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Behold, Our RE-PAGANIZED Christian Societies — Dr. Jay Worth Allen



Behold, Our RE-PAGANIZED Christian Societies — Dr. Jay Worth Allen

From January to March 1926, T. S. Eliot gave a series of lectures at the University of Cambridge in which he described a fork in the road. “Western Civilization,” he said, “might continue along the Christian path, or, it might adopt modern paganism.”

Sadly, paganism, modern or not, never really went away—which makes its return all the easier.

Consider this short poem penned by Hollie McNish in 2019, titled: “Conversation With An Archaeologist”:

he said they’d found a brothel
on the dig he did last night
I asked him how they know
he sighed:
a pit of babies’ bones
a pit of newborn babies’ bones was how to spot a brothel

This is true. In archaeological excavations of ancient Roman brothels, the first finds are, as one would anticipate, erotic wall art and statuaries. But, as the archaeologist digs deeper, what they find are male infant skeletons. Why males? Because males were of no use to Roman brothels. The female infants (on the other hand), who were born to women prostitutes, were saved—to be raised as prostitute themselves.

Personally, I find this horrible fact difficult to even comprehend. To think of these tiny extinguished lives, and the cruelty of a society that allows this, and accepts this practice, simply to satisfy sexual lust, is well, wicked, barbaric! But how are today’s abortion procedures any different? I guess one could argue that we kill both male and female. Apparently, neither are any use in our contemporary society.

So how do our modern abortion clinics dispose of their tiny infant fetal remains? Do they bury them. No. Do they save some and raise them as male and female prostitutes? No. They’re burned along with other clinical waste. A perfect solution: no infant skeletons for future archaeologists to dig up.

Most all societies, Christian or not, oppose infanticide. And most Christians oppose abortion except in some circumstances (what those circumstances are, is left up to the individual, apparently). So what constitutes the distinction? Murder is murder in my book. To most societies there is a clear dividing line between abortion and infanticide. But this is not always the case.

Today’s medical technologies allow us to identify, what some would consider, objectionable (abortionable) characteristics (male, female, Downs syndrome, et cetera) of a child growing in their mother’s womb; although, the most common reasons for seeking an abortion today are: poverty and un-wantedness, along with fetal disability. —The very same reasons ancient societies killed their newborn babies.

Ancient Greek and Roman sickly, unattractive, or unwanted infants were exposed to the elements and left for nature to claim; Chinese and Hindus destroy daughters at birth — desiring a male offspring instead; Japanese likened infanticide to thinning the rice plants. So what changed in these ancient societies? Christianity. It was Christianity, and Christian emperors from the late fourth century and onwards, who thwarted the Romans’ reproduction methods, with laws against infanticide, and then against abortion. Christian rule prevailed until the mid-twentieth century when a religious shift occurred: a Second Reformation, so to speak. Christians are no longer in charge, and our prohibition of abortion—unlike their prohibition of infanticide, at least for now—is considered by most pro-choice secularists as archaic, illogical, and sexist.

We are now, in these 2000s, living in a culture of fading Christian morality and symbolism. Our Christian Societies are being Repaganized. Which shouldn’t surprise anyone. Paganism has lingered in the countrysides and in enclaves for decades, centuries . . . paganism has always endured in the historical memory and imagination of sinful mankind, as it persists to recapture the (so called) beauty and freedom that had ostensibly been lost with its suppression—and, in the more negative form of a lingering anger, a resentment toward the force that had supposedly defeated and suppressed it—namely, Christianity.

Paganism should not be defined narrowly as simply an interest in viewing entrails or in praying to Jupiter. Rather, paganism should be viewed as what it is, a fundamentally different outlook on the world, and on the Sacred. In religious terms, pagans are oriented toward the perceptible.

Pagan gods are elements of this world, in contrast to the transcendent God of our Christian faith. To be sure, Christianity has incorporated tangent elements over time. The ancient sacralization of sites such as wells, stones, cities, and birth places have persisted. Heathen deities have been replaced by Christian hermits or martyrs, as pagan festivals have become entwined with the Christian calendar. The pantheon of pagan deities of old was replaced by an ever-growing host of saints. Christianity flourished in numbers, not in Truth, when it began to permit its followers to incorporate religious practices that were found in Greek, Roman, and many other religions—not as a process of replacement, but rather as a process of blending—practices that seem, in fact, to be instinctive in their veneration of nature and ancestors.

Most cultures glorify warriors and kings. But Christianity takes a reverse attitude, turning it on its head: “God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27-28) — a baffling claim to anyone in a society untouched by the singularity of Christianity and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. But that fact is at the heart of Christianity.

The early Christian author Lactantius summarized the pagan objection to this topsy-turviness: “Why did [Christ] render Himself so humble and weak, that it was possible for Him both to be despised by men and to be visited with punishment? Why did He suffer violence from those who are weak and mortal? Why did He not repel by strength, or avoid by His divine knowledge the hands of men? Why did He not at least in His very death reveal His majesty?”

The manner of their savior’s death was, to the pagan mind, so obscene and so humiliating as to be beneath mention. It was not until the fifth century that Christ began to be depicted in the moment of his death, and then never in a show of agony: These “Christs” were imagined with calm expressions, and as sculpted as a bodybuilder—or, more pertinently, a Pagan god. It took a millennium for a new understanding of the Christian God to take hold of medieval Europe, “one in which the emphasis was laid not upon his triumph, but upon his suffering humanity.” — Tom Holland, Dominion. Built into the fabric of Christianity was a love for the weak that could not help but (slowly, falteringly) work against the strong. Christians were not unique in owning slaves, for instance, but they were unique in eventually banning slavery, something that no other civilization had ever done before.

When we accept this, many other moral conclusions follow. Slavery becomes unacceptable, as does infanticide, abortion, rape, etc. To point out the vulnerability of women, children, the poor, the enslaved, and the disabled is to argue in favor of their protection. Dress it up in secular language, talk of “human rights” or “humanism,” if you like, but secular humanism is just Christianity with nothing upstairs. “All hat and no cattle,” as my grandfather would say.

Here then is a reoccurring problem for Our Repaganized Christian Societies: Women are a vulnerable group by virtue of their being smaller and weaker than men, but there is another group of human beings who are weaker still. A group with no ability to defend themselves, or to proclaim their rights. The very smallest and weakest among us. Like it or not, we cannot place the protection of the vulnerable at the heart of our ethical, moral system without reaching the conclusion that the unborn child ought not to be killed!

Today’s Christianity has blended with paganism, rather than fully replacing it, and that’s the problem—a huge practical problem for followers of today’s blended faith. It is difficult to be a good Christian in this dog-eat-dog pagan world; it is supposed to be.

Christianity is often imagined as water. “But let justice run down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream”: the words of Amos 5:24, repurposed by Martin Luther King Jr. “He who believes in Me,” promises Christ, “out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” We use water to baptize, water gives life, quenches thirst, purifies filth, expunges flames, transforms things for the better. If Christianity is water, then it is an unstoppable force: It will run down and seep up, no matter the impediment.

But let us instead imagine Christianity as something else. What if, instead of water, we understand Christianity as a clearing in a forest? The forest is paganism: dark, wild, vigorous, and menacing, but also magical in its way. For two thousand years, Christians pushed the forest back, with burning and hacking, but also with pruning and cultivating, creating a garden in the clearing with a view upward to heaven. Glorious!

Ah, but there’s a caveat: watch as roots outstretch themselves and new shoots spring up from the ground. The patch of sky recedes . . . Paganism has not needed to be reinvented: It never went away! In a certain sense, the Western world has arguably always remained more pagan than Christian. In some ways Christianity has been more of a veneer than a substantial reality—

With no one left to tend the garden, the forest is reclaiming its ground.

Behold, Our Repaganized Christian Societies.

© dr. jay & miss diana ministries, inc



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