Atheists opposed to the regressive left have been grappling with a troubling existential question of late. This question is put best by Stefan Molyneux, whom I will paraphrase:
What if the choice isn’t between religion and atheism? What if the only really important choice we face is between Christianity and Islam?
Adam Piggott has summarised the quandary in The XYZ today, and concludes that atheists who care about the survival of Western civilisation must support Christianity. He has done this very well; to find holes in the arguments of Christopher Hitchens takes a sharp mind. Personally, I am leaning more and more to the same conclusions, but I waver on one key point. The following is my response to Adam Piggott:
I agree with the argument that intelligent right-wingers are just as liable to project their own intelligence and virtue onto others, as stupid Cultural Marxists are to project their own stupidity and degeneracy. Just as with Ayn Rand, Hitchens falls for the trap of assuming that everybody else, if left to their own devices, will thrive as well as him. The implications this has for the importance of heirarchy in society is huge, and I am being more and more conviced by this argument made by the alt right.
Likewise, the argument that Hitchens is a product of his environment; I still make Hitchens’ argument, that God is not necessary for morality, but I must acknowledge that I too am a product of a Christian upbringing, and when surrounded by fellow atheists who have been raised without the church, or in churches which were not as strict as my own, I can really tell.
Cultural Marxists have deliberately attacked Western civilisation’s foundations, and torn down the central pillars which ensured morality, without providing anything to replace it. This was absolutely deliberate, and was done because they themselves always have been immoral; they hate morality, because it exposes their own darkness. But this does not exclude the idea that morality can exist without God. Stefan Molyneux has written a book arguing the case for morality without God – until I have read it and absorbed it, I do not hold an argument which overcomes the flaws Adam Piggott reveals in Hitchens’ reasoning.
What stumps me when it comes to Cultural Christianity is the issue of faith.
Faith matters, because whenever Christians have held real faith, we have defeated Islam every time. Islamic armies are like the Pakistani cricket team – when they are on top, they are unstoppable, but a little bit of doubt and they fall apart. Faith for Christians works in a similar way; it makes all the difference between being led by Steve Waugh and being led by Ricky Ponting.
But as strong as the arguments are that Christianity is central to Western civilisation, and as determined as we are to preserve Christianity in order to preserve Western civilisation, I do not have faith. If I am going to set an example to others by attending church, that example could well be one of hypocrisy. Aside from not being able to look a Christian in the eye when I tell them I am only there because I think they need the extra numbers, and although I am sure they appreciate the sentiment somewhat, I am sure that Christians who hold genuine faith believe that they don’t really need my help.
I consider the story of Gideon to be one of the most compelling stories from the Old Testament. Faced with invasion by an overwhelming Midianite army, God whittled down Gideon’s army from over 30,000 to just 300 fanatically faithful men, so the Israelites would know it was God who gave them victory and not their own strength.
If Cultural Christians can help to inspire real faith, then it is worthwhile. But if people see through it, it cannot work.
Then again, the way I speak about it, you’d swear I really believe it, so maybe there is hope for me yet.