On the Decline and Fall of Liberal Religion

Today the liberal denominations of Protestant Christianity substantially downplay the supernatural and the wrath of God….Even with liberal Protestant churchmen, there is often an embarrassed silence regarding the efficacy of petitionary prayer, which is a magical practice by any reasonable definition (such embarrassment is not seen among conservatives). —George P. Hansen, in The Trickster and the Paranormal

     This post has been written at the request of a very nice supporter. The topic is one that is discussed occasionally on my appearances on the Brian Ruhe Show, since it is one of Herr Brian’s favorite topics of discussion, though it has not received much attention at all on this blog, beyond mention of the particular case of decadent western Buddhism. The decline and fall of western Buddhism—or rather its state of being practically dead on arrival, from the very get-go, is a recurring theme here, and is considered from various angles. But the same principle of secular humanism and, more recently, neo-Marxism, pervading and subverting religion in the west applies to all spiritual systems, especially those sects and denominations favored by leftists.

     The very nice person who suggested that I write about this even went to the trouble of sending me a few links to recorded church services at a Unitarian place in South Carolina. I could stomach about half of one of them, which may be viewed by the abnormally open-minded, here. I made it to the part with the emotionally bruised lady giving an impassioned speech about a certain bully President of the United States whose name she would not mention. That was enough for me to get the gist of it, although I was also sent a clip, I don’t know if it was from the same church, of children being encouraged to step up and announce (or maybe it’s called “witnessing” or some such in Christianity) that they are transsexual. Anyway, I’ll make some observations on the church service and then move on to decadent liberal religion in general.

     First off, the first religious teacher to ascend the pulpit is a female—which itself may be an early warning sign. Then she announces to the congregation the “Social Justice quintuple dip,” which, although it mainly has to do with donating to the church and to charities, also involves donating to the local chapter of the League of Women Voters, which of course is a decidedly leftist organization. Then come the “six action steps” quoted from the president of a chapter of the League, which are all about voting (the service apparently taking place before election day). A male pastor does take the stand after a short time, although his “sermon,” if that’s what it was supposed to be, was one of those long winded speeches that don’t say very much, like the kind made by most politicians. It’s mostly “empowering” stuff, intended to encourage the congregation and make them feel good about themselves, and to exhort them concerning communal living—everyone is important, and we should all share our lives, and our joys and sorrows. The lady teacher comes back for more, and eventually introduces a rather sensitive-looking woman who delivers a kind of impassioned speech or sermon about what a horrible bully _____ is, not naming President Donald Trump out of either a desire not to badmouth someone directly, or possibly out of some kind of holy dread. This was enough for me to get a general idea of what goes on at such places, and so I turned it off after a few minutes of indirect badmouthing of _____.

     During the half hour or so that I watched this church service, I remember no mention whatsoever of Jesus or even of God. It was mostly about social service and voting; and although there was occasional lip service paid to being politically nonpartisan, the folks involved were pretty obviously liberal AF. Although Jesus did not make it into the sermons, there was dutiful mention of “diversity” and of “responding to systems of violence and repression,” as well as badmouthing of the President, _____.

     Now of course this kind of pseudo-religious leftism is not limited to American Unitarian churches. I have been told by a Methodist that Methodism is at present in a kind of schism over LGBT+++ and abortion issues, that is whether to be pro or con, that is, whether to defy the teachings of the Christian Bible, supposedly the divine Word of God, or to follow them. The Methodist church I go past in the city of Fremont has obviously made its choice, as it proudly flies a queer rainbow flag in front of the building. And this is not just limited to liberal Protestant churches either, or to Christianity in general, which has always been rather communal and leftist: it applies to pretty much ALL religious movements to be found in the west, including Judaism, Hinduism (especially Krishna Consciousness and what passes for “yoga” in the west), New Age, certain forms of neopaganism (especially the feminized forms), and of course also western Buddhism. I can’t really speak about Islam and some of the other religions because I have so little experience with them, but I assume none of them is totally free of taint. I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions that the typical Dharma hall in the west lately is probably more inclined to hold discussions on racial and sexual diversity, systemic oppression, and global warming than it is on the life and teachings of Gotama Buddha.

     A common trait of this new kind of leftist quasi-religion is that the leaders tend to be feministic female types (often lesbian) or else wimpy beta males. This is “liminal” and could be conducive to spirituality or at least to decreased mundaneness, as it breaks down the worldly natural polarity between masculinity and femininity; although in this case it began with a sort of New Age femininity, emphasis on heart rather than brain, and the communistic emphasis on standardized weakness and mediocrity—socialism of course is keen on leveling everyone and denying differences. Another common trait is that many of the followers of these ultraliberal “spiritual” systems are more conversant with mainstream leftism than with their own professed religion, and simply cannot tell the difference between the two. Liberal western Buddhists, and I assume the liberals of all western forms of “religion,” seem to assume that the enlightened founder of their professed system could not have been politically incorrect by 21st century postmodern standards, and so any words found in scripture that run contrary to leftist “social justice” are to be ignored as corrupt and apocryphal. Or, still worse, they consider the enlightened founder of their professed system to have been imperfect and culture bound, even with regard to his knowledge of human nature and basic ethics, and thus less “woke” than the average postmodern dilettante.

