Peace and joy vs. the religion of guilt
A sickly, self-hating guilt has become the civil religion of the Western world. This viewpoint has been gradually, unwittingly accepted by a broad spectrum of well-meaning people.
Without any conscious choice, many are stumbling blindly along a path of misery. Just after Easter of of 2011, we were all given a striking example of where the path of guilt leads. A former President of the United States went to North Korea and accused his country of human rights abuses for denying food aid to the pathological dictator of that country.
The typical American/British left-winger doesn’t get the chance to expose his dedication to guilt at the feet of a North Korean tyrant. Yet every day we encounter the same attitude throughout the United States.
Normal, run of the mill Americans are excusing a sitting President who is presiding over the precipitous decline of our country. Yesterday someone who’d been reading my recent articles said, “You don’t like Obama, do you?” I was surprised and disagreed–pointed to a hopeful column endorsing the possibilities of his Presidency I wrote right after his election. I like Obama. He’s smart and eloquent. He’s also a blithe by-product of a modern American descent into self-destructive guilt.
Our problems won’t be solved by just changing the occupant of the White House. Our problems run much deeper. The Republicans aided and abetted the Democrats in creating the financial melt-down of America. Vast loans to the non-credit worthy were advocated by Democratic leaders and financial deregulation was advocated mainly by Republicans, but both parties are complicit in their enactment.
The greed of Wall Street types will always be with us. They will always be looking for easy pickings such as the savings and loan banks pillaged in the Reagan administration with a bail-out under the first Bush. Why didn’t we learn the lesson that time, reverse course, and go back to the tightly controlled savings and loan system which helped build a prosperous America? For the same reason we stand idly by as the Chinese, Japanese and Saudis loot American wealth. For the same reason we spend billions building hospitals and schools in Afghanistan and Iraq for people who hate us and our society.
Western society is suffused with guilt. We are blamed for every evil of the world and because we know many of the accusations have a germ of truth, many of us have internalized that blame.
We have forgotten (or willfully abandoned) the knowledge that all our guilt can be forgiven. Instead, we hang on to the sin of slavery and let its mirror image, affirmative action, take hold. We hang on to the sin of colonialism and permit its mirror image, uncontrolled immigration.
Almost two thousand years ago, a letter to the Colossians pointed us to a better path: the fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. But you can’t get these if you hang onto guilt. Many will try to get you to embrace the religion of guilt. Some because they have never escaped it themselves. Others because they know they can control you. A person overwhelmed by the burden of his guilt can be convinced to do all sorts of silly things. Including blaming America when a dictator is starving his people.
When you do wake up and throw off the modern religion of guilt, you’ll find an equally debilitating attitude beckoning.
Donald Trump is an example of someone who has not given in to the religion of collective guilt suffusing Western culture. Because he hasn’t, he can call a spade a spade and urge America to quit being the patsy of the Chinese, the Japanese and the Saudis.
Unfortunately, the religion of guilt is more than matched by the worship of wealth. Trump’s clownish embrace of glitz and gambling, bling and blondes at least gives us a concrete caricature of that path.
Trump vs. Obama gives us a stark choice: worship of wealth vs. the religion of guilt. Luckily it’s a false choice which you don’t have to take. Instead every morning you can chose a new attitude. You can choose an attitude of peace and joy. And, if enough of us do, we will be able to set this country back on the path to achieving a destiny which has lately dimmed.
It will take a lot of careful work. Those bound by guilt or entranced by wealth will try hard to make you question your faith. Just counter by offering them something increasingly rare: the spirit of love, joy, peace . . . and self-control.