Thanks be to the astute folk at Salon, I now realize what I have been missing for all these years as an ex-Christian. I am apparently a closet pagan, ready to murder children to some god(s). Then again, this is written from the perspective a person who is a member of a religion most recently famous for molesting altar boys, whereas the ancient liberals at least had the decency to sacrifice the little buggers by setting them afire.
Modern-day liberals – or "progressives" as they more discreetly prefer – labor under an awkward misconception; namely, that there is anything remotely "progressive" about the fundamental canons of their blind, secular-humanist faith. In fact, today's liberalism is largely a sanitized retread of an antiquated mythology – one that significantly predates the only truly progressive movement: biblical Christianity.
While visiting the Rivermont Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Lynchburg, Va., a few weeks back, I heard a troubling, albeit thought-provoking, sermon. Pastor John Mabray addressed the ancient Canaanite practice of Baal worship and, though he didn't reveal it by name, connected the dots to its present-day progeny: liberalism. Baal, the half-bull, half-man god of fertility, was the focal point of pagan idolatry in Semitic Israel until God revealed His monotheistic nature to Judaism's forebears.
In his sermon, Pastor Mabray illustrated that, although they've now assumed a more contemporary flair, the fundamentals of Baal worship remain alive and well today. The principal pillars of Baalism were child sacrifice, sexual immorality (both heterosexual and homosexual) and pantheism (reverence of creation over the Creator).
Ritualistic Baal worship, in sum, looked a little like this: Adults would gather around the altar of Baal. Infants would then be burned alive as a sacrificial offering to the deity. Amid horrific screams and the stench of charred human flesh, congregants – men and women alike – would engage in bisexual orgies. The ritual of convenience was intended to produce economic prosperity by prompting Baal to bring rain for the fertility of "mother earth."
The natural consequences of such behavior – pregnancy and childbirth – and the associated financial burdens of "unplanned parenthood" were easily offset. One could either choose to engage in homosexual conduct or – with child sacrifice available on demand – could simply take part in another fertility ceremony to "terminate" the unwanted child.
Modern liberalism deviates little from its ancient predecessor. While its macabre rituals have been sanitized with flowery and euphemistic terms of art, its core tenets and practices remain eerily similar. The worship of "fertility" has been replaced with worship of "reproductive freedom" or "choice." Child sacrifice via burnt offering has been updated, ever so slightly, to become child sacrifice by way of abortion. The ritualistic promotion, practice and celebration of both heterosexual and homosexual immorality and promiscuity have been carefully whitewashed – yet wholeheartedly embraced – by the cults of radical feminism, militant "gay rights" and "comprehensive sex education." And, the pantheistic worship of "mother earth" has been substituted – in name only – for radical environmentalism.
But it's not just self-styled "progressives" or secular humanists who have adopted the fundamental pillars of Baalism. In these postmodern times, we've also been graced, regrettably, by the advent of counter-biblical "emergent Christianity" or "quasi-Christianity," as I prefer to call it.
This is merely liberalism all dolled up and gratuitously stamped "Christian." It's a way for left-wing ideologues to have their "religion" cake and eat it too. Under the guise of "social justice," its adherents often support – or at least rationalize – the same pro-homosexual, pro-abortion and radical environmental policies pushed by the modern-day Baal worshiper.
Though the "Christian left" represent what is arguably a negligible minority within larger Christianity, the liberal media have, nonetheless, embraced their cause and seized upon their popularity among elites as evidence that the so-called "Christian right" (read: biblical Christianity) is losing influence – that Christianity is, somehow, "catching up with the times."
Because emergent Christianity fails the authenticity test whenever subjected to even the most perfunctory biblical scrutiny, I suspect it will eventually go – for the most part – the way of the pet rock or the Macarena. But this does not absolve leaders within the evangelical community from a duty to call leaders of this counter-biblical revolution on their heresy. It's not a matter of right versus left; it's a matter of right versus wrong – of biblical versus non-biblical.
Nonetheless, the aforementioned pillars of postmodern Baalism – abortion, sexual relativism and radical environmentalism – will almost certainly make rapid headway over the next four to eight years, with or without help from the Christian left. The gods of liberalism have a new high priest in Barack Obama, and enjoy many devout followers in the Democratic-controlled Congress, liberal media and halls of academia.
Both Obama's social agenda and that of the 111th Congress are rife with unfettered pro-abortion, freedom-chilling, pro-homosexual and power-grabbing environmentalist objectives. The same kind of "hope, action and change," I suppose, that was swallowed up by the Baalist Canaanites of old.
So, today's liberalism is really just a very old book with a shiny new cover. A philosophy rooted in ancient pagan traditions, of which there is naught to be proud.
There's "nothing new under the sun," indeed.
The problem with Barber's assertions is that he is equating ancient religious practices and beliefs to contemporary ideology predicated on non-belief in the spiritual properties of such acts. This becomes particularly problematic when contemporary non-believers in Barber's tax exempt cult are correlated with past believers whose only discernible difference from Christianity was their predilection for polytheism (which itself cannot be excluded as a charge against Christianity when one attempts to explain the convolution of the trinity). And the answer to this plague? I think we all know the logical conclusion to the purification of any religion, historically, especially as it relates to the treatment of religious minorities under Barber's version of Christianity. How else can one interpret Barber's intentions when comparing Baalism to being liberal, gay or lesbian in today's world?
Maybe Barber's barely certified universities in which he received his degrees failed to inform him, but there was never anything resembling gay rights or gay marriage in ancient Semitic polities. Moreover, if Barber paid closer attention, he would notice that one of the biggest criticisms of gay rights/marriage, legalized abortion, feminism, etc., is that they allegedly reduce fertility rates (e.g., Julius Evola, Pat Buchanan, et al.). The practices involved in Baal worship, those in contention in Barber's column, were used expressly to increase fertility (even if they were wholly unnecessary in any biological sense of reproduction).
Of course, Barber also knows how his Judaic forebears treated these heresies. They eradicated them by force of arms, murdering en masse those fellow Semites who partook in such practices. This is not an insignificant omission from a man who was a professional boxer and ex-police officer. It is the purpose of Barber's linkage.
But sacrificing children should be of no consequence to our resident Christian scholar of modern liberalism. After all, his religion is replete with copious acts of sexualizing and murdering children. If Barber is a serious Christian, he knows how his imaginary boss treated the first born in Egypt during the time of Moses, or for that matter Job's family. And Barber's beloved Lot (oh he of avoiding the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah) did all he could to get out of having sexual relations with the men of Sodom by offering up his daughters as rape fodder in exchange for his continued marital fidelity. And the response of his sweet daughters afterward was to inebriate Lot, have sex with their father, and impregnate themselves. Such is the embodiment of Judeo-Christian family values.
Be that as it may, it is somewhat amusing to discover that my lack of belief in any god (be it some silly statue in Canaan or Barber's) transforms me into a supporter of ritualistic sodomy as a fertility offering. Indeed, I always assumed that sex for non-reproductive purposes was an act of enjoyment, not as a religious rite. As a biological male, I am certain Barber knew this feeling the first time he masturbated, regardless of how guilty he felt about committing (in his religion's interpretation) the equivalent of infanticide against those expelled swimmers that did not make it into the birth canal of his church-sanctioned spouse. Deep down, we all have a little bit of Baal in us.