Thursday, May 17, 2018
Paradox of how the More Spiritually Pure Protestant North became More Materialist than the More Idolatrous Catholic South that became More Materialistic — Roots of Protestant Productivity
Instead, Northern European Protestant nations made leaps & bounds and startling breakthroughs in Materialist science, technology, industry, and wealth that, for a time(and even to this day), left the Catholic South in the dust. It is also worth asking why the Catholic South, though less Materialist in their thinking, produced a culture that tended to be more Materialistic, meaning infatuated with material displays of wealth, privilege, and power: Glitter, luxury, and opulence.
Perhaps, the main divide between Catholicism(which retained much of the idolatry of Greco-Roman paganism) and Protestantism(which sought a purist and personal re-connection with core truths of Jesus) is in their respective reaction to ‘relicism’, iconography, and ‘idolism’(a restrained form of idolatry that, at least in theory, treats certain objects as symbols than literally sacred objects). In the pagan worldview, all things are imbued with spirits. In primitive animism, even rocks, trees, and streams are alive with strange powers and energies. So, it was common for primitive tribes to wear bear claws or lion fangs OR wrap themselves in snake skins or crocodile hide. The idea was that the ‘magical’ power of the fearsome beast would be transmitted to the warrior-hunter. This basic idea even continued in high civilizations like Hindu India and Taoist China. Hindus have an elaborate system of the meanings and significance of so many objects and animals. And many Chinese still believe that the some essence of rhinos, tigers, or bears will transfer to them by partaking, respectively, of their horns, penises, or paws. The Ancient Romans tore into an animal and examined its innards in a ritual to prophesy the future. To pagan Romans, the guts of a goat or sheep wasn’t just some gunky stuff. The innards held divine portents of future yet to be. And among the Vikings, there were sorcerers who portended the future by toying with a turtle shell and pieces of bones. Certain objects were deemed sacred... or evil.
Among the Chinese, there developed a ‘superstitious’ system of real-estate assessment and building-design. For good luck, housing plans could not violate Feng Shui. In the movie JEREMIAH JOHNSON, an American Indian tribe reacts vengefully upon discovering white folks trespassed over their sacred burial grounds. All such mindsets blend spirituality with materiality. Actual things and/or animals are said to be possessed of magical powers or cursed with diabolical forces. Therefore, one must be careful in one’s interaction with the world. You must treat sacred things accordingly and avoid(or attempt) to destroy evil things. In such a worldview, spirituality and Satanism aren’t merely matters of the soul but interwoven with certain tangible things all around us. This mentality could apply to humans as well. According to Judaism, one must reject idols and devote oneself to the one and only God who cannot be represented or manifested materially. And yet, Judaism connects God’s blessing with the Jewish pud(and now the Jewesses are trying to shift the neo-covenant from the Pudkin theory to a Pooterin one). So, the Jewish schlong isn’t just a fleshy appendage but an organ favored by God Himself. Thus, spirituality is combined with Jewish blood(and semen). And according to the story of Eden, all the world was a miracle imbued with the spirit of God, especially the Tree of Forbidden Knowledge. But Adam and Eve dared to listen to the Serpent and ate from the Sacred Tree. As punishment, God’s blessing was removed from the material world. Godliness no longer existed in tangible flesh and things but only as traces in the redemptive souls of man... though the one caveat was the Jewish pud, at least if properly circumcised by a Rabbi.
Christianity did away with the Jewish Pudkin Theology and went further in locating God’s essence in the soul than in any part of the flesh. To the extent that every individual has a soul that can choose either spirituality or satanism, the hope lay in the cleansing and redemption of one’s heart and mind. And yet, Christianity also combined spirituality with tangibility to the extent that God was manifested in the human form of His Son Jesus. Also, the ritual of baptism, apparently predating Christianity because, after all, John the Baptist was splashing people around before Jesus came to him. Thus, water, under certain circumstances, wasn’t just water but a soul-purifying agent.
If most great pagan civilizations believed in anything, it was monumentalism. Egyptians built massive pyramids. Babylonians also had their massive works of architecture, as did the Persians. Greeks had theirs too though on a less grandiose scale. Romans were famous builders. It was as if all these civilizations believed that massive structures weren’t only products of power but preservers of power. To live in the proximity of or, better yet, within the walls of architectural grandeur meant that your people were the most powerful. We see the Hollywood Egyptians in Cecil B. DeMille's TEN COMMANDMENTS erect one giant monument after another. Many of them served no useful purpose. Indeed, it’s difficult to think of anything more useless than Egyptian pyramids that required many thousands of workers over decades. All that tremendous amount of energy were exerted to build what were essentially nothing but tombs for dead kings. Whatever one may say of the Great Wall of China, it was built to fend off invaders. (To be sure, their purpose was also symbolic, as if to say, "On THIS side, there are the noble and civilized Chinese, and on THAT side, there are these useless barbarian hordes who must be kept out lest they contaminate our glorious civilization.") In contrast, Egyptian pyramids seem to us like vanity projects gone bonkers. And yet, they made sense to the Egyptian pharaohs and masses who built them because the kings were deemed to carry and transfer, generation after generation, the souls of eternal gods; therefore, the pyramids weren’t merely tombs of the dead but the sanctuaries of divine souls whose spirit and wisdom still governed Egypt in strange and wonderful ways. Egyptians valued pyramids as houses of god-souls like bees value the role of the queen bee within the hive.
Greeks weren’t as ostentatious as the Egyptians, but they too built huge temples to their gods, and both elite and ordinary Greeks offered sacrifices and made entreaties to them. At one time, Persia, with its awesome architecture, was regarded as the greatest and most powerful civilization on earth.
In a world where imperialism was the prevailing mode of power relations among all peoples, a civilization could not hope to rely on fixed boundaries. Boundaries were always shifting, like the line-of-scrimmage in football. So, your civilization could, one year, hold sway over huge swathes of territory, but then, a few years later, hold just one-third of the former size. Since a tribe or civilization couldn’t rely on boundaries for permanence, its best bet for displaying its might was to erect huge monuments and structures of stone, indeed ones so massive that it’d be difficult even for successful invading armies to tear down. I mean, who would want to spend a decade dismantling a pyramid? Also, the sheer magnificence of the structures may seduce the invaders into assimilating into the defeated culture. So, even as the native people may have been defeated, the invaders may, in turn, be culturally ‘defeated’ and won over by the magnificence on display. Instead of totally smashing the civilization, they may pay tribute to it and fall under its sway. Thus, Alexander the Great of Macedon, though conqueror of Egypt and Persia, respected and adopted some of their ways. Various non-Egyptians who invaded Egypt took on the roles of Pharaohs and kept much of the culture intact. Many Mongols were absorbed into Chinese civilization with its impressive structures. And even though Romans defeated the Greeks militarily, the Greeks conquered the Romans culturally. And even though the Germanic barbarians conquered Rome, their later kings aspired to be like the Roman Caesars and dreamed of creating their own Romes. And much of the Renaissance was inspired by the tangible artworks and architecture of the ancient pagans.
