Honoring Our Ancestors: The Path to the Spiritual Resurrection of the West

For a civilization to discard its religion is for it to commit suicide, yet for several complex reasons, this is exactly what the West has done. Christianity, in the adapted form of Catholicism, now has only a minor role in Western life, and has been replaced by the pseudo-religions of liberalism and consumerism. This state of affairs cannot continue indefinitely. The West is rotting away. Some would say that it is too late and nothing can now be done. That question is beyond my ability to answer. However, what I do know is that if the West is to have any hope of resurrection it is to be found in religion. But what religion?

The answer would seem to be Christianity. Why would we not return to the faith of our fathers, the faith that upheld our civilization for so many centuries? Indeed, it seems obvious, and anyone who opposed that would seem to be opposed to the West. But things are not always as they seem and the obvious answer is not always the right one.

It is most unfortunate that Christianity has caused so much conflict and destruction in the West. Jesus of Nazareth, whoever he was, and whatever his real teaching, certainly did not intend for this to be the case. And yet it is so. Could it ever be otherwise? I do not know, but if Christianity is to be restored to the place it once had, these conflicts must somehow be overcome. And to overcome them I believe Christianity must consider things and explore areas that in the past it either avoided or at least failed to resolve. Christianity is based upon certain assumptions that I believe are part of its own undoing, and with it the West, and for the sake of both, these assumptions must be thoroughly examined and seriously reconsidered.

Of all my objections to Christianity the most important is that, whatever its intent, it is insulting, or at the very least disrespectful to our ancestors. By insisting that the Hebrews were the chosen people, while the people of Europe were not, and that the Law of Moses is divinely inspired scripture, while the vast library of Europe’s sacred writings is not, Christianity essentially says that our ancestors were either devil worshippers, fools, or both. And although the Church may not officially express this idea it follows that if their religion was not valid and not worth preserving then the culture based upon their religion was not valid and not worth preserving. Not only is this insulting, but it’s also, to me at least, obviously false. The ancient Hebrews were clearly inferior to many of their contemporaries. The cultures and the religions of the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans were superior to that of the Hebrews. This is not to suggest that Hebrew religion and culture does not have value, only that there is no reason that non-Hebrews need to adopt any part of it, including its scriptures. The Christian belief in the chosen status of the Hebrews is not only contrary to reason, but more importantly it needlessly and painfully separates us from our ancestors. Does belief in the message of Christ or even the divinity of Christ require us to condemn our ancestors to hell, and to denigrate them by placing them below a foreign tribe? Cannot Christ and Moses be separated and Moses discarded?

The culture of Christianity itself, which in the form of Catholicism is also superior to that of the ancient Hebrews, and more importantly, more appropriate for Europe, does not resolve this problem. As Julius Evola explained, Catholicism has a composite character and what was (and perhaps still is) best about the Catholic tradition was drawn from Europe, and what was worst about the Catholic tradition was drawn from the Bible. Perhaps that is an overly harsh judgement, but Catholicism does have a composite character, and its scriptures should reflect that. The Protestant objection to Catholicism is that it is too pagan. The real problem is that it is not pagan enough. Within Catholicism the relationship between the Hebrew and pagan element is backwards. It is not merely that Plato is more important than Moses, it is that Plato is an essential part of the Western heritage, while Moses is superfluous.

The fact that Europe converted to Christianity (it would probably be more accurate to say that it was Christianized) does not prove or even suggest anything about the ultimate truth of the Christian religion. The only reason this issue is even being discussed is that Europe is no longer Christian. This is also true of places outside of Europe. Egypt was at one time Christian. Now it is mostly Muslim. Perhaps one day it will be something else. Things change. People make choices based on the information they have and on the circumstances in which they find themselves. With different information and under different circumstances they may have chosen otherwise. And sometimes they simply make mistakes.

The last pagan emperor of the Romans, Julian, one of my personal heroes, was in my view, fair and just in his treatment of Christianity. His objected strongly to the religion, and many of his objections are similar to my own, but he did not persecute the Christians, instead only restricting their influence, as he believed that was necessary to protect Hellenic culture. Yet the Church saw fit to label him “the Apostate” because he had been raised a Christian and in their view betrayed his faith. Were not all Christian converts themselves “apostates” from their traditional religions? Is that not hypocrisy? Julian did not outlaw the Christian religion, yet the later Christian emperors did outlaw the practice of paganism. Why? What justified that? Why did they see a conflict between the native faith of the Roman people and Christianity? How could they so arrogantly decide that the Hebrews had direct revelation from God in their scriptures, yet the pagans had nothing of comparable value? And more importantly, what is the Church’s position on these matters now? Has the Church learned anything from its many mistakes?

What would the Church do today if its power were to be restored? Could it be trusted? How can I, as a non-Christian, be expected to support or even take a neutral position toward the restoration of the Catholic Church? Although I would like to think that I would be willing to die for my beliefs, I have no desire to be a martyr. Yet, if the Church were to follow the example of earlier times, that is exactly what I would need to be, or I would need to lie. If the Church cannot tolerate at least some degree of religious pluralism, either in the form of other religions, or within Christianity, it would seem that I and others would have to become opponents, perhaps even enemies of Christianity. I have no desire to do that, but it is entirely understandable that many pagans take an oppositional attitude toward Christianity. Live and let live has not been an attitude that Christianity has traditionally taken towards other religions, or even different understandings of what Christianity is. The Church, when it has had power, has insisted that it alone knew the truth, and being a member and being obedient to the Church was not voluntary. Of course truth must be upheld, and error opposed, but the Church has at times applied that principle to lesser matters simply in order to protect its pride and, as in the case of the chosen status of the Hebrews, has simply been in the wrong. Non-Christians rightly recognize that a restored Catholic Church could very easily develop into a threat. To avoid conflict a middle path must be found between the postmodern relativism of today and the bigoted totalitarianism of Christianity at its worst. This middle path is the one of honoring the ancestors and reconnecting with our ancient traditions, the source of our identity. The Church, as the largest and most powerful traditional institution existing today, and the one that claims to offer salvation to the West, has the greatest responsibility to do this.

To this day the Church still does not recognize or at least does not acknowledge just how indebted it is to earlier pagan tradition. To many pagans it seems that the Church simply does not show the proper respect due to our ancestors and to our ancient traditions. It continues to be, as it has been for so very long, presumptuous. Christianity is a guest of the West, and there are many who feel that it has outstayed its welcome.

If Christians are bothered by pagan criticisms of Christianity, then Christianity must resolve its relationship to paganism. The old answers are just not good enough. It must judge its own past actions. It must correct its mistakes. If Christianity was justified in using coercion to “convert” Europe, then would not a pagan restoration likewise be justified in using coercion? And what would Christians do if there was such a restoration, with or without coercion? Would they convert, leave, fight? Could Christianity exist peacefully, and non-subversively, in that situation? Why should non-Christians view Christians as allies? I’m not suggesting they shouldn’t, I’m saying that Christians should not take it as a given, but rather that trust and support is something that must be earned. And insulting our ancestors by saying that our sacred writings and our gods were either demonic or illusory, even if only by implication, is not getting things off to a good start.

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Hotherus

The House Pagan

4 thoughts on “Honoring Our Ancestors: The Path to the Spiritual Resurrection of the West

  1. Here, here! Excellent piece of writing. I found your bit about Moses being of less worth than Plato especially keen – Slaughtering all the male Midianites and then taking their women and children as spoils of war is about as far from a moral standard-bearer as one can get in my book.

  2. Just briefly, the Church has regarded the pagan sages as wise, and as part of the “praeparatio Evangelica” (preparation for the Gospel) to flourish in the world. They are often quoted respectfully (though sometimes not), and whatever criticism they had for pagan mythology was nothing more serious or vitriolic than what Plato, Aristotle and the virtuous pagans said about it, themselves. The Tradition certainly regards it as providential – i.e., part of God’s will – that the Gospel should be written in the language of Plato and Aristotle, and should arise when the world was governed by Rome. There is no disrespect to our ancestors in the Church; the role of the Jews was not the only role.

    Speaking of, this whole “chosen people” thing is often blown out of proportion and misunderstood. The Tradition of the Church does not at all say that the Jews were chosen because they were the best people; if anything, the implication is strongly in the other direction. “Sicut spina rosam, genuit Judaea Mariam, ut vicium virtus operiret, gratia culpam” (“As the thornbush bears the rose, so did Jewry bear Mary, that virtue might cover over vice, and grace might cover guilt”). The Tradition of the Church regards them as a generally wretched and impious people, such that the Messiah’s birth from them is a sign of God’s power to overcome human contemptibility. The Jews were chosen for a purpose; God’s usual purpose when it comes to man? Strength made perfect in weakness; bringing good out of bad. “God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” If Jesus had been the Son of some great Roman general’s wife, or some Chinese sage, like the Buddha, what surprise would there be if He came to be influential? But how did the Son of a carpenter’s betrothed, from an insignificant and conquered people, become the central figure of world history?

  3. “The Church, when it has had power, has insisted that it alone knew the truth, and being a member and being obedient to the Church was not voluntary.” Of course it did, there cannot be a united society and civilisation without an objective truth, or metaphysic, that the religious order (oratores) upholds. If it is not the church, the Mosque or Temple will claim the exact same thing. Each is the foundation for their respective and unique forms of civilisation, each with their own insistent faith.

  4. Exoterically speaking what is left of pre-christian religions is to be found in Catholicism, which still living, is one hope for revival in the West. That said, is the withered body of Catholicism still living? Not in the sense of Medieval Christendom. The traditional civilisation of the Middle Ages aside, the esoteric aspect – through Aquinas and Dante – is what Guenon picked up on. I wrote in ‘Because My Heart is Pure’ that regardless of Pagan or Christian exoteric practices one should aim to live Tradition as by doing so you are acting as a conduit for an invisible spiritual force, which given time, will materialise at the coming of a new age.

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