Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Cultures have forever commemorated some form of sacred violence at their origins

Jesus and Jim Morrison, Doors and Ladders One Cosmos Under God Robert W. Godwin
Yesterday I made the only half-ironic comment that Christianity is not intended to be a religion, but the cure for religion. First, I don't want to get into a distracting debate over "which religion is best," so let us just say that this can be true of most any truly orthodox religion, properly understood and practiced. However, it is quite consciously and explicitly true of Christianity.
This was one of the central points in Gil Bailie's Violence Unveiled. It is not possible for me to do justice to the richness and depth of Bailie's argument (for one thing, it's been about a decade since I read it), but he draws out the anthropological implications of Christianity, demonstrating how it has shaped the Western mind and soul -- and the world -- and helped to mitigate the damaging effects of mankind's innate religiosity. To quote Bailie, "cultures have forever commemorated some form of sacred violence at their origins and considered it a sacred duty to reenact it in times of change." In fact,
"History is the relentless chronicle of violence that it is because when cultures fall apart they fall into violence, and when they revive themselves they do so violently. Primitive religion is the institution that remembers the reviving violence mythologically and ritually reenacts its spellbinding climax. Primitive religion grants one form of violence a moral monopoly, endowing it with enough power and prestige to preempt other forms of violence and restore order. The famous distinction between 'sacred' and 'profane' is born as the culture glorifies the decisive violence (sacred) that brought an episode of chaotic violence (profane) to an end and made warriors worshippers."However, "the logic of sacred violence is nowhere expressed more succintly nor repudiated more completely than in the New Testament," which "reproduces the myths and mechanisms of primitive religion only to explode them, reveal their perversities, and declare allegiance to the Victim of them."
Again, a full explanation of Bailie's ideas will have to await a later post. But looked at in this way, we can immediately understand how the clash between Christendom and Islam is not fundamentally a clash of religions, but a clash between primordial religion and the cure for it. Again, the primordial, default religion of mankind is human sacrifice, which the Islamists enact in the most transparent manner. The Palestinians, for example, glorify human sacrifice in away not seen since the Aztec.
But so too do supposedly "irreligious," secular people revert to mankind's default religion and worship sacred violence. This was obviously true of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, both of which ran on innocent human blood, on the mesmerizing spectacle of sacred violence. This is because it is not possible for human beings to not be religious. If you are not properly religious, then I guarantee that your mind has simply reverted to mythology.
For example, at this moment, sacred violence is being enacted by leftists in France. As David Horowitz has exhaustively chronicled, violence has always been central to the left. It is an inherently destructive and violent movement that either covertly or overtly worships violence. This explains everything from why they idealize monsters such as Arafat, Castro, and Hugo Chavez, to why they wear Che Guevara t-shirts. Here again, I don't want to dwell on something so obvious, but move on to my main point... posted by Gagdad Bob at 5/10/2007 07:34:00 AM 62 comments links to this post Thursday, May 10, 2007

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