Indistinguishable from Magic
I just told my boss that I have to work from home tomorrow, as the frozen Turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken stuffed with sausage that I ordered over the Internet is arriving via Fed Ex next day delivery.
And he didn’t bat an eye.
We live in age of miracles. I tell a magic box that I would like various rare and dainty meats, and lo! Within a day they are brought to my house. What’s more, the delivery of said meats is treated as a perfectly good excuse for not showing up at my place of business by my immediate superior.
Once upon a time, miracles were the province of God, or gods if you prefer. Now they are the province of man. We’ve reached up, touched the face of God, and said “Anything you can do, we can do better.” Increasingly the people of the West no longer look to the divine order to order their lives, because the divine order doesn’t compete real well in an open market. Who has saved the most children in the past 50 years, God or Dr. Salk? Who do you think is going to grow the most corn, God or Monsanto? I’ll leave the question of which corn you’d rather eat to another day.
The more we encroach on the areas that were once the province of the divine, the further into the background the godbotherers of the west have had to push him. Once upon a time, for most of us, JESUS! would have healed the child. Now he does so through the medium of Dr. Salk, whom he must have inspired. What was once direct and observable becomes indirect, theoretical and unobservable.
Let’s take a little test. A stranger walks up to you on the street, and says that God speaks to him. Is he
A.) A prophet?
B.) A nut?
We don’t expect God to tell us what to do, not really. If you did hear a bodiless voice demanding that you fall down and worship him, would you see a minister, or a psychiatrist?
We live in an age of miracles, and the more common the miracles are the more people there are that hate and fear them. Had we lived in any other place than the West, or at any other time in human history other than the last few hundreds years, we would have been declared apostate, and burned. It’s no wonder Osama and his barbarians hate and fear us. Our entire civilization is a rebuke to the Islamic patriarchy, and a slap in the face of Allah. Jerry Falwell’s Christianity is a close cousin to it. That’s the real reason fundamentalists burn Harry Potter and decry Victoria’s Secret. The fundie Jesus, and the Allah of the Taliban, are such mental pussies that they cannot compete with even the ephemera produced by the West. If their religions were vehicles, then Jerry would be driving a Trabant and Osama would be riding a camel and burning wheels. Their theologies are small and brittle things, and cannot withstand the impact of the West. Authoritarian religions can only exist in a closed market, and the what the West does better than anything else is create open markets, not only in goods, but ideas. The only defense possible to them is to shut out the West, to convince anyone with half an ear listening to them that for Western humanism, “Do what thou wilt” is the whole of the law.
Whether they actually believe it or not, in order to compete Jerry, Pat, and Osama have to convince their followers that no only is there no moral standard in Western humanism, but that no moral standard is possible without reference to a god. To do this they pick and choose examples that illustrate this lack of morality, examples which almost deal with sexual freedom, freedom of expression or the equality of women. God help the poor lesbian who decides to write a novel featuring Jesus and Mohammed naked in bed together. The mob will be in full cry within days.
And if the gay Jesus and Mohammed happen to pack heat, drive an SUV or produce CBS’s annual Victoria’s Secret show, the Left will be right there alongside the evolution-deniers and plane crashing Islamists, baying for blood.
Odd as it may appear at first glance, it’s increasingly obvious that the natural allies of the rightist authoritarians are the leftist authoritarians. They may have rejected Jesus and Allah, but the Left has absolutely no problem with ordering people around. Jerry Falwell wants to make you burn Harry Potter, Osama wants to make you burn The Satanic Verses, and the Left wants to make you burn Huckleberrry Finn. Jerry doesn’t want you saying “God Damn”, Osama doesn’t want you saying “Women should be equal.” and the Left grabs its heart and screams in pain if you use the word “niggardly”. When the towers crashed, Osama said “Praise Allah!”, and the first thing out of the mouths of Jerry and the Left was “America brought this upon itself.”
Religion has shown that it can adapt to an open society. Authoritarianism cannot, which is why so many leftists are on Osama’s side in the the War on Terrorism and on Jerry’s side when it comes to naked women.