A brief summary can not do justice to Dalrymple’s new article in First Things. It is a review of the two new books by the Hitchens brothers, Christopher’s Hitch-22 and Peter’s The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith. As the names imply, these are personal memoirs outlining the philosophies of the two men, and unsuprisingly to his loyal readers, Dalrymple the atheist actually finds Peter’s view more appealing. But the review is mostly an outline of the problems Dalrymple finds in Christopher’s work and character, and for anyone familiar with Christopher Hitchens, Dalrymple’s criticism seems both devastatingly accurate and highly entertaining. I could quote at length, but I wouldn’t know where to stop.
The Brothers Grim
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The kind of “religion” promoted by Theodore,
Hitchens, FT, and indeed right-wing religionists all over the world, is the most superficial and factional and most often dim-minded and perverse expressions of ancient national and power seeking cultism, and in effect a form of collective psychosis.
At last, and inevitably the ancient exoteric rulerships have failed, and “official” exoteric Christianity, along with all the other “great world religions” of worldly “religion”-power, is now reduced to all the impenetrable illusions and decadent exercises that everywhere characterize previously privileged aristocracies in their decline from worldly power. Now exoteric Christianity is reduced to a chaos of competing corporate cults and Barnumesque propagandists that “rule” nothing more than the chaotic herds of self-deluded “religion”-consumers.
Therefore, the myth of the “cultural superiority” of “official” Christianity, and merely exoteric “religions”, has now come full circle. The “eligious” mythologies of “world-religions” are not only now waging global warfare with one another, like so many psychotic inmates of asylums for the mad, each confronting the other with exclusive claims of personal absoluteness, but the public masses of religion-bound people–who, all over the world, for even thousands , have been controlled in body and mind by ancient institutions of “religiously” propagandized worldly-power–are now in a globalized state of grossly bound “religious” delusion and social psychosis.
Mr Dalrymple is not a right-wing religionist; in fact, if you read more of his writing you would discover that he is an atheist, and has been since a moment of philosophical cogitation at the tender age of 14. Superficiality was condemned by both Christ and the Church and I am not aware of anything having changed on that score; most churches go through rituals and produce cultural, architectural and ecclesiological artifacts out of respect for God and to His glory ,making use of the skills they have been given. Some people adopt the pretense of religion for worldly glory, but such worldliness is by no means dominant among professed Christians. Christians on the earth are not supposed to rule as a condition of their faith- they are supposed to serve (God and others.) If a believer can do good by taking control of a country or empire as often happened during the medieval and Renaissance period, this is part of that plan. I cannot discern the precise motives of individuals; man has not been given that power.
You use the word “exoteric” several times. Is this intended to imply there is a deeper, “esoteric” transcendental truth in the Christian faith and you believe the churches as they stand are lacking affinity with such a truth?