Confessions of a Red Pill Addict
written by: Long Hammer
I wasn’t always a red pill addict, in fact until about 1964 I was mainlining blue pills.
I don’t remember taking my first blue pill; I must have been very young. Back then the blue pill was the drug of choice for most people in my neighborhood and, why not; the blue pill is lovely! The pill gives you an optimistic assurance that all was right with the world and things would have a happy ending. This little wonder told you that everyone in authority was both a fount of undisputed knowledge and a truth teller of the highest order. These same wonderful people had the common man’s best interests in mind at all times and worked day and night to ensure positive outcomes for even the smallest problems.
My mom was very big on the blue pill; she gave me generous doses at every opportunity. According to Mom, the old General that was the President when I was a kid was just about the best President we had ever had, except George Washington and Abraham Lincoln of course. She convinced me that policemen were my friends and that they could be counted on to bring me home safe and sound if I ever got lost. Doctors were to be worshipped alongside Ministers of the Church, as they were the cornerstones of the wonderful system that guarded us against misfortune. Life was blissfully happy, secure and tranquil.
Later, Mom enrolled me in public school and I encountered the first bumps in my worldview. While the teachers and staff continued to administer massive doses of the blue pill, I found, much to my dismay, that a few things in life could be a bit harsh. Some older boys wanted to punch you, some kids didn’t want you on their team and teachers suspected you were a dummy.
Mom was very unhappy when my first grade teacher told her that her son was just not that bright and that she should not have high expectations for his future. Having received the official “D” for dummy stamped on my forehead, school life was not much fun. I found myself in the “slow” reading group and in various after school remedial classes. Being “slow” also meant that Mom and Dad needed to prepare me for my eventual life as a working stiff. Wood shop, metal shop and drafting seemed to be the right choices for their boy, forget math and science; they would just be way too much for him. But in the best tradition of the blue pill world, they assured me that I would be extremely happy in my somewhat limited world.
I don’t know when I took my first red pill or who inspired me to take it. I don’t think it was anyone at home or at school. Maybe it was Mrs. Smith, my best friend’s mother. Mrs. Smith was a free spirit. She spoke to us in French and she occasionally needed to go to a hospital for a “rest”. She, unlike the rest of the neighborhood, was a skeptic and most shocking of all, she didn’t think I was dumb. In fact, she seemed to think I was a clever little boy.
My occasional trips into red pill land were a source of distress for the adults around me (Mrs. Smith being an exception). In the first Presidential race I can remember, I listened to the candidates and thought that Mr. Goldwater made the most sense and as such became his ardent supporter at my Junior High. This prompted one of my teachers to inquire about my parents if I was retarded. After numerous reports regarding my slowness and now the added question of possible retardation, my parents sprang into action. A retired school teacher was engaged to test my IQ. The results of the test were unexpected, to say the least. The first test resulted in a score of 120. Clearly, my parents thought, there has been a mistake and so they authorized a second test. The result, an even greater improbability, as the new score was 125. My parents and the teachers, once informed of the results, were baffled. Not wanting to backtrack on their previous estimation of my long term prospects, the narrative shifted from “slow” to “just plain lazy”. Once you’re typecast by the system, there’s no escape it seems.
While the world didn’t change its opinion of my chances in life, I found that the surprising test results had a profound impact on my worldview. The blue pill way of viewing the world was not perfect; it could be wrong and it was sometimes happy to bury the truth. I now found that I wanted to take red pill of skepticism more and more often. Another important development occurred at that time. I met the woman who would someday be my wife. She, like Mrs. Smith, didn’t think I was slow or lazy, just not very serious about things.
My public school days came to an end and I was drafted into the military during Vietnam. Unlike the majority of my friends, I supported the war. Apparently, after swallowing several red pills, I concluded that the US had an obligation to defend South Viet Nam under the SETO Treaty. While my decision to support the war allowed me to join up, I failed to understand I was entering the ultimate blue pill organization.
The official line within the military was always that the US is on the side of the angels and that it could do no wrong. However, my daily contact with the military easily disproved this notion. While pointing out the hypocrisy of the military was like shooting fish in a barrel, I was still a great believer in the American way. It did not occur to me that the civilian government might also be less than honest. The first official issue I remember doubting was the Warren Report on the assassination of President Kennedy. I even took my 22 rifle and tried to duplicate the shots made by Oswald and found them to be impossible.
