Wednesday, February 03, 2016

What Else You Got?

I finished reading In Search of Zarathustra. I really liked it, as perhaps you could tell from the number of things I read in it that gave rise to blog posts. (Although you'll see later this week that it's not always the case that only good books make me blog about them.) It's a well-written guide to ancient Near-Eastern and Middle-Eastern history and religions that gives wide berth to the line between travel-informed non-fiction and self-indulgent travel log.

Anyway, the final blog post based on my reading has to do with something Kriwaczek writes at the end. He's writing about how modern atheists have unwittingly glommed onto Zoroastrianism to explain their godless worldview. He writes, "It is as if those who have abandoned religion are left with a residue of concepts that must now be justified by other means" (Loc. 4397 of 4637). Which set my confirmation-bias sense a-tingling.

I've written before about the way in which godless society demands the performances of God come from the state. In this terrible human condition, I want some all-powerful entity who acknowledges my pains and sorrows, comforts me, and sets them right. When society believed in God, that was His job, but now that society has declared God to be dead, it must be the state that either performs these functions or uses its police power to require all citizens do this. This is why much of the Black Lives Matter rhetoric on American college campuses has to do with "acknowledging." The Mizzou protest was partially about the administration not acknowledging that minorities feel as if poop swastikas could really be made (even if there's no evidence that one actually was made). The Yale protest was partially about university faculty being insensitive to what it feels like to have aspects of your racial identity turned into Halloween costumes. The Oberlin College list of demands included ending the insensitive practice of serving low-quality sushi. (Seriously.)

Godlessness leads to totalitarianism because my need for cosmic compensation can only come from an all-powerful God or from an imposition on all of creation.

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