     Political and cultural leftism in the west is gradually being subsumed into neo-Marxism, alias Cultural Marxism, Social Justice, emancipatory politics, ultraliberal fucked-up insanity, etc. etc., which is a mutated form of Marxism, which of course traditionally has been atheistic, materialistic, and anti-religion. Essentially what is happening is that the actual religion in liberal churches and Dharma halls is being replaced by activistic social justice, i.e. neo-Marxism, more or less like religion in China is being controlled and modified by the Chinese Communist Party, changing the words in the Bible for example, or replacing an image of Jesus over the altar with one of Chairman Xi. It is important to bear in mind that Marxism tolerates no rival faith or belief system, including even faith and belief in one’s own family—hence destruction of the nuclear family is a perennial theme in the various forms of socialistic thought—and so religions are being converted slowly into traditional religion-flavored radical leftism.

     Julius Evola, brilliant and eccentric fascist that he was, considered all this sort of rot to be symptomatic of a feminine and “telluric” kind of mentality typical of women and Hebrews, forming a kind of social polar antinomy with “solar” Aryan masculinity in the west. Regardless of his philosophy, it does appear that this sort of mentality has become parasitic on traditional religious systems, and will ultimately destroy them, as of course only neo-Marxism or “Social Justice” is allowed as a belief system. Emancipatory politics has replaced actual emancipation—from desire, from egoity, from the world, the flesh, and the devil. Hell, even the teachers don’t believe in miracles or enlightenment.

     The bright side of it all is that such a spiritually feeble sort of religion is hardly likely to survive, much less thrive, as it is not even supposed to survive, except possibly as a variety of Marxism. Liberal churches are closing throughout the west while conservative ones increase in popularity and attendance. In fact the most conservative religious groups are winning the Darwinian game of survival of the fittest, and are fertile and reproducing—being fruitful and multiplying—consider the Amish. These more conservative religious practitioners are probably getting real spiritual benefit too, following traditions going back to a saint or a sage instead of wallowing in neo-Marxist policies intended to lead people towards a spiritually bankrupt Brave New World, with maybe some elementary meditation technique replacing tranquilizers like soma.

     I may as well add in conclusion that many people on the right especially see the takeover of liberal religion by spiritually bankrupt cultural Marxism as a kind of centrally orchestrated conspiracy to undermine and overthrow western values and western civilization, although I see it more as an organic symptom of decadence. Good times make soft men, and soft men make bad times, and that is pretty much an inevitability regardless of any particular group’s agenda. If it isn’t one group, or one conspiracy, it will be another. So the main defense we have against the rot of spirituality in the west is not focusing our attention on one antagonistic outside group in particular, but on our own, for the sake of strengthening it, and beginning by strengthening ourselves. A group will be strong when its own members are strong, and not until then.

(this apparently was NOT originally intended to be satire,
but may have been made by the queer pastor themself



  1. I believe the comment I made in regard to Leftist Jewish Marxists hijacking Buddhism in the West also holds true for the Unitarian "church" and others like it hijacking Christianity. The Catholic church doesn't help when it appoints Marxist Globalists as pope:

    Humans by nature, tend to have parasitic and authoritarian qualities. When you combine that with high IQ it sometimes amplifies the authoritarian nature of the man. Bloomberg for example (if you look at the things he has said and done over his career); he clearly sees himself as "knowing better" than the average man. He has no problem imposing his beliefs onto those he has political power over - for their own good in his mind. He believes this so intrinsically, that he has no problem saying it out in the open repeatedly, as if it were common knowledge among all people.

    This is a common thread through various religions in the West. I would guess that highly authoritarian types are drawn towards positions of leadership within a church. They have a sort of narcissism that lends itself to the thinking that there are poor little sheep out there that NEED them. I think a truly enlightened and selfless spiritual leader who is not led by ego would be truly rare, but finding one would be a treasure. Tolle seems to fit the bill, but who knows...

    My point is that it is easier to take the parasitic route and hijack an existing religion that already has a massive following. The hard work has already been done for centuries. In the case of Buddhism and Christianity in the West, motivated and tenacious "leaders" have simply walked in, been handed the keys to the castle, then proceeded to bastardize the entire foundation into their own vision with no regard or reverence for the religion itself.

    If there were a truly great man among them, they would build their own vision from the ground up and put in the work to make it grow (Hubbard did it and Mormons kinda did it; at least they used Christian principles then ran with them in a direction away from the traditional church), but that requires time, work, innovation, and real talent (and in the end you will be labeled as a cult, sometimes becoming one.) If your ideology fails you go down with your ship along with the ego you cling to. It is easier to mask your ideology parasitically within an existing behemoth that is too large to fail... So we are left with Buddhist orgs being run by Marxist Jews and woke western feminists, and Christian churches proudly hanging rainbow flags above their doorsteps. A hollowed out bankrupt culture that receives their spiritual input from the equivalent of an Asian Fusion Buffet in a low rent strip mall ...