In more recent times, there was Ayn Rand’s zealous and quasi-mythological obsession with skyscrapers. And Adolf Hitler wanted German ‘Aryan’ might to be represented and secured by a massive building project in what would be the future city of Germania. And many developing nations became fixated with erecting taller and bigger buildings, not so much for utility or enterprise but as symbols of wealth, success, and relevance.
And Vladimir Putin’s Russia has embarked on a massive building project of new Russian Orthodox Churches. In the West, so as to flatter Negro ego that they are also great builders, at least in the realm of blinged-out fantasy, we’ve had the massive hype about Wakanda that is powered by ‘vibranium’. On that note, monumentalism has its uses and advantages.
But they also have their weaknesses and dangers. For one thing, many civilizations expended tremendous energies toward building things that had no practical value. While certain structures served as protective castles(the early brutalist architecture), fortresses, or walls, many were just white-elephant vanity projects. One wonders if the civilization would have done better to direct its energies toward more productive and useful endeavors. Also, the people of a civilization can develop an idolatrous faith in monumental grandeur, i.e. because they are surrounded by massive and mighty structures, they must be a powerful people. But as any sports team knows, having a gigantic hometown stadium doesn’t ensure victory. A university with modest buildings but with good professors and smart motivated students will do much better than a university with spectacular buildings but with bad professors and lazy-stupid-moronic students.
Too many peoples in history fell under idolatrous spell of monumentalism. Because Rome had awesome buildings, too many Romans got to feeling invincible. Because Chinese built palaces and monuments to symbolize China as the Middle Kingdom, the center of the universe, they grew overly complacent when faced with foreign enemies, especially in the early 19th century when the haughty and arrogant Manchu-Chinese felt they had little to worry from the West because, after all, the center of Chinese power in Peking was such a magnificent place, especially the Forbidden City. It was assumed that foreign devils would forever be forbidden from China, and the Chinese subjects would forever be forbidden from the Forbidden City. Such complacency proved to be fatal. It was also ironic because, after all, the Manchu dynasty on the throne was foreign in origin.
While monuments and awesome displays of power do signify some measure of power — after all, a totally useless society couldn’t build such things and have massive armies — , those who fixate on them overlook the deeper and more substantive sources of power. National Socialist Germany did have a sound basis of power in industry & technology, manpower & work ethic, and military & armaments. But Hitler overestimated German power because the massive displays of might at the rallies and marches created the mythic impression of German invincibility. Indeed, when we look at some of the footage of Nazi rallies, it makes us wonder how any force on earth could withstand German power. And when the initial battles proved to be in Germany’s favor, Hitler gambled everything on conquering Russia as well. While German power, like Ancient Roman power, was seriously real and far from illusory, it had its limits. But Hitler threw caution to the winds because, like so many pagans before him, he thought the gods had chosen him to be the man-of-destiny. Today, Russia puts on massive military parades bigger and more spectacular than anything in the US, but in fact, Russian economy is smaller than that of Italy and even Texas. North Korea puts on some of the biggest military parades annually, but its economy is 1/40th that of South Korea’s. The US spends many times more on its military and has many more jets and naval power than Russia. Also, given the immense depth of its economy, the US on war-footing could assemble a power 20x more powerful than that of Russia. Still, it would be foolish for the US to engage Russia on its home turf. Russia has sufficient manpower and immense natural resources to fend off most invasions. And despite US advantages, the American Public will not support anything like a invasive war on Russia that will surely lead to tons of US casualties as well.
Anyway, while monumentalism and spectacle-ism have their uses, one must never conflate the show with actual power. Body Builders and Professional Wrestlers are very good at showing off their muscles and acting tough, but virtually none of them is not a top-tier athlete in competitive sports. If anything, they tend to be rejects who failed at sports like football.
The reason as to why Northern Europe eventually surpassed and achieved so much more than Southern Europe(that got a head-start in civilization) has many explanations. Some might argue that the greater diversity due to invasive pressures made Southern Europe less cohesive and united. While Northern Europe also used to be overrun by invasions, civilized and barbarian, most of marauders were fellow light-skinned whites. So, Danes invading England and the English invading Ireland were all examples of all-in-the-family. Over time, such peoples could assimilate and become One people, hardly distinguishable from another unless one listened carefully to their accents. As such, most Northern Europeans remained remarkably similar in looks and temperament.
In contrast, Southern Europe wasn’t only invaded by other whites but, at times, by non-whites or Caucasian-non-Europeans(or the conquering Southern Europeans brought as slaves, merchants, or mercenaries non-whites from abroad). Much of the Balkans came under Ottoman rule. Turks ranged from whites to Semites to Central Asian folks. Much of Spain and parts of southern Italy once came under the domination of Moors, even some ghastly blackamoors who deigned to demand, "Where the white women at?" But even long before that, Greeks and Romans were constantly in contact with non-Europeans. Romans even imported slaves from Middle East and Africa. Some black Africans fought as gladiators and, as prized victors, even humped elite Roman women who had jungle fever. It is then not surprising that some Italians, especially in the South, look more like Arabs or North Africans than like Northern Europeans. And many swarthy Greeks look more like Turks or Arabs than light-skinned Europeans in England or Sweden. Given that Arabs and Africans may have lower IQ than Europeans, it meant race-mixing led to decreased intelligence among Southern Europeans. But even putting IQ aside, a people that have been invaded and inter-racially altered by invasions tend to lose a sense of unity of identity and purpose. This explains why multi-racial-caste societies like India and Latin America are so confused and messy. Many Mexicans don’t know if they’re white or indigenous. If Southern Europe got invaded at times by Arabs and Turks, Eastern Europe(especially Russia) was conquered by Mongols and other Asiatics. Even though Russian folks eventually regrouped and expelled the foreigners(and even conquered, in turn, their territories), the messy interaction with non-Europeans led to confused politics and history.
Things were even more problematic in Byzantine civilization that totally disintegrated and vanished from history. At the very least, Russia had a solid core Slavic population, culture, and territory. In contrast, Byzantine Empire was, from conception to demise, a patchwork mosaic of various ethnic groups that were united only by the cultural theme of Greco-Roman glory. But many of these peoples and their rulers were neither Roman nor Greek. An empire composed of peoples without a solid ethnic core, the politics degenerated into intrigues and led to dissipation. Much the same problem beset the Ottoman Empire where Turks dominated militarily but other groups dominated much else, especially in commerce. In contrast to all those empires beset with problems of Diversititis, Northern Europe was securer and more homogeneous, and it was more likely for a culture of conscience, trust, and honor to develop there. Anyway, historians and sociologists surely have many explanations as to the Great Divergence between the North and South in Europe, a phenomenon that has dogged Europe to this day.
