Rather Than Bringing Greater Rationality, the Decline of Religion Paves the Way for Superstition and Worse

July 31 2017

Recent psychological research suggests that Americans unaffiliated with traditional religions are more likely to believe in UFOs, ghosts, and the like than their affiliated counterparts. This conclusion, writes David French, gives the lie to the “myth” that “if you defeat the forces of traditional Christianity . . . then you’ll make way for a more enlightened, rational, and humane nation and world. In other words, the alternative to religion is [considered to be] reason, and reason is mankind’s great liberating force.” French argues that the real alternative is something significantly worse:

In the United States we’re replacing an organized, systematic theology with . . . nothing. Sure, there’s the moralistic therapeutic deism of the modern “spiritual” American, but its “God wants me to be happy” ethos isn’t quite up to the challenge of dealing with real life. So, we search and search, and in the immortal worlds of the [country-music artist] Aaron Tippin, we learn the hard way that “you gotta stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything”—and “anything” can include indigo auras or the “vibration of a thought.” . . .

It turns out that when men and women shed their faith, they don’t necessarily get more liberal, but they do get more tribal and vicious. Many members of the alt-right, for example, famously shun Evangelical Christianity. Indeed, as we learn from the battle between [members of the hard left] and their right-wing counterparts—the emerging class of godless, angry populists—when you remove from your moral code any obligation to love your enemies, politics hardly improves. The damage extends far beyond politics, of course.

If there’s one abiding consequence of the shallow theologies and simple superstitions of our time, it’s the inability to endure or make sense of adversity. It’s a phenomenon that fractures families, fosters a sense of rage and injustice, and ultimately results in millions of Americans treating problems of the soul with mountains of pharmaceuticals. Human beings are hard-wired to search for meaning and purpose. As we conduct that search, will our nation and culture continue to value and to respect the [sort of] faith that grants hope of redemption, patience through present suffering, and a means to discern between good and evil? Or will it continue to shun [tradition] in favor of a grab-bag of ghosts, UFOs, and wishful thoughts?

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Read more at National Review

More about: Alt-Right, American Religion, Atheism, Religion & Holidays, Superstition

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror