The scourge of Christianity

Friedrich Nietzsche taught us what the morality of the original founders of society was: “do what needs to be done, do not look back in regret, and do not waste time with feelings of guilt.”

The aristocrats Nietzsche described held raw and remorseless marching towards one’s goal as the highest virtue. This morality was reversed once the lower classes gained more intellectuals among their members – these devised new memes that competed with those of the existing elite. (Intellectuals were often desired as house-teachers by the Romans. This is how the Stoic and Epicurean philosophies spread to the Roman Empire.) Due to the altered memes, compassion and charity became virtuous, and by coming into contact with these new memes, the ruling classes were influenced and ultimately subjected to them. The morality of the lower classes subverted that of the elites – it now made the aristocrats feel guilty for trampling the meek underfoot.

Slave morality does not aim at exerting one’s will by strength but by careful subversion. It does not seek to transcend the masters, but to make them slaves as well. Since the powerful are few in number compared to the masses of the weak, the weak gain power by corrupting the strong into believing that the causes of slavery (viz., the will to power) are ‘evil’, as are the qualities they originally could not choose because of their weakness (Strength, Pride, Courage, Honour). By saying humility is voluntary, slave morality avoids admitting that their humility was in the beginning forced upon them by a master.

A good example of this is the rule “turn your enemy the other cheek”, as Jesus taught:

“Christians should pray for Osama bin Laden’s soul even though he was their enemy, as forgiveness is a key teaching in the Bible, a cardinal told an Italian daily in an interview out today.

“I have prayed for the soul of Osama Bin Laden. We have to pray for him just like we pray for the victims of September 11. It’s what Jesus teaches Christians,” French cardinal Albert Vanhoye, 87, told Il Messaggero daily.

“Jesus obliges us to forgive our enemies. The ‘Our Father’ that we recite every day says that. Does it not say ‘Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us’?” Vanhoye said.” Source: http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20110504/world/christians-should-pray-for-bin-laden-cardinal.363579 (accessed May fifth 2011)

For the Ancient Greeks, Romans, Norse and Samurai, if someone did something humiliating to you, you would do something equally harmful back. To restore the balance, so to speak, one would seek vengeance and it would not matter if you would risk your life. Honour was of greater importance than physical wellbeing. The aristocratic master is a natural master because he is naturally inclined to put his life on the line to save his prestige. The Spartans settled as a warrior tribe and subjected the local population into economic peasantry (helots).

If you know anything about (political) philosophy at all, you’ve probably heard of the social contract. It is a theory expounded by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jaques Rousseau. This all began with an artificial state of nature in which there were no laws or sovereigns. So, you were free to do anything. You could steal the crops of your neighbour and have sexual intercourse with his wife, should you desire so. Problem was that the same thing might as well happen to you. For this reason people came together and agreed that they would abandon their reach for the possessions and lives of others, so that their self-preservation was at least better guaranteed. Instead, this right to decide about life and death was entrusted to a sovereign, who would use this power to defend law and order.

According to Georg Hegel however, the state of nature did not end with the formation of a social contract where everyone was equal before the law. Instead, the social contract was little else than a master-slave relationship. The state of nature ended when two men, fighting one another to the death, had one yield rather than fight on. Weary from uplifting his sword, he sank to his knees as streams of blood across his chest mingled with the mud and rain. It was at this moment that he would rather submit to the other duellist than face death. It was here that he recognized his inferiority – his natural revulsion of agony and death. It was here that he recognized the true humanity of his master – because the master was able to fight, and die, for the sheer concept of upholding his dignity.

The slave was looked down upon, because he was too weak to resist when beaten. It was his natural fate to give in. Jesus however taught that turning the other cheek was not a worthless, but in fact a very noble thing to do. So the slave no longer lived in constant self-loathing because every time he received the lash, he was ashamed of his weak nature. Instead, submissiveness to humiliation became a moral virtue. After all, it is not hard to love one’s friend and to hate one’s enemy. But to love your enemy, that is true self-conquest and an impressive feat! Hence Christianity spread like wildfire, considering half the world population was subjected to Roman rule at the time. Slaves and women were the first to embrace Christianity. Soldiers and Emperors only later followed, when their wives and personnel had already converted.

Have you ever come across a girl, probably aged 16 to 20, who spent most of her time decorating a virtual house, watching soaps on television, and sending text messages to her peers? In this case, instead of working or studying or making herself useful in the household, she had stopped studying and worked one day per week in a clothing shop. When not busy with that, she was sending photos of herself to impress guys, while being unable to maintain a serious conversation with one. “Why does she exist?” one might wonder. “Why doesn’t anyone force her into productivity, or at least demands that she sets a goal of some sort and does something useful with her young life?” Why, instead, was she supported by welfare? It is because we have created a society that sees upon girls like these as ‘unfortunates’ and ‘unlucky-ones’. Not as usurpers who undermine the morale of our youth and who drain our economic power. This is what we inherited from Christianity.

A secondary important thing to notice is that, up until World War II, there was an important divide between Anglosaxon (mostly utilitarian) and Germanic philosophical schools of thought (with thinkers such as Hegel and Nietzsche). Due to the prevalence of utilitarianism, the decline of True Humanism was accelerated. Utilitarianism emphasizes that qualifications of behaviours are irrelevant when one could organize society in such a way that this behaviour would at least not cause tangible harm to thirds. Sinful was reinterpreted into harmful. 

The thinkers who developed utilitarianism came right after the Industrial Revolution and Enlightenment Age and they basically accepted the spirit of Christianity – the greatest benefit to the greatest mass of people, accepting self-sacrifice as a worthy thing when it was done to profit a greater number of others. At the time of the utilitarianists there was still plenty of discipline and inspiration around. They could not oversee that although personal improductivity, homosexuality, lack of cultural knowledge, lack of taste and lack of clear role-patterns produced no negative tangible effects on the short term, they would in the long run. This was because their society was at the peak of Western Greatness so the positive momentum was much too prevalent.

11 Comments

  1. James says:

    And here is the modern equivalent of turn the other cheek:

    “We’ve lost something of our soul here in this country,” Moore argued, by not trying bin Laden publicly. “Maybe I’m just an old-school American who believes in our judicial system,” Moore said (to much laughter from those who find him distasteful on the right, one must imagine), but “we’re better than them, we don’t just operate in an uncivilized way the way they did on 9/11.”

  2. Ben says:

    makes you wander, though, wouldn’t the slaves invent a religious to suite this need had christianity existed? – On that case, shouldn’t aristocracy have tools to negate such insurgancy? If not, what ways are there to develp such tools?

  3. Bruce Charlton says:

    Yes but what about the most devoutly Christian society of all time: the 800-1000 year Byzantine Empire? Slave mentality? Hardly – ringed by implacable, dangerous foes the Byzantine Greeks would not have survived a decade had they been so afflicted.

    Christian heresies and non-devout Christians may advocate submissiveness and such-like, but not the real thing (which is, admittedly, rare and exceptional by now).

    Makes you wonder, though, wouldn’t the slaves have invented a religion to suite this need had christianity existed? – On that case, shouldn’t aristocracy have tools to negate such insurgancy? If not, what ways are there to develp such tools?

    1. Makes you wonder, though, wouldn’t the slaves have invented a religion to suit this need had Christianity [not] existed?

      One point I think all who are dissenters of Christianity should remember: there is no exclusivity.

      All religions describe the same God and world; those of us who are monists tend to believe that any spiritual domain should exist by the same rules that we see manifested here. This means we don’t believe there’s cause to believe there is an entirely different world with entirely different rules. Of course, our quantum physicists believe that inside black holes, there may be “singularities” where no rules apply, or where matter and thought are conflatable. So we come full circle.

      Nietzsche’s most overlooked comment was his offhand observation that had Christianity not existed, it would have been invented. My contribution to this is the knowledge of Crowdism, which is to say that the slave-mentality develops naturally like entropy, and infests any and all ideologies by dumbing them down to the level of the individual ego using the group to defend its own inertia.

      For this reason, I think we should look toward Schopenhauer and Plato in our treatment of Christianity. There are excellent Christian thinkers like Meister Eckhart and Bruce Charlton who should become what we know of Christianity; there is also the Crowdist component which infests everything, including science. We cannot beat Crowdism by attempting to categorically legislate it out of existence. We need to instead treat it as a permanent and inner adversary to the human condition.

      Disclaimer: I haven’t read the original article to which you’re replying.

  4. “Disclaimer: I haven’t read the original article to which you’re replying.”

    –> But I hope that you WILL read it!

    “We cannot beat Crowdism by attempting to categorically legislate it out of existence. We need to instead treat it as a permanent and inner adversary to the human condition.”
    Amen to that! See: Our own special breed of pollen.

    1. But I hope that you WILL read it!

      Of course. It’s open in a Chrome tab now. I’m just slow (insert jokes here).

  5. John P says:

    It seems to me as though Nietzsche’s comment (that if Christianity did not exist, it would become necessary to invent it), says a lot more about how people behave in society than about Christianity specifically, or even about “slave morality.”

    While it’s clear that utilitarian thought is dominant in the US right now, people throw these concepts out the window when a symbolic enemy like Bin Laden is brought to “justice.” In general, people take from Christianity what they will, and forsake the rest. Whereas one prays in response to the death of a family member, one cheers in hearing that an infamous terrorist has been murdered.

    In this sense, the commonly taught dogma of Christianity is actually unpopular. The idea of good vs. evil that is prevalent in Western thought rather triumphs over “love thy neighbor” in most cases.

    What I believe that we must do is to not only adopt the strength and will of those who were able to exercise their power in order to achieve their goals (the Spartans, Samurai, Norse, Romans, Greeks etc.), but to also recognize the consequences of violating morality and agreements (with other nations or in general). Ultimately we must act in our best interest at all times, and not allow any sort of feelings to bring us down, whether they’re “guilt” or something else.