Now, let’s consider another factor that may have led to the materialist rise of the North. The famous Max Weber argued that Protestant Work Ethic was a key factor in the industrial rise of the North. Protestantism may have also imbued Northerners with a clarity lacking among Catholics who became mired in monumentalism and idolatry. Because of the syncretism of paganism and Christianity, the Catholic-Southern tendency was to be overly impressed with things deemed miraculous, sacred, beautiful, and monumental. Such were not only aesthetically pleasing to the eyes but the very embodiment of greatness, awesomeness, power, and glory. It was the Building and the Bible, the Look and the Book. Vatican was filled with magnificent structures and huge collections of priceless art, therefore it must be the center of world power. The French became intoxicated with building wonderful things, like the palaces at Versailles. Surely a power housed in such architectural wonders had the blessing of God Himself. The Catholic immersion in rituals(involving various sacred objects) performed in grandiose buildings may have affected the way Catholics regarded political power and economics. After all, in Catholicism it wasn’t enough for you to have faith, no matter how sincere you were. To receive God’s grace, one had to go through an elaborate rigamarole of sacraments and rites. Relics might be involved too, and you believed in miracles manifesting themselves in the physical world, such as tears streaming down a Madonna statue or finding the face of Jesus on a morning toast. Such a mindset may have affected the Catholic conception of power and wealth as well. Thus, the Look of Power could have led to the overestimation of power. Style and facade could be mistaken for substance. In THE GODFATHER, neither Michael, Carlo, nor anyone else is particularly spiritual, but the baptism scene in the Church creates the impression of a culture steeped in religiosity, tradition, and morality. And yet, it is just an outer-shell that houses an emptiness and even elements of what some might call ‘satanism’.
This mentality also existed among aristocrats who, for the most part, preferred the Catholic realm to the Protestant one. After all, the Catholic penchant for pageantry complemented the aristocratic flair for ostentatious vanity. Excessive aesthetic narcissism was bound to be less approved in Protestant social orders where the prevailing cultural mode was to favor the spirit of the Book over the sparkling Look. And yet, aristocrats and quasi-aristocrats everywhere had a tendency toward fanciful displays of status and privilege. Talent and wealth were not enough. One had to have the right kind of look. So, the quasi-aristocrats of the American South were far more conscious of their looks, manners, and styles than the more buttoned-down bourgeois elites of the North. Because Southern elites were less restrained in displaying their wealth and privilege as a form of stagecraft, they could easily overestimate their power because they looked so good, especially in relation to the more utilitarian North. And yet, real power is a matter of substance and numbers, not style and aura. The fact is the North had many more people and a far bigger industrial base. Also, most of the new manpower in the form of European immigrants were entering the North. Imagine two sports teams. One not only has a powerful lineup but great depth in reserve players who can take over when the starters are exhausted. But their uniforms are plain, and they do NOT LOOK very impressive. In contrast, the other team has a solid starting line up but no depth in reserve players. But they are dressed in flashy uniforms that make them look so amazing. Now, which team will likely win? Despite marketing hype, wearing Air Jordans doesn't make you a Michael Jordan. It is indeed telling that, over the years, military uniforms got less & less ornamental and more & more utilitarian until the modern soldiers were dressed and fitted only with practicality & efficiency as considerations. But for much of human history, there was great emphasis on the LOOK of power. Were those plumes on top of Greek and Roman helmets really useful? Did wearing feathered-wings serve any real purpose among the Polish Hussars on horseback?
It’s telling that, even up to World War I, German soldiers still had spikes on their helmets. But then, World War I was the last great war of the aristocrats, indeed the great war that brought down all aristocratic orders.
Anyway, a Catholic is more likely to be impressed by the looks of things because his religious practice combined spirituality and materiality, i.e. certain things, big or small, are thought to glow with the aura of power and magic. So, if a Cathedral is to be built, immense amounts of energy and wealth must be devoted to make it look as good as possible. And it wasn’t enough to be rich. One had to show off one’s wealth in ostentatious display, like with those haciendas in Latin America. Quite often, a richer Protestant German or Anglo-American might live in a house that was more modest than the giant mansion of a Catholic oligarch in Spain or Latin America(or, for that matter, a Russian aristocratic prior to the Bolshevik Revolution). To the naked eye, it could easily appear as thought the Latin or Russian guy is richer and more powerful than the German or Anglo guys, but that is seeing the suit than the wallet. Both Catholicism and Russian Orthodox encouraged a mental habit that favored Look-keeping than Book-keeping. Consider the ridiculous figures of Evita Peron and Imelda Marcos who were more obsessed with national image than national industry. But among Latinos, it wasn’t just the women but the men too.
In more recent times, Vladimir Putin, though sensible on many matters, wasted too much time and energy on White Elephant projects like the Sochi Winter Olympics. And even though it’s a good thing for Russia to revive its traditions and build more Orthodox Churches, that won’t change the fact that Russia continues to be woefully underachieving despite its population and land mass with bountiful resources.
In contrast, Protestantism purged from the Northern soul the endless fascination with the magical aura of things. There was no need for Protestants to obsess over sacred relics. And religious rituals were pared down to a minimum. And most churches were designed to be basic and spartan. The purpose of a church was not to feature nice-looking things but to emphasize the need for devotion and prayer to God. Thus de-sacralized in mind and senses, Northern Protestants were bound to take a harder and colder look at the material world. Their perceptions became more utilitarian and practical. In the end, what mattered was, "What can this or that do?" So, even though a cathedral or a palace in a Catholic kingdom was far more impressive than a factory in Manchester, it was the latter that build cannons, ships, and trains whereas cathedrals and palaces, like the Egyptian Pyramids, served no worldly purpose. Over time, Northern Protestants became more materialist in their thinking, i.e. they had a more empirical, rational, practical, and technological relation with the world around them. And yet, being more materialist made them less materialistic. Having a cold-eyed and rational view of the world means valuing materials as things than as treasures.
