Among us now come many who have staked all of their hopes on a single tool to fix a complex situation, for example, religion. Many especially among our most learned and thoughtful believe that society must begin again with religion as the tool that makes this happen, but they would produce the worst of possible results, much as happened when Hitler treated race the same way: as a tool.
Our time is ruled by social popularity, democratic voting and consumer-based industry. We are accustomed to creating tools, whether physical or institutional, that shape people around us by forcing all of them through a filter. In this filter, they must either obey the dogma or face some kind of sanctions, although those seem only to fall on the good taxpayers and not those who make lives of crime.
The problem with tools is that they not only fail to contain meaning, or knowledge of goals (“ends”), but that they actively displace meaning. Your mind only has so much space of focus, and if all of the focus goes into methods (“means”) instead of ends, then the reasoning behind doing things is lost. This allows fools to compete with the wise by emulating them, and the audience cannot tell the difference.
Of those people who want religion to save the West — fundamentalists, evangelicals, some traditionalists and pentacostals — the analysis remains consistent because it has been so for the past two hundred years. They talk a good deal about morality, and how they will set an example, which turns out to mean they will go to their church, drop out of society at large, earn money and pay taxes.
In short, they will not fight the enemy, but will enrich themselves, and in the meantime, be the good stupid little sheep that any parasitic system needs. If you want to know why people are fleeing churches, it is that the Christian conservatives act like morons, and the rest of the flock is too busy trying to be hip, young and liberal so they can get some of those donations, but it never works for long.
People who are trying to use religion to save the West have made religion into a political organ. They want to use it like a tool to filter people and force us all to obey what becomes a de facto ideology. In other words, they make religion into liberalism by attempting to use it as a force against liberalism.
A more sensible vision, as offered on this site, is that we will not have a single over-arching theory as liberals do. Even conservatism itself has two general planks, time-proven methods and transcendental goals. Religion is part of this, possibly an inseparable part, but it is not the core. The core is a desire to be realistic and from that, to choose what is best for ourselves and recognize that the rest of humanity will not. That leads to something like our four pillars, varied methods shaped around the goal of excellence through realism and self-discipline.
In other words, our basic outlook has to be evolutionary. We rise because we target excellence, but most of the world will always be a human wasteland because most people are dishonest because they are solipsistic, in the eternal weakness of humankind. Our big brains become mental bubbles in which we live while life passes by outside, and we waste our time on garbage instead of making greatness of our days.
Every part of life demands greatness. Even the simplest acts of craftsmanship, agriculture and day-to-day leadership can be improved qualitatively as an infinite dimension. There is always room to be go further, but it is not through a change in methods, but through refinement of our understanding, self-discipline, aesthetics and other inner skills.
We do not know what the future holds for us, but it seems likely that there will be a rebirth of Western religion. This will occur through a desire to restore the West by finding reality, and will emerge from our focus on what is real, which includes religion but is not limited to it. Religion in fact can serve as a proxy, a game or a legal puzzle, for understanding this reality. The tool then becomes the master, and the master the slave.
This religion may even be a revitalized Christianity. Writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Paul Woodruff and T.S. Eliot have given us a vision of what that might be like, with Tolkien and Woodruff leading the pack. But more likely, the strength of Christianity — its communication through fable and laws — will be its downfall. In our new complex era, we need something more.
Another writer, Michel Houellebecq, expresses something else: admiration for Christianity, but recognition that its vitality has faded, and so it needs to be restarted and renewed, if not remade in our image. We do not need a Western religion; we need a religious Westernism, a belief in ourselves in our goodness that includes the will to find God in all things, but not through the tired manipulations of the flagging church.
It is likely that the Western religion will be like our original pagan faiths, unwritten and in fact, not formalized. It will not be used as a tool, where the religion is the means of changing our motivation, but will be discovered as part of daily life. The ancients might have said to us that they did not have religion, only an awareness of an order within the patterns of life, and that this transparency allowed them to avoid turning it into a dogma, an ideology and a tool.
Our original religion comes from nature and is based in the idea that nature reflects a more complex order than man, because man must fit into this order. We study patterns and from them, can make some conclusions which are firmer than any material objects in their prevalence in our lives. For example, we notice that life seems to strive for beauty, balance, harmony and purpose, always refining itself toward greater complexity which is a form of simplicity with many layers, not lots of unconnected detail in the modern “complex” way that is really ornamentation.
To the ancients, religion was inseparable from any other form of knowledge. They knew that the natural world was everything, but that it had layers which are not visible to the living, and it has spaces to which the non-living pass, but that these are battlegrounds not of good versus evil but order versus randomness, with evil being an agent of that randomness because it is moral selfishness, or hubris.
Their beliefs were logical and rigorously ordered, not symbolic as the Asiatic religions were, and they were not backward like the process of using religion as a political tool. Instead, they sought to put each thing in its place, and then improve everything qualitatively according to the order found in nature. This is a more mature faith than what we have now, and the only type of belief that can aid us in our task of restoration.