    Casting aside utilitarianism and egalitarianism doesn’t mean we adopt an “us versus them” attitude. We need to examine our steps from multiple angles (not simply “just vs unjust”), otherwise we will become victims of the “scourge” ourselves.

    1. I think, this is a very good post, and I agree with it a 100%.
      –> People take from ideologies and religions what they will, and discard the rest. Identities have become ‘collages’. With other words, one shops and puts things together. For instance, a person can be a lawyer and a Christian, while pursuing a nightlife as a free-roaming lesbian disc-jockey. Or being a leading academic while also identifying with a rough group of bikers, combined with freemasonry. They adhere to the parts of the moralities that suit them, and are selective. In the fifties-era, you could look at a person wearing a Christian cross, and know to expect some devout Catholic behaviour. Today you might as well be looking at a part-time prostitute. In that sense, people are complete hypocrites, always talking about how religious they are (social status buff +1, look at how special I am for adhering to this moral code), yet cheer for the death of their enemies.

      –> Spartans, Samurai, Norse, Romans and Greeks were Epic. At least, what we know about it from stories and myth, the way they depicted their heroes. They excercised power to achieve goals. On a personal level, we should do the same, while also acknowledging the effects of violating moral agreements. This means to think ahead, to foresee causality, and to keep the bigger picture in mind. We must not allow emotions to sway us from a path we know is best.

      –> Cheering for the death of Bin Laden, people gathered in the cities to cheer “U.S.A.!!! U.S.A.!!!” – well, I can say the same thing here as I said in the blog “racism and the sexual revolution”. This is a demonstration of patriotism that might guide people out of inertia, yet if this patriotism is only based on a general feeling of animosity towards what is “other”, and not on a thorough understanding of the creative forces at the root of our own civilization, it is pointless.

    2. It seems to me as though Nietzsche’s comment (that if Christianity did not exist, it would become necessary to invent it), says a lot more about how people behave in society than about Christianity specifically

      A very valid point. In my view, Crowdism is what happens when people decide they would rather have human notions prevail over reality than the other way around. They band together, define a false truth, and subject everyone else to it. (Crow’s upcoming writings on Understanding, and Bruce Charlton’s discourse on political correctness, are both good places to explore from here.)

      Crowdism infected Christianity, which is itself — historically speaking — an amalgam of Greek, Hindu and Euro-pagan thought. Many voices describe the same world, and at some level, what we try to do with religion is organize our thoughts so we can apply them effectively toward achieving the ends we desire. There are many Christians who never succumbed to Crowdism, such as Meister Eckhart, and we should remember Schopenhauer’s valid points about the benefits of a state of mental quietus that Christianity commands.

      While to my mind the Vedic tradition is the most coherent, there are many things I borrow from European paganism and European Christianity. The emphasis on chastity is more sensible than that in any other religion; the emphasis on righteousness dovetails with Plato’s notion that no detail can be overlooked, as evil is figurative more than material. I will never be a dualist, and will forever be a monist, but a deep reading of Christianity does not contradict that.

      Where Nicholas Marville’s article is most relevant to me is the attack on the liberalism inherent in all Crowdist ideas; too many Christians have taken up that banner. If I had one wish for Christianity, it would be that it expel the wretched Crowdist influence from itself before attempting charity in the world.

  6. Another example of “who art thou to judge?”

    This is from Santi Eadmundi, written by Abbo of Fleury in 985:

    “One night eight accursed thieves came to the venerable saint. They wanted to steal the treasures which men brought thither, and craftily figured out how they might enter. One struck the hasps with a hammer; one of them filed round about with a file; one also dug under the door with a spade; one of them with a ladder wanted to unlock the window; but they labored without result and fared poorly in that the saint miraculously bound them stiffly, each as he stood with his tools, so that none of them might succeed in the crime nor stir from there. They stood thusly until morning. Men were amazed at that, how the men hung, one on a ladder, one stooped to dig, and each firmly bound in his task. The thieves were then all brought to the bishop and he commanded that they hang them all on high gallows. But he was not mindful of how the merciful God commanded through his prophets the words which stand here: Eos qui ducuntur ad mortem eruere ne cesses, ‘Always redeem those who man condems to death.’ And the holy canons also forbid to the ordained, both bishops and priests, to judge concerning thieves, because it isn’t fitting for those who are chosen to the service of God to consent to any man’s death, especially if the criminals are Christians. After Bishop Theodred examined his book he repented grieviously that he had so cruelly passed judgement on those unhappy thieves, and lamented it always until the end of his life. He asked the people eagerly that they fast with him for three entire days, asking almighty God that He should have mercy upon him.”

  7. Ted Swanson says:

    Nice work. Slave Morality/Master Morality is when Nietzsche really “clicked” for me.

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