Catholics and Orthodox Christians believe in the ‘miraculous’ value of things. So, a certain relic isn’t just some thing but a sacred object glowing with mysterious divine force. Consider the mysticism that shrouds a certain house in a placed called the Zone in Andrei Tarkovsky’s STALKER. While believing in miracles is a spiritual idea, it can easily be transferred to the material world. Even on the secular level, someone whose mental habits and sensual inclinations are steeped in the Catholic way of thinking-and-feeling is likely to be more enamored of the glittery glamour of precious items like jewelry, fancy dress, expensive cars, and luxurious mansions. The Catholicist mind, having been inculcated into seeing certain things as sacred and miraculous, is more likely to be enticed by the razzle-dazzle of precious objects. It is more likely to be into the celebration of ‘bling’. And such mentality still dogs so much of Latin America where a person or thing is more likely to be judged by his/its image than by his/its real substance. This made them more materialistic.
The appeal of Marxism to many Latin-American intellectuals may have owed to a subconscious sense on their part that the Latin soul must be reformed of Catholicist idolatry. Thus, Marxism was like a secular Protestant Reformation movement for Spanish and Latin American intellectuals. And yet, there was also a Catholicist appeal to communism, especially after the Soviet Union transformed the ideology from a spartan movement for worker justice to a grandiloquent crusade with new gods, prophets, saints, sacraments, rituals, and pageantry. Even as communist nations stressed the simple life and virtue of hard work, they spent exorbitant sums to put on massive displays that made the Catholic Church blush. Indeed, at the very end of the Soviet Union, the two things it still had left were massive spectacles and a program to win lots of ‘blings’ at the Olympics. Impressive as a white elephant but dead as an economic elephant. And to this day, Russia pays too much attention to image, symbolism, and monuments than to the real factors that lead to greatest development in science, technology, and industry. Russia will host World Cup Soccer in 2018. More wasteful expenditure on what amounts to little more than White Elephant Dung.
In contrast to Catholicism and Orthodoxy, Protestantism had little use for relics, icons, displays, pageantry, rites & rituals, and spectacles. This made Protestantism a duller religion to the eye. But by de-sanctifying objects and materiality, a purer form of spirituality was possible. Piety and faith in Protestantism didn’t rely on one’s communion or interaction with tangible objects deemed holy. Granted, there developed several sects(or denominations) of Protestantism, and some were rather close to Catholicism in practice. Still, the essence of Protestantism was a return to the spiritual essence of Jesus’ teachings divorced from paganesque idolatry(the result of syncretism of Christianity with Roman paganism and even elements of Germanic paganism) and the institutionalized power of Church bureaucracy manned, especially at the top, by clergy with close associations with the rich and powerful(like the Medicis or the fictional Corleones). With Catholics, wine and wafers(bread-like crackers) could be the blood and body of Jesus Himself. Holy Water, when sprinkled on a demon-possessed girl, could make her cuss and vomit. Catholic women held onto Rosaries like security blankets. Entire buildings could be blessed or sacred. Among Orthodox folks, possessing a certain icon was like having a prized baseball card worth big bucks. Poles have a thing for the Black Madonna(not to be confused with mudshark madonna), one of the most sacred objects for them both historically and spiritually.
In contrast, Protestant denominations had either far less need or no need at all for such ‘trifles’ that were either considered to be distracting or condemned as idolatrous superstition.
It is understandable why Protestantism caught on more in the North than in the South. Not only was Martin Luther a German but the North had a meager legacy in High Paganism. In ancient times, paganism in the South meant the awesome achievements of Greco-Roman civilization, whereas paganism in the North meant fur-clad ruffians drinking mead, sharing wash-basins, and acting like Conan the Barbarian. So, Catholicism was proud to develop as a fusion of High Paganism and High Spirituality. The North, lacking such a rich pagan legacy, was bound to feel envious. This isn’t to say Martin Luther and his followers weren’t sincere in their moral dissent against the Church, but it couldn’t have been an accident that Protestantism spread most fervently among the Germanic folks. Being poor in cultural legacy vis-a-vis the European South, they sought compensation via greater purity in spiritual devotion. After all, the spirit is the great equalizer. As Jesus said, a poor man who is good of heart is richer in spirit than the richest man who is weak in faith.
The result of Protestantism was a devaluing of the sacredness of objects. So, one shouldn’t seek sacred value in things, buildings, and possessions. Spirituality could only be found through the heart. It was a matter of the soul. Thus, the world, having been detached from spirituality, could be seen with a clearer, more empirical, pair of eyes. A thing was just that thing than some ‘blessed’ or ‘cursed’ object. (Perhaps, a latent force in English Romanticism was a neo-quasi-Catholicist vision of the world as filled with sacredness in enraged reaction to the Industrial Revolution set off by empirical use of science, technology, and economics.) In Andrei Tarkovksy’s Orthodox worldview, even dead things can be imbued with the ‘miracle’. Even if Tarkovsky didn’t literally believe in hocus-pocus, his way of seeing the world was steeped in the Orthodox view of the world of God’s creation and the latent paganist view of Mother Russia. So, even though THE SACRIFICE is set in Protestant or post-religious Sweden, it is characterized by a Slavicist world-view of salvation-redemption-reclamation through faith not only in God but in the sanctity of things. The final image is of a child who waters a dead tree in the hope that it will come to life. Of course, it’s impossible, and Tarkovsky knew it himself, but there’s a sense that without such hopes and dreams, mankind is lost, surrounded by objects devoid of spirit. (This idea was transposed, ridiculously I think, to BLADE RUNNER 2049 where we are supposed to believe that android Rachel underwent some kind of ‘miracle’ in giving birth to a kibbler, LOL.) In Tarkovsky’s penultimate film NOSTALGHIA, his alter ego, a Russian expatriate in Italy, clearly feels more at home near Church ruins and with a madman than with modernity and modern people. The lost world of Catholic structures and traditions reminds the main character of Mother Russia, parts of which managed to survive materialist communism. But capitalism is materialist too, and the Russian expatriate cannot relate to the ‘liberated’ Italian woman who serves as his guide. Modernity reveres nothing but the instant demands of the self. He later encounters a madman who, though clearly unbalanced and even dangerous, is touched by a moral-spiritual vision beyond the material and sensual wants of day-to-day existence. To Tarkovsky, the threat of Nuclear War wasn’t only about countless lives lost, ruined environment, and fallen economies. It is an act of crime against God, against all that is holy. It's an extension of his take on the mind-planet(or soul-planet) in SOLARIS. It is seen as a heavenly repository of memories, dreams, remorse, and longing that make up the human soul. Therefore, it must be left alone than intruded upon and 'abused' by science-and-technology in search for ‘material’ truth.
While there is great beauty in the Catholicist and Orthodox vision(albeit more subdued and somber) of the sacredness of things of the world and the world itself, it is a form of mega-idolatry in affixing spirituality to materiality. If spirit is beyond body and things, why should it be so powerfully manifested in tangible things, especially when the Genesis speaks of the Original Sin and the fall of Eden? And didn’t Jesus stress the heart above all else? He wasn’t impressed by palaces, fancy dress, arts & culture, and monuments. He didn’t much care for Jewish rites and rituals. (One wonders if Judaism would have developed into something closer to Catholicism — a syncretism of idolatrous paganism and spiritualist faith — IF the Jews had been allowed to remain in Jerusalem. Herod, a collaborationist overlord with the pagan Romans, was a great builder who spent lavishly on making the Jewish World resemble something like the Vatican or Mecca. But Jews were soon thereafter driven into exile, and their religion could survive only as a matter of blood, spirit, and word. In a way, they had to become more Protestant-like. Their wealth had to be conceived of as a kind of 'spirit' of financial matter, as free-flowing currency.) Nor did Jesus think less of others because of dress, wealth, status, or health. According to Christianity, the ugliest, most wretched, and most foul-looking creature is nobler than the most beautiful, richest, and reputable(by prevailing social standards) person IF the former is devoted to God and Truth while the latter is obsessed with one’s own fame & fortune. So, the spirit is not to be judged by body, material forms, and adornments.
Spirit is also deeper than the Word that could be used charlatans and Devil himself. After all, the Serpent used words to entice Eve into eating from the Tree of the Forbidden Knowledge. While God communicates His message through words to the Prophets, truth is deeper than words. (Also, as God grows more silent in the later passages of the Bible, His voice/words aren't so much to be heard through the ears than discovered from the wellspring of the soul.) It’s like Socrates warned against pseudo-philosophers who are clever in their use of words but devoid of integrity and meaning. Thus, there is a sense in Protestantism that the deepest prayer is not about songs/music or spoken prayers but silence itself. Though Martin Scoresese’s THE SILENCE is based on a novel by a Japanese Catholic author Endo Shusaku, it’s interesting that the protagonist finds a deeper truth in the dark silence so far removed from the comfort zone of Catholic Spain. While in Spain, every Church, every hymn, every prayer, every ritual, and every sermon assured the priest of the rightness of God and Jesus. It is away from such comfort zone that the priest is confronted with the possibility of either the absence of God or the weakness of his faith(or the uselessness of his faith to do any good for the suffering Converts). He went from a world where Christian Godliness is a symphony filling up every square inch of space to a world of Silence where the Faith is concerned. Silence can mean absence but can also suggest the need to dig deeper until a well is struck and the water starts to flow once again.
Protestantism has a better grasp of the significance of this Silence because, ideally speaking, a Protestant is not to be distracted by the physical manifestations of holiness, which are to be rejected as forms of idolatry. And some Protestant sects were even distrustful of music as overly sensual — the Taliban would have agreed — and recited their hymns in rhythmic verse than in song. In BABETTE’S FEAST, we see the muted clash of cultures between the French woman who can cook up a feast for the senses AND a small Danish Protestant community that is accustomed to a spartan & stoic existence(though to be sure, the contrast is also between urban and rural). Babette is a contradiction of sorts. She’s sympathetic to the Revolutionaries, but her talent in the culinary arts is downright royal-aristocratic. (In a way, the French Revolution had themes similar to Luther’s rebellion against the overly corrupt and ostentatious Catholic Church. Especially Robespierre was quasi-Protestant in his puritanical insistence and radical commitment to the Revolution. As a movement that would bring about justice for common folks, his revolution was against the entirety of Catholicist-Aristocratic tradition that had brought forth so much glory and beauty[as well as pomposity and arrogance] to French Culture.) Babette is a refugee from the Counter-Revolution that restored the haute privileges of the French aristocracy that made possible the fancy cooking she specializes in. After all, your average French peasant or worker for most of history never ate fancy French cooking, no more than an average Chinaman ate Mandarin dishes fit for an emperor. To stay on the straight and narrow path, one must not only direct one’s gaze at the true prize — spiritual union with God — but be mindful not to fall into temptation of worldly pleasures that makes people value the temporal over the eternal.
Protestantism’s insistence on purity and simplicity in the practice of Faith had wider cultural ramifications. A spiritual-moral culture that disdained glitter-n-glamour in religious expression was bound to affect all spheres of life, especially as religion was the moral core of traditional European culture. Thus, keeping things moderate, modest, and restrained in strict adherence to the true spirit of the God and Jesus was bound to favor things that were less colorful and flavorful in art & architecture, dress & design, music & dance, and food & wine.
Given this reality, one might think the Catholic societies would have spearheaded the economic explosion that came to be known as the Industrial Revolution. After all, if Protestant sensibility is about moderation and self-denial, why would there be a need to produce more and more goods? After all, the Spartan economy was smaller than that of the Athenian economy that was far less restrained in goods and services. Athenians loved to trade and sought out ever greater trade routes. Athenians loved to create, possess, and display glorious and beautiful things. Spartans interacted with non-Spartans only to the extent that it was necessary to maintain Spartan power and local hegemony.
If Catholics were less restrained than Protestants in their taste for glamour-n-glitter(so opulently on display in the Catholic Church), wouldn’t such a culture of ‘avarice’ and ostentation have kicked off a culture of mass consumption? After all, whenever Latin folks, whether in Europe or South America, got a bit of cash, they were far less hesitant to spend it on food, clothing, jewelry, and etc. Latin America was far less developed than North America, but the Latin American rich loved to make a big show of their wealth and privilege, like the Sosa character in SCARFACE. Or consider the crass Evita Peron.
Perhaps part of Che Guevara’s appeal was he was such a severe and spartan figure among the Latins. In a way, Marxism-Leninism was a secular Protestantism for the Latins. The modern world was too ‘enlightened’ for religious faith, and so, the educated reformers and radicals no longer put their faith in God. As such, it would have made little sense for them to convert to Protestantism to combat the entrenched corrupt system of the alliance among the monarchy, oligarchy, and the Catholic clergy. So, what was there as a purifying fire? Marxism-Leninism that called for the renunciation of wealth and privilege in the name of Justice for the Salt of the Earth. Granted, Catholic Church had long emphasized the need to take care of the poor, but the have-nots were regarded with condescension. Also, the idea was that the poor should not complain, remain meek, and hope for charity from the Church funded by crumbs from the corrupt rich. So, why not eradicate all that with the Revolutionary Fire?
The fact that Mussolini won in Italy and Franco won in Spain(and the fact that most of Latin America was ruled by right-wing oligarchs and quasi-fascists) suggests that the Latin character generally favors flavor and flamboyance over sparse and spartan commitment to truth & justice. And even Fidel Castro, despite his communist victory in Cuba, borrowed a style that was closer to Mussolini than Lenin or Stalin. Also, the ‘left’ that finally triumphed in Spain was Homomania, a neo-religion that even outdid the Catholic Church in pageantry and spectacle. The face of Spanish ‘progress’ has been what? The movies of Pedro Almodovar. Well, whoopity poopity-doo.