    1. Plus all those childless lesbian Protestant pastors and Dharma teachers (and politicians) who sublimate their maternal instincts by domineering their supporters as though they were children "for their own good."

  2. Is there a primer or summary of the vinaya in English that's any good? I've been reading Oldenberg's 1800s translation of the vinaya but that's gonna take forever. And I tried Thanissaro's "The Buddhist Monastic Code" but instead of summarizing I think he's making the vinaya longer with all this academic analysis.

    1. A complete translation of the Vinaya Pitaka into English can be found here: http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books15/Horner-Book_of_the_Discipline.pdf
      With regard to a good summary, I like the 3 volume edition of The Entrance to the Vinaya, or Vinayamukha, written by a former Sangharaja of Thailand and published in Thailand, though I'm not sure where you would find it.

  3. Great Article! Sometimes I read what is written in a Buddhism Telegram group. Sometimes you get the feeling that this is more of a support group for depressed people. As I consider it necessary to create a counterpoint to the left-wing westernized Buddhism, I created a telegram channel (German, English). If you are interested: t.me/buddhawarrechts

    1. I have been told that the Unitarian services like the one in the video link are also like support groups for depressed people. Their main purpose seems to be to make people feel better about their messed up lives without them having to change very much.

  4. As a spiritual seeker who has also found that much of religion in the West has been infiltrated by political correctness, I profoundly appreciate this blog. Thank you so much.

  5. Bhante,

    Although I may not share some of your beliefs about the causes for the decadence we see in Western societies I would say that the politicization of religion is a clear contributing factor. I, myself, tend to hold cosmopolitan views and would likely be considered a Leftist but the buck stops at Buddhavacana for me. Therefore, abortion is murder (even though I, too, when younger encouraged a girlfirend to go through with one), the duration of the Buddhasasana was shortened by the admission of bhikkhunis and a Buddha can only be born a man. In addition, I take the unpopuar position that the bhikkhuni orders really could not have been revived per the Vinaya despite my conitnuing to offer material support to those who would like to live as such.

    I guess what I am saying is that I agree with your diagnosis and don't have much to do with Buddhist communities (here styled as Sanghas) and even monasteries which are all too ready to remake the Dhamma in the image of Western Liberal ideals and politics. My question to who is this: what do we do about it?

    1. What to do about it? Renounce the worldly system (in spirit if not in flesh) and practice as well as we can. And don't be afraid to speak the truth as you understand it.

    2. Bhante,

      I am practicing the Dhamma as well as I can but most people are not interested in hearing anything that doesn't jive with their Weltanschauung. I'm not afraid to speak the truth as I see it but it is tiresome indeed. Regardless, be well!

    3. It has pretty much always been that way. That's why intensive Dhamma practice generally involves going alone like the horn of the rhinoceros.

    4. Well Said Bhante! I am inspired! Renouncing is key. The 4 right efforts always come to mind...
      Develop wholesome mental states...
      Maintain wholesome mental states....
      Abandon unwholesome mental states....
      Prevent the arising of unwholesome mental states....
      For this to work we must stay mindful and observant of each passing moment and our relation/interaction with each moment so as to interpret for ourselves the outcomes and so we can see for ourselves what wholesome and unwholesome is. The world has likely always been sick but in this modern age we are convulsing with fever. You are appreciated beyond words!

    5. Well said, Frank.

      ~ metta

  6. What resonated with me the most was your assertion that this phenomenon is not a coordinated attack so much as a symptom of a wider disease. This is hardly an original idea, but what holds interest to me is the potential that Buddhism holds as a kind of antidote for the individual.

  7. Ven. Pannobhasa,
    Have you heard of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu? I recently stumbled onto his writings, but I'm a little wary because one of his biographies (on wiki, perhaps) stated that he became an advocate of "socially conscious" Buddhism, and I don't want to waste my time yet again. My own meditation skills are crap, and I fear I may be too old (late 50s) to do more than read/study/chant privately and hope I don't fall into Avici. Any words of wisdom would be much appreciated, thanks.

    1. I have heard of a Thai Ajahn called Buddhadasa ("Slave of the Buddha"), although I am not familiar with what he teaches, and he may not even be the one you're referring to.

      It's never too late to make a change, if you consider that a change is called for. Being mindful from moment to moment, observing your own mental states and physical states as much as you observe the world around you, is about the most powerful spiritual practice there is, and requires no jhanic contemplation. Even just walking barefoot sometimes is a good spiritual practice because it causes you to be more alert and careful about your walking. Or being generous. Also an intensive meditation retreat, if you have the time for it and can find a qualified teacher, can be invaluable.


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