The secular progressive left does not hate religion. (Wait for murmuring of disbelief to subside). They just hate Christianity. This is clearly evidenced in their embracing of other faiths, often referred to as “indigenous”.
Example. Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a debate at the Rio Theatre on Commercial Drive featuring Ben West of the Wilderness Organization and Ezra Levant, conservative activist, commentator and author. The two were debating the contents of Levant’s new book, Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada’s Oil Sands, with West arguing vigorously that the government should force populations to became “green” and begin weaning Western civilization off of oil, while Ezra Levant argued that since there is no viable alternative (besides, he added snidely, “pixie dust”) to oil presently, then those who need to purchase oil should do so from the most ethical source, highlighting the relatively low emissions of carbon from the Alberta tar sands and the various human rights violations of Canada’s oil producing competitors, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela.
The crowd was extremely hostile (with the noted exception of myself and several of my conservative leaning friends), and persistently shouted and booed Levant throughout the debate. When a question on First Nations impact was presented to the debaters, Ben West, in contravention of all debate rules, took the opportunity to invite one of the hecklers, a young aboriginal man who referred to himself as “Gitz Crazyboy”, on stage to lecture Levant on his insensitivity. It was for the most part the usual tripe one hears from professional activists of Crazyboy’s ilk, but one of his statements, and the crowd’s reaction to it, really stood out for me. After trotting out a number of accusatory statements referring to the loss of hunting grounds and aboriginal sovereignty, he began to talk about the sacred teachings of indigenous spirituality/religion, saying that these had been passed down for generations and that these sacred teachings had been violated. The rowdy attendees, who had yelled various unflattering epithets at Levant throughout the debate, grew respectfully silent and instead of mocking Crazyboy for infusing spiritual/religious claims into his diatribe in order to support his elusive thesis, murmured affirmation.
Picture an opposite scenario: while making his case, Ezra Levant states that the God of his Judaism is opposed to the murder of Hugo Chavez’s Venezuelan regime, and condemns on religious grounds Iran’s policy of murdering dissidents and those of other faiths. The radical environmentalist humanists would have promptly laughed him off the stage and accused him of applying irrelevant religious beliefs to a secular debate. And that would only be a start, as we have seen time and time again across North America during the last several decades. They might have even tried to start their own branch of the ACLU in order to determine whether or not they'd been discriminated against.
While leftists struggle to purge any mention of “God” from the public square and public life, prime ministers and other high ranking politicians frequently have aboriginal “prayers” and spiritual cleansing ceremonies and a variety of other religious practices enacted at official events. While public prayer remains illegal in institutions of public education, my aboriginal studies class at the University of the Fraser Valley was opened each week by an aboriginal prayer to the Great Spirit, conducted by instructor Gwen Point, who is incidentally the wife of British Columbia’s lieutenant general, Stephen Point. She was also asked to perform these prayers at several BC Liberal events during that same semester.
Imagine a Catholic professor attempting a Catholic form prayer, or an Anglican leading his class from the Common Book of Prayer, or an evangelical praying with his class. Any number of “civil liberties” lawyers, university officials and public figures would be bellowing their disapproval and hastening to right this insidious wrong.
If atheists and humanists and others who regularly employ their anti-theocratic disdain on the Christian population at large find religion to be ridiculous, then why do they feel that aboriginal religions and spirituality have any more credence? If they simply believe that religion is the result of humanity’s irrational desire to have unanswerable questions answered, than how does aboriginal spirituality, which compared to Christianity has accomplished far less, historically speaking, somehow manage to insert itself into hundreds of public occasions and gain the respect of smirking leftists?
The answer, of course, is that the left is far more “anti-Christian” than they are “anti-religion.” Eastern mysticism and cultic practices have also been widely accepted and even practiced among modern “secularists”. While Christianity is regularly mocked in university student newspapers across the country, an article by Graham Templeton of SFU questioning the value of the Dalai Lama’s contribution to humanity had him instantaneously labeled as a racist and a bigot. The secular progressives don’t necessarily have a problem with a “God”, per say, they just want a God who lets them do more stuff.
This was described beautifully in Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism, which was written at the tail end of the 1970’s and describes the rise of narcissism and its relationship with hedonism and inevitably, nihilism. Christianity is a religion that is centered around God, not human beings. Narcissism is essentially the worship of self—hedonism, the relentless pursuit of anything that provides one with pleasure, inevitably results from this. A faith with values that highlight self restraint and self sacrifice hardly fits into the narcissistic world view that has taken over society since the end of the 1960’s, as human beings who deny any divine origins seem to think they were placed on earth to orgasm and vomit on themselves in a nightclub and find the very idea of restraint to be “unrealistic”. Secular progressives hold often hilariously ironic views—these are people who think that governments can force societies to end poverty and change the climate, but think it “unrealistic” to ask young people to keep their pants on.
While secular progressives would have you believe that they are rationalists or humanists, in actuality they don’t have a problem with religion at all. They merely want to worship a god who allows them to indulge in every pleasure that their whims dictate.