And what accounted for the success of Hugo Chavez? He didn’t call for more sacrifice and hard work, as Che Guevara had done. Instead, flush with oil money, he promised festival-para-todos. And it wasn’t long before Che Guevara was turned into an icon for every kind of ‘bling’. Che’s severe spartanism — he thought the North Korean model that marched people to and from work was the ‘most impressive’ — suggests that he was well-aware that the Latin Way had failed in contrast to the Yanqui Way. Of course, his Latin pride was loathe to admit that it had less to do with Northern exploitation of the South(in Europe and Americas) than with different modes of thought, values, and behavior. Still, he obviously felt that something radical was necessary in order to defend and develop Latin America independent of Yanqui imperialist meddling. And he thought the answer lay in what he called Moral Incentive, his own version of the Protestant Work Ethic. If an entire people devoted themselves to self-sacrificing hard work for the common good, they could catch up to the capitalist West and spread their model as the ideal one for all the world. But what Che Guevara, along with so many leftist radicals, failed to understand was that the success of the Anglo-Germanic North had to do with a strange combination of Self-Denial and Individual Ambition. This blend wasn’t easy to come by because it necessitated the melding of two conflicting and seemingly incompatible thought systems. After all, Protestantism stressed, far more than Catholicism, the virtue of the simple life, self-restraint & self-denial, moderation, and thrift. But how could such virtues ever lead to much wealth? For one thing, it led to a culture of higher conscience that led to a culture of greater trust that was an advantage to contracts and business. Also, the focus on virtue meant a stronger will to do a good job. Just as one had to serve God with purity of heart, one had to apply one’s skills to work with conscientiousness. This did wonders for productivity(which must precede consumption, as in the ant-and-grasshopper story). Moderation meant less likelihood of revelry and other self-destructive behaviors that could blow away one’s earnings or lead to dissipation that gnaws away at Work Ethic. Thrift also meant saving more for a rainy day than spending for here-and-now(and this necessitated access to foreign markets as the domestic market remained suppressed by the ideal of thrift and self-discipline, surely one reason why the Brits were eager to sell opium to the Chinese but not to their own kind). Also, the notion that one’s relation to God was essentially direct and personal was bound to have a liberating effect on the individual. If faith is a matter of individual conscience than of institutional dogma, then one could stand taller before God. Obviously, the Protestant North didn’t plan any of these outcomes, but they did result from ‘accidental’ intersections and interactions of various, often clashing, outlooks and modes of thought.
But it is possible that the economic rise of the North also owed to the de-mystification of the material world as the result of Protestant influence. Under such conditions, people are more likely to take a cold and hard-nosed look at reality. Indeed, consider Italy and UK in the 1920s and 1930s. Great Britain was far more powerful than Fascist Italy, but Mussolini put on a good show to impress the world. He acted as if the Roman Empire was back when, in fact, Italy was a paper tiger that, when push came to shove, couldn’t even defeat Greece. The humiliated Italians had to be bailed out by Germans who did the invasion of Greeks and then pretended the Italians were lords over Greece. Fascist Italy was not the Roman Order that had once easily conquer its neighbors. But why were so many Italians so willing to fall for Mussolini’s grand delusion and swindle? Why was Mussolini himself so prone to fall for his own myths? Why did the later Fellini coast on his stale razzle-dazzle phantasmagoria to prop up the myth of his genius that had all but faded? Amusingly enough, JULIET OF THE SPIRITS is everything that it attacks. It mocks Catholic Church’s culture of hyperbole & hysterics that instilled innocent young girls with sexual complexes, but the entire film is a shameless ritual of props and stagecraft as substitute for art and meaning. Likewise, FELLINI SATYRICON’s condemnation of the excesses of pagan Roma could just as easily apply to Fellini himself who had, by then, become the absurd Nero among film-makers. For a more sincere delving into truth, there were the Swedish greats Ingmar Bergman and Jan Troell. To many people, Bergman may be most well-known for FANNY AND ALEXANDER, his most Fellini-esque film, but his artistic reputation rests on the stark b/w films of the 50s and 60s. And it’s difficult to think of a more honest film-maker than Troell who worked on his films like a wood-carver with a log, sure and steady. Granted, Catholic Italy also produced neo-realism, Roberto Rossellini, and Ermano Olmi. And Robert Bresson the French Catholic made some of the most stylistically austere films ever, as different from Fellini, Bertolucci, Leone, and Ophuls(Jewish) as the films of Carl Dreyer are. Still, one can help but notice certain general tendencies among cultural sensibilities. It seems fitting that Fellini was Italian than Swedish and Bergman was Swedish than Italian.
Does any of this matter anymore in our globalized world where all of Europe seems to be coming under the mono-culture of Judeo-Afro-Homo domination? Is there a culture of Work Ethic anymore in Great Britain where too many young people act like loutish boors and feel no shame about getting drunk and falling all over the streets? Is there any meaningful difference between the French and Americans when most French kids grow up listening to Rap and watching Hollywood movies? Do blacks in France conform to French culture or to globalized American culture where the only things that matter are Jewish chutzpah, Negro muscle & music, and homo vanity & narcissism? With the ongoing Africanization of Sweden, a nation already remade by demented feminism, homomania, and cuckery, would it make sense to even speak of a distinct Swedishness in decades to come, especially when many Swedish elites insist there is no such thing as ‘Swedish Culture’ and appoint idiotic non-Swedes to be caretakers of national heritage? Maybe not, but the lingering differences between the European North and European South can still be traced back to the contrasting cultural legacies(as well as genetic factors as Southern Europe tends to be mixed partly with North African and/or Near Eastern blood AND as Eastern Europe tends to be mixed more with Turkic and/or Asiatic blood). Of course, Europe a hundred years from now could be a very different place given current demographic trends. Most of Western Europe, from top to bottom, could become like a big version of Morocco. Eastern Europe might avoid such fate if it holds onto its current nationalist mode, but even Eastern Europe fails to understand that the biggest threat comes not from the Muslim world but from the black African world. But because of PC that lionizes blacks as Special Victims(along with Jews and homos), there is a rhetorical reluctance to address the issue of saving Europe from ghastly ‘groids’. After all, while it’s still permissible in the globalist media to speak ill of Muslims, raising alarms about blacks is akin to ‘antisemitism’ or 'homophobia'. It is Taboo. Furthermore, due to American cultural hegemony(which is basically Jewish, Homo, and Negro), many people in Eastern Europe sincerely have an overly romanticized and favorable impression of blacks as both the most Noble Race and the Coolest race. So, even as Poles make big noise about defending their nation from Muslims, they go out of their way to prove that they are ‘progressive’, ‘tolerant’, ‘anti-racist’, and onboard with ‘Western Values’ by welcoming and celebrating ACOWW or Afro-Colonization of White Wombs. THAT could be the undoing of Poland. Because Jews control the media, Narrative, and Idolatry-Iconography, they get to decide which groups are most protected by taboos and most blessed with secular sacraments.
Anyway, the Protestant North, with its de-mystified view of the world, was bound to focus more on real work and real wealth. Since the world around them could not be prized as magical or miraculous, it could only be assessed in material terms. A factory had material value in producing stuff. And stuff had material value as weapons, ships, trains, and machines. In the end, it was Prussian hardware that overwhelmed Austro-Hungarian grandeur. The Austrians had nice palaces and cathedrals. To the naked eye, the Austrian world would have seemed more awesome. But when it came down to actual battles, victory was decided by better soldiers, better discipline, better weapons, and better transport. Material Substance always wins over Magical Style.
Protestantism allowed for higher conscience of mind and harder concentration of matter. The Protestant mind tended to be less ‘superstitious’, less bound to matters of style. It was more matter-of-fact and cold-eyed in the assessment of power and value. The Chinese and Hindus were also slower to modernize because their world-views were wrapped up in magic, mysticism, and ‘superstition’. Hindus literally believed in the existence of a million gods that animated the universe; they believed that all of life was governed by this force called Karma. And for the Chinese, the idea of Tao was not just a metaphor but a real forced that maintained balance in the world. And they believed that the rulers of China, with the Mandate of Heaven, were divinely ordained to sustain the harmony in what they considered to the Middle Kingdom. With such magical force favoring China, there was no way that a bunch of Anglos, seen as a race of pirates, could do anything real to harm China. But then, there was a series of rude awakenings. Because the Chinese/Manchu elites were secluded in their own la-la-land inside the Forbidden City, they’d developed a habit of favoring fantasy over reality like Elvis Presley in Graceland and Michael Jackson in Neverland. So, how did such an elite deluded with so much mysticism manage to rule over such a vast imperial kingdom for so long? Because the fantasy was shared by a vast bureaucracy and also by the masses of minions whose social habits and emotional tendency were toward servility, conformity, and superstition. Collective fantasy buttressed elite fantasy. It appears some peoples/cultures are more prone to fantasy. Consider the Magic Realism of Latin American writers and film-makers like Guillermo Del Toro(that vile piece of turdez).
So, there were obvious advantages to being part of the Northern Protestant order. Indeed, even much of Russian modernization and industrialization in the late 19th century and early 20th century owed to German engineers, managers, and military personnel. As for France, its fate increasingly became sandwiched between Protestant UK and Protestant Germany that fast outpaced France in heavy industry.
And in the New World, the Protestant North America outshone Catholic Latin America in almost every respect. (Perhaps, certain Latin American nations held their own at least in literature.) For the Northerners, spirituality belonged to the realm of soul whereas materiality belonged to the world of matter. There was less confusion on such matters as the two realms was segregated in a kind of mental caste system. If you wanted Salvation and Redemption, you prayed with your soul to God. If you wanted to make it in the material world, you needed to make real empirical discoveries, build things of genuine utility, or accumulate real wealth backed by legal contracts. There was little room for hocus-pocus ‘superstition’ that confused materiality with spirituality.
Granted, this didn’t necessarily mean a lack of imagination, as the British excelled in literature and fantasy genre. But the magical and mythical were reserved for the world of fiction. They were understood to be imaginary. At best, they could be poetic or visionary, but they were still not real. Then, it is understandable why the two greatest movements of 19th century Romanticism happened in Protestant UK and Protestant Germany. Protestants were hungrier to find the magical and mythical in art, fiction, and music because their spirit world remained locked within the soul. Because the material world wasn’t imbued with magic or miracles in the Protestant world-view(as it was in the Catholic world), things had value in terms of utility and cause-and-effect. But the human mind craves for the mythic and fantastic, and for the Protestant-minded folks, such could only be imagined via the realm of fiction. Even as Protestant imagination could be expansive, there was a clear boundary between fact and fiction.
In contrast, the Catholic world-view was more ‘magic-realist’, radiant with faith in miracles in the material world all around us. Thus, if vision in the eyes of a Protestant meant a leap of imagination or insight, it could mean a divine revelation to the naked eye of a Catholic. And this made the Catholics more ‘superstitious’ and less rational on the actual worth of things. Suppose there is a sword made of inferior metal that isn’t of much use in battle BUT it’s been said to be sacred. The cult of miraculous-matter will blind the Catholic to the real (lack of)value of the sword. It’s like Alec Guinness’s character of King Feisal in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA would rather dream of the lost gardens of Cordoba and hope for miracles.
One may argue that the Protestant de-consecration(later to be followed by the secular form of Deconstruction) of the world led to horrible abuses and exploitation as the world was no longer seen as sacred. Even though the idea of the fallen state of the world is intrinsic to the entirety of the Biblical text, there was nevertheless a modicum of miraculousness in the Jewish and Catholic view of the tangible world, even if, paradoxically enough, for opposite reasons. The strict Jewish prohibition against idolatry and worship of graven images implies that Jews regarded God’s Creation to be so special and unique that it shouldn’t be ‘mocked’ by the creative hubris & vanity of man. In other words, don’t think Creativity can ever come near Creation. In contrast, Catholics grew attached to the miraculousness of the world by way of syncretizing Christianity with pagan idolatry. To be a Catholic means to revere the rites and rituals performed with the aid of certain holy vessels.
Unlike Jews and Catholics, Protestant world-view was barren of the miraculous(though it may also have owed to Northern Temperament shaped by long stretches of cold weather, long dark winters that seem to last forever, and overcast clouds and mist). It was not a place to pep up one’s spirits. As such, one could argue that the Protestants were less mindful of the damage they did to nature and the social order. Everything was measured in terms of utility and material advantage.
And yet, the magical view of the world could also have a dark side. Consider Jewish hatred of pigs and Muslim hatred of dogs. If some things in the world could be sacred, other things could be cursed or wicked. Because Muslims have such a negative view of dogs, they treat man's best friend most terribly. And because Ultra-Orthodox Jews regard pigs as not only physically unclean but spiritually polluted, they fail to appreciate the wondrousness of pigs as our brothers and sisters.
