The Destruction of the Sacred

“Nothing is Sacred,” says Man. “Nothing is sacred save SCIENCE!”

“We’ve christened Science, Omni-Science. All-knowing. Infallible. And incompatible with Religion. With ritual. With tradition. And so we’ve cast religion out. We’ve burned our Holy Books. We’ve made our devout, the heretics, and our heretics, the devout. We’ve erased the divine standard of morality. Man gives law unto himself.

“Nothing is sacred. Nothing is worth the reverence of Man. For Man is now the measure of all things. Nothing is worth honor. Nothing is worth worship. A Marriage is worth the asking price, for there is no one higher to revere it but Man. And he refuses to. Marry at your leisure. Take one wife. Take ten. It is, whatever Man makes it. 

“Our Prophets preach the Gospel of Atheism, converting Believers to Unbelievers. The Great Submission: Go into all the world and remove the chains of tradition, holiness, and ritual in the name of Science, Progress, and the Newest Technology. Do not allow the appearance of honor or the shadow of holiness inhibit your life.  Do not strive to be good, for you may be seen as a hypocrite. It is better to not have a code, then to have a code and break it.

“If we mock God then we can obscure the revelations of God, for Man should not have to contemplate right and wrong objectively. Religion testifies to Man’s dignity, and therefore must be counterfeit, since we are sure that men come from creatures and creatures from dust. There are no holy places. No holy books.

“Flags and Anthems are equally profane. They represent common values, virtues, and traditions. Reject these allegiances. Reject all norms and social If nothing is sacred, then individual autonomy is the final perfection.”

 

The Case for Meaning

There exists a modern obsession with the tearing down of religion, ritual, and tradition. As a result, there is little that we hold in esteem. The bonds of family are unimportant. Marriage has become little more than a non-binding contractual obligation. Our love of country and fellow man is strained, at best. And while we throw out our faith, rituals, and traditions, we’re blinded to the loss of our principles, foundations, and morals.

Take the religious and traditional idea of the family. Parents who love each other and are guided by higher principles that set the foundation for their life together. Children who are raised to respect their parents and learn from their example. These are the families that make for healthy successful societies.

But throw out religion. Throw our tradition. Throw out universal values.

What will that give you?

Fathers that walk out on their pregnant girlfriends. Failing marriages based on superficial attraction. Parents who see their children as a burden. Children that are spoiled and destined to become an encumbrance on the public. Widening the scope of this thought experiment, what kind of society or culture would the collectivity of these families create?

Would they honor their national flag out of respect for its rich symbolism, or would they burn it to make a political statement because of its hollow emptiness? Its only cotton, anyway right?

Would they show respect to people holding positions of authority, such as teachers, bosses, police, or leaders? Or would they find ways to sow discontent and rebel?

Religion, rituals, and traditions give meaning and purpose to an otherwise pointless existence. Saying a prayer with your friends or family before a meal is a collective experience. The folding of the flag honors the sacrifices that were made in defense of what Old Glory represents. Rituals such as wedding ceremonies, coming-of-age rituals, and funerals, bring structure to the complicated emotions and a shared connection in those times of significant social change. They connect us to each other, to the divine, and suggest a world of deeper meaning beyond mundane. They remind us that some things are important. Some things do have meaning.

If you haven’t noticed, Atheism has become particularly evangelical as of late: seeking to convince religious folk their beliefs are invalid because science (stylized as Science!) has supposedly disproved God. An atheist vegan who does CrossFit probably has a lot they want to talk to you about. Between conversations about creamy pumpkin soup with croutons and how tough their WOD is, expect some edgy irreverent jokes about The Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Church of Pastafarianism. This is because if you believe in God, or a higher power, or an immovable mover, you are stupid and are intellectually inferior to them. You will then be the subject of ridicule. Consequently, Atheism shares some of the judgmental exclusivity that Christianity is often criticized for.

If we subscribe to the Atheist viewpoint that indeed, “Nothing is Sacred,” then we are saying that nothing is worth our worship. Nothing is worth our dedication and meaning. Nothing is worth our sacrifice. If nothing is sacred, then nothing is so far above our us to require our submission to it. Taken to its logical conclusion, Man is the standard. Individual autonomy becomes the absolute.  The right to mock religious figures follows short behind.

New Atheists are hateful in a way that the Old were not: their militant opposition to religion and lack of appreciation for religion shows a lack of regard for Man’s unquenchable desire for transcendence. Religion, rituals, and traditions give meaning and importance to the way we live our lives. One should not mock religion not only because it is impolite, but because religion is a testament to Man’s dignity and worth.

Religion, ritual, and tradition make for strong families, which in turn form strong social structures and societies. The tearing down of these is the tearing down of meaning and values.

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