy of the statist admixture.

            But putting that aside: I think if religion is going to serve to divide the alliance against the empire, then let’s leave it alone for Pete’s sake.

      • Also there is nothing wrong with passion, I would assume that you are passionate for social justice and the aggression of the strong against the weak.

        My passion for those causes may come out amongst my allies, when we both already agree. It would serve to create a bond between us above and beyond the dry arguments. But it would serve me poorly in persuasive arguments with folks who don’t hold the values I hold.

        • “My passion for those causes may come out amongst my allies, when we both already agree. It would serve to create a bond between us above and beyond the dry arguments. But it would serve me poorly in persuasive arguments with folks who don’t hold the values I hold.”

          I don’t buy that, I mean in rhetoric pathos is seen as a valid tool of persuasion.

          Also, pointing to Nietzsche, I could easily say that we all share a basic sub-christian morality whether we know it or not, I was appealing to that sub-christian morality.

  5. Great discussion-thoroughly enjoyed, though I think the last round table guest comment, blurbled as it was, kind of nailed why the Pagan and atheist pan secessionists are totally bogus in their depiction of Christianity as a necessarily busy body and oppressive belief system, i.e. the difference between Christian teaching and mans application of that.

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