After all, God Himself could create the world to be a holy place or set out to destroy it as a cursed place. If the world is seen magically, it could be seen as one of the ‘good witch’ or the ‘wicked witch’, as the Land of Oz. So, while magical thinking can make one better appreciate things of the world, it can also make one hate them more as well. If certain items can be considered holy and pure, other items can be considered wicked and evil. Snakes were surely a big loser in the Biblical Sweepstakes. Because of the Serpent’s role in the story of Eden, many Jews and Christians came to regard snakes as a wicked animal that should be killed at first sight. Also, magical thinking can transfer from the spiritual to the material. Think of the Conquistadores who sought out El Dorado as the City of Gold or the Fountain of Youth in the New World. Men steeped in Catholicist magical thinking sought out heaven-on-earth, as if indeed there might really be a city where streets are paved with gold or a place with water that serve man’s vanity to be forever young. So, even as a magical view of the world can allow for greater appreciation, it can also foster a superstitious outlook that can lead to loathing of so much as wicked, satanic, or cursed. After all, if a thing can be blessed by good spirits, so can it be cursed by evil spirits. And the Catholic World had more of a superstitious view of the world, and this often hampered clarity of thought necessary for rational interaction with reality.
Also, people who tend to believe in magical-materiality are prone to focus more on possession than usage. For instance, if you believe you possess a magic sword, you may be less motivated in learning how to use it. You will more likely to safeguard it in the belief that the mere ownership of the weapon empowers you and your side. But as Uther and Arthur learn in EXCALIBUR, mere ownership isn’t sufficient to be a good ruler. It’s all about why, when, and how it is used. The Japanese, with their myth of a sacred island nation protected by gods of wind and water, failed to rationally assess the danger of picking a fight with the US with a bigger population and far greater material resources(and advanced technology). Protestantism, by de-consecrating materiality, stressed the greater importance on the mastery over materiality. It wasn’t enough to own something. It was about how it can be used according to the cold hard facts of laws of physics.
At any rate, both the Catholic and Protestant worlds have lost their faith and are now under the spell of neo-pagan idolatry of Pop Culture, Homomania, and Diversity-Propaganda(aka ‘More Restaurants’, that is until the foreigners who bring new restaurants to your nation come to eventually devour your nation as feast for demographic imperialism). There is no longer any clarity in the minds of Protestants.
Also, Pop Culture has gone from being entertainment to new myths and neo-religions. Due to movies like GREEN MILE and SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, there is a sense among many white folks that blacks are a sacred race, the chosen of god if not god hisself. And Oprah is like a black madonna to countless soulless moron women. Whenever someone, black or non-black, wants to sound holy-schmoly, they recite a quote from Maya Angelou or Toni Morrison(like Old Time Bible Thumpers used to recite quotes from the Bible to validate their positions). And MLK, who really should be remembered as Fartin Poother Bling, is now bigger than God. And Mandela is the holiest figure in all of Europe. And so many whites fainted left and right at the sight of Obama as The One in the 2008 election cycle.
When white folks, Catholic or Protestant, are not worshiping Negroes, they are just wild about homos and trannies. For these morally and spiritually bankrupt dufuses, the great moral theme of our age is making sure that homos get to ‘marry’ and have bakers make a ‘wedding cake’ for them. And of course, Jews, via control of media, academia, and whore politicians in governments all across Europe, have elevated themselves to a bunch of little jesuses of the Holocaust Cult. Worship the Jews, adore Anne Frank as the new madonna, build more and more Holocaust monuments, make more and more days a ‘day of remembrance’ for the Holocaust, and enforce Taboos on anyone who dares to ‘deny’ the Official Narrative of Shoah. And ANYTHING must be done to prevent another Holocaust. So, if 6 million Arabs must be killed to prevent Another Holocaust, it must be done. If 60 million Europeans must be killed to prevent Another Holocaust, it must be done. If 600 million gentiles must be sacrificed to prevent Another Holocaust, so it must be done. After all, if Jews are indeed so holy-shmoly, then a single Jewish life is infinitely more precious than any number of goy lives. Just ask the Palestinians how this logic works.
Every advantage has a disadvantage, and what had once been so advantageous to Protestantism is now a disadvantage in our post-religious world. Today, it’s fair to say that the majority of Protestants and Catholics don’t literally believe in the Bible. So, what is really left to keep the cult of faith going? At the very least, Catholicism still has its elaborate rites and rituals that provide form, guidance, structure, and spectacle. Even if one doesn’t believe in the actual creed, one can still be impressed by the grandeur and tradition. One may look upon such and feel it’s worthy of preservation because of its rich history and heritage. So, one doesn’t really have to believe-believe to find reasons to remain within the Catholic(or Orthodox) faith. There is the Tradition Thing, so rich in art, culture, and rituals.
In contrast, Protestantism staked everything on the purity of faith. So, as long as Protestants truly believed in God and the holy spirit, they had the advantage of higher conscience, devotion, and commitment. They were nearer to God as they were less reliant on the clergy as bureaucratic medium between man and God. But, what happens when the well of faith goes dry? What happens when most Protestants don’t really believe in the existence of God or aren’t really sure? Without that element of faith, Protestantism seems empty and barren. This was powerfully depicted in Ingmar Bergman’s WINTER LIGHT(aka THE COMMUNICANTS, ironically suggesting lack of communication between man and God). To a true man of faith, spirit alone may be enough or, better yet, a more effective path to God’s grace because he is unencumbered by the Magical-Materiality of Catholicism that ‘overly’ stresses the need to ‘toy’ with sacred items that a Protestant might look upon as akin to magic wands and rabbit’s foot collected by kids. But once the faith dries up, what does a Protestant have? When he believed, he could hear within the Silence the deep murmurings of God. But without faith, Silence just becomes silence, a nothingness. One can be a Catholic or Orthodox of Tradition even without literal faith in God, but it’s hard to be a Protestant of Tradition because the main stress has always been on purity of faith than on upkeep of heritage, rituals, and ceremonies(that had been kept to a minimum).
Now, an honest Protestant will just leave the faith and declare himself secular. But what about those who insist on remaining in the Church. Then, there are only two ways. One is the willfully dumb Evangelical way of saying NO to science and pretending that, yes, Noah had co-existed with dinosaurs and the world is only 6,000 to 10,000 yrs old. But to reject obvious scientific facts and cling to such willful ignorance leads to infantilization of the mind, and this is surely true of most Evangelicals, which is why they are such easy suckers manipulated by cunning Zionists.
The OTHER way is for Protestants to seek out new pseudo-sacred causes as substitute for faith in God whom they no longer truly believe. So, what remains of Mainline Protestant churches is mostly mindless commitment to fads and fashions like the neo-religion of Homomania or Queertianity(or SJC, Satanic Jewish christianity).