Magic and Miracles

The best lies are those that contain a kernel of truth. The Enlightenment was a great lie because it contained a great kernel of truth, namely the idea that the age of magic was over.

When I read the bible, not a page goes by where the power of God and His people is reaffirmed by some kind of miracle. Split open the seas, turn water into wine, raise people from the dead, it’s all in an average bible day. This feature of religious magic pervades through all religious figures, e.g. Taoist Laozi exiting his mother’s womb as a full-grown man and Islamic Mohammed making trees move on his command. Even Buddha is a magical figure; In Asia you will find Buddhist temples with big murals teaching locals how Buddha could like totally fly and killed a dragon. (to the extent Buddha is not magical people do not really take him serious).

In the old world where God’s influence was thought to be directly observable it makes sense that miracles are real. If your God can’t even magically heal the sick, why should I join your religion?

The post-enlightenment answer to that question is that God never magically healed the sick. You were just being fed comforting lies. Mind you, they were often effective lies; the placebo effect is real. But the placebo effect can be scientifically reproduced, whereas the James Randi one million dollar prize for proof of the paranormal has remained untouched for 50 years.

Magic is a cool word for ‘stuff we don’t understand’ and the whole point of religion is making peace with life by finding a way to deal with things you don’t understand (like pretending to understand them). Hell, the more magic your religion incorporates the better: it convinces people! Lets go Jesus, you still gotta run 10 kilometers to cross this lake so you can divide a loaf of bread to feed a crowd and perform magic eye surgery so 5 blind people can see again!

But we in modernity have passed that point, or necessarily have to pass that point if we like to be a space-exploring sci-fi society. Science replaces miracles. And the enlightenment philosophers knew it. ‘Welcome to the Age of Reason!’ they proclaimed as the first trains roared through the countryside and the first planes soared over the oceans. ‘Observe how the planes fly, not through God’s hand but through OUR hands!’ Yes, science dispelled magic. But just like man can not live without emotions, he can not live without religion since the mere existence of life is magic. The 18th century philosophers no doubt ran into this problem when they tried to sell their ideas. It was only by natural selection that they found a way around the problem: repackage the death of magic into a religion and proceed to sell it as the age of reason! You may say that they did not intend for their ‘rational’ thinking to devolve into current day progressive madness, but I say that Locke’s and Rousseau’s observation of human brains being blank slate souls reeks of such magic thinking that, like all leftists, at subconscious level they knew exactly what they were doing.

So I return to my previous post and say: old Christianity was made for a time of magical thinking and we have evolved beyond this. This does not make old Christianity wrong, in fact makes it more right than the enlightenment philosophers, for Old Christianity already provides moral truths consistent with what a few high IQ philosophers understand society needs. But it does explain why the West is losing its Christian faith on such unprecedented scale and why a religion that is ostensibly based on science is beating the crap out of a religion that is based on magic.

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