Craft My Love, Craft My Cult
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PRAYER OF THE CHURCH OF THE SACRED HEART OF HARUHI-SAMA
by Brother KYON
Who should I pray to ?
What should I believe ?
TIME-WORLD CRISES AND THEIR COMMON ROOTS
Sometimes it seems as if there is no higher law in our present society than this very law of adaptation to the progress of production and technology : you should never let yourself get left behind. Unemployment, ecological disturbances, the spiralling arms race and the growth of poverty, are all increasingly seen as sacrifices which have to be accepted because there is really no other choice. And there, in my opinion, lies the root of the deep feelings of pessimism and doom in the hearts of so many. To put it in the words of Herman Kahn : “Thus the survival of the fittest may be replaced by the fitting of the survivors“. Or to quote Karl Löwith : “It is progress itself which now goes on progressively, and nobody has the power to stop it or to force it to go another way“.
But if that true, then what mystery is at work in our society ? …What is happening to western man in his present culture ?
A possible key to this strange mystery is offered to us in quite unexpected place, namely in one of the parables of Friedrich Nietzsche, the great nineteenth century German atheist. It occurs in his book Die fröliche Wissenschaft (The Joy of Science). One day, Nietzsche tells us, a lunatic goes to a village marketplace, holding a lantern, stands in the midst of the crows and shouts : “I am looking for God!” The people around him laugh at his lantern burning in the daylight, and at his words, saying “Have you lost him ? perhaps he is hiding, or is around the corner”. But then the madman becomes deeply serious, steps forward and says, “I will tell you what has happened to him. We have all killed him. We are the murderers of God, his blood is on our hands”. The people stand still and stare at him. But he goes on “How could we dot it ? Who gave us the power to kill him ? For that is an effort equal to removing the sun from the sky and wiping out the horizon”. And then he sighs, “But we did it. And that means that from now on we belong to a higher history, the history of the gods”.
Why have I reminded you of this stange parable ? Because, in my view, there is a real prophetic element in it. The atheist Nietzsche here reveals some of the enormous consequences when a civilization opts for the death of the living God. Let me try to explain what I mean.
If we look to the history of western civilization, we find not only in medieval and Reformation times, but also in the 16th and 17th centuries, a general awareness of the presence of a living God. Even in the age of Deism there is still that recognition, however vague it may be. Questions about the meaning of life, a morality for living, are not usually addressed and answered without a reference to God and to a divine judgment of history. But that changes radically in the time of the Enlightenment. The age of public paganism has come.
Of course, many people hold to their faith in God in private, and go to their respective churches. But science has learnt to deal with reality without God, and the Enlightenment philosophers speak and write about a new society, in which God no longer exists, and a new morality, founded exclusively in ma himself. God is removed from daily life, and led into captivity to die. Science and society do not need him any longer, they can do without him, and want to do without him.
But Nietzsche saw some of the final consequences of that attitude. For if God is declared dead, there is no longer a creation – there is just a universe. Nor is there any longer a God-given law in human life – only human rules. Life loses its original meaning, namely to love God and our fellow men. And this is what is expressed by Nietzsche in the words of that madman in the crowd. If we have killed God, then we have entered into the history of the gods. Now we can no longer escape our fate, the task of being God ourselves. We have to replace the old horizon which we have wiped out. A new horizon has to be created, a new meaning for mankind – for who can live without a meaning ? So we create it in terms of goals which we want to achieve. Then there is need not only of a new Alpha, but also of a new Omega. A new law has to be accepted. Being God means setting your own rules – for what society can live without rules ?
As well as a new meaning of life and new laws, a new concept of sin has to be created, if only to serve as a device to explain why life is still broken and ultimate dreams of a happy life are not fulfilled. But when there is sin, there is also the need, the utmost need, of a news incarnation, of a new saviour, or new saviours. If God is dead, a whole new religion has to be accepted. For who can live without meaning, without rules, without a horizon, without a saviour ?
The men and women who stand around the lunatic do not understand. And therefore the madman smashes his lantern with the artificial light in it – a poor substitute indeed for the light of the sun in the sky. But, he says : later on you will understand what you did when you killed God. And perhaps, in our day, we are now beginning to understand what the real consequences are. In a society in which God is not above, things or persons have to take up the role of being a saviour.And if things are chosen to play that role, they become idols. Idols are the incarnation of ideologies.
World Crises and their common roots, Bob Goudzwaard, Third Way, December 1985, p 11