After my discharge from the military and with the help of my supportive wife, I completed both under graduate and graduate degrees at the local University. This transformation in my academic abilities came after advances in medical science explained that my difficulties in public school were caused by dyslexia, rather than slowness or retardation.
After graduation my professional life began in the public sector. I soon found that government officials lived on a steady diet of goal seeking statistical manipulation and word salad policies. Unfortunately, my habit of skepticism made the possibility of success as a bureaucrat impossible. With the public sector door now closed in failure, I moved to the private sector, where happily I found success. This success, however, came at a price. Recognizing that my failure was largely due to my red pill inspired comments about the mismatch between the boss’s policy goals and reality, I needed to swear off taking red pills and adopt a more optimistic and positive outlook. So I stuffed myself with blue pills concerning corporate America and the benefits of capitalism. However, the blue pill solution also came at a cost. The reality I could see with my own eyes had to be denied or rationalized away. As a result I suffered unending and uncomfortable cognitive dissidence.
At long last, I reached the age of retirement. No longer required to support the blue pill narratives needed to protect my paycheck; I experienced a sense of liberation. An orgy of red pilling commenced. In short order all of the sacred blue pill cows were killed and the conspiracy theories I pondered that seemed to make sense of the world, bit the dust. No meme was left standing. Also gone, any positive thought that someone was in charge or that something would ride to our collective rescue. My new conviction was everything was beyond repair and hopeless.
I created, without really understanding, my own private intellectual moonscape. My extreme red pill inspired skepticism and cynicism had led to a condition known as being black pilled. The black pilled condition seemed to be another way of saying that I’d fallen into a deep dark pit of pessimism. It seems a man can live if his glass is half empty, but he’s real trouble if his glass is totally empty.
I believe my hardcore pessimism is a dangerous mental condition; left unchecked it has the potential for very negative outcomes. So my challenge now is to find the path out of my intellectual dead-end. I must find the thing that breaks the spell of this red pill inspired mental dungeon. I’m hopeful that the first step is to become cynical of cynicism and skeptical of skepticism. I’m thinking if I can abandon my sense of despair and again find hope, I’ll enter the condition known as being white pilled. But how do you attain this blessed state of mind and does it really exist? Looking up from the deep dark hole I found myself in, I can only hope there is an escape route to something more positive.
My natural mental tendency is toward a skeptical point of view. This tendency was responsible for my unbridled use of the red pill after I retired. I also know that I experienced a great sense of relief that I was no longer required to take blue pills in order to conform to my employers preferred worldview. My initial joy in destroying some of the more common blue pill concepts turned to dread once I understood that a red pill addict leaves no stone unturned.
Before my retirement, I had secretly red pilled two widely known stories. The first concerned the attack on the World Trade Center in New York and the mysterious collapse of Building Seven. Later, I deconstructed the story concerning the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. To do my analysis, I used reason, logic and common sense in addition to my inborn skepticism.
The process of discovery regarding the true nature of events is remarkably easy in one sense and remarkably difficult in another. The easy part is a willingness to look for data outside the “approved” information sources. Currently the establishment’s mass media is controlled by a very small number of corporations and they can be relied upon to sing the official tune when it really counts. While the media may spin small details of an event in order to throw red meat to their followers, they all arrive at the same bottom-line. Watching the events unfold in the Ukraine on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX News or PBS netted the same spin and blue pill story.
Uncovering the red pill reality of an event is more complicated. At last count there are about 600 million bloggers in the world and countless unofficial sources of news. These range from the serious to the deranged. Every political persuasion, every “ism”, and every business interest has its true believers and mouthpieces. These folks are very happy to tell you how it “really is”. Sifting out the facts from the self-serving spin, fantasy from reality and just plain craziness is a major challenge. My approach is to gather information from a variety of sources from across the political and ideological spectrum and then subject the various versions of an event to a test based on reason and logic. This process can be exhilarating, but it is also depressing to see how easily some blue pill stories fall apart.
I don’t spend much of my time monitoring the “Attention Economy”. The trends on the various websites like Twitter, Facebook, Goggle and YouTube may be an excellent barometer concerning what’s happening in popular culture, but my impression of the chatter on these sites is that the conversations are based on someone’s propaganda or manipulated factoids or conspiracy theory. The size of the audience for a particular idea is more a question of the power of an “influencer”, rather than the accuracy of the information.
My primary source when looking for my next narrative victim is the various news sites. While all of the networks have potential, CNN is particularly fruitful in providing ammunition for my red pill cannon. These “objective” journalists can be counted on to provide the pure and unvarnished version of the latest officially approved blue pill story from the government or corporate world. There is a certain embarrassment of riches in watching this network if you are looking for juicy blue pill targets. Some of the stories as reported by their talking heads are so obviously false, that they can be discounted almost immediately; however others need a bit more effort to disprove.
Some big blue pill stories have many interlocking parts which are rolled out over time. Interestingly, a new part of the fable does not necessarily need to be consistent with previous editions and can, in fact, be directly contradictory. Sometimes it is of greatest importance to simply remember what the story was last year or even last week.
An example of a really big blue pill story is the state of the world economy. The storytellers in this tale are some of the most important and famous people in the news. Senior elected officials, big time bureaucrats and captains of industry all have their parts to play in rolling out this saga. A major part of the narrative we are expected to swallow is that the problem of too much debt can be solved by creating more debt. This novel solution is the brainchild of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). The theory posits that any government can spend with abandon to create full employment and wide spread prosperity, so long as it prints its own currency. While the United States and the European Union have been in the grip of this fancy for more than a decade, Japan has been using it full blast for more than twenty years. Sadly, many experts believe Japan is coming to the end of the MMT road. The impact of the financial dissolution of the world’s third largest economy is unknown, but likely to be very unpleasant for everyone.
Unfortunately, world governments are not the only parties binging on debt. Financial institutions discovered some time ago that Options Trading, so called “Derivatives” could be a massive source of profit. Today no financial transaction can take place without involvement of some form of derivative. As a consequence, global debt and liabilities are estimated to be over $2 quadrillion. That’s 2 plus 15 zeros. The blue pill inspired wait for a return of the old economic order will be a long one.
Another huge recent blue pill narrative concerns the Covid 19 outbreak. Here the ability to remember last week’s official pronouncement is of vital importance. For example here are some from the past:
“It’s going to be worse than the black plague”.
“It came from the wet market”.
“The vaccine is safe and effective”.
“Take the shot and you won’t get the bug”.
Later, new facts came to light:
“Worldwide survival rate from the Covid virus is 99.905%”.
“Senate investigation concludes virus came from lab”.
“Thousands of vaccine injuries reported”.
“Company reveals it never tested for transmissibility of virus”.
This would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. A great swath of the middle class in the western world has been gravely injured by the rolling mismanagement of the virus outbreak. Instead of following proven time tested and historic procedures for dealing with a virus outbreak, the powers that be decided to throw out the rule book and invent a whole new approach.
When the public saw the confusion and panic in officialdom, some people began to question the narrative and even rebel. Government and corporate officials apparently felt it was necessary to persuade, remind, pressure, lie to, incentivize, coerce, bully, socially shame, guilt-trip, threaten, punish and criminalize in order to gain public compliance. Old remedies were banned and critical voices silenced. All of this so that the public would take a new vaccination, produced in record time and without the benefit of normal testing procedures.
The medical procedures ginned up for Covid 19 and the financial innovations of MMT share common themes, namely magic thinking and the possibility of making a lot of money. The revolutionary idea that a virus strain could be eradicated with a vaccine and the goofy concept that fiat money can be created without limit, are part and parcel of the blue pill world view. I unleashed my red pill fueled criticism of the world because I concluded that slavish devotion to the blue pill worldview is unsafe at any speed. Unfortunately, once you dismantle the blue pill world you are not left with nothing much and if you take it too far you are left with nothing at all.
My red pilling of world events has left me dazed and confused. My love of objective truth and a belief in reason, logic and common sense tells me that blowing up the blue pill world is the right thing to do. However, upon discovering that the people who led us are incompetent, generally dishonest and that their proposed solutions are likely built on fantasy and greed, I have become despondent about the world’s future prospects. For someone who cares about his grandchildren’s future, this is intolerable.
Until my retirement, my red pilling had been confined largely to world events. I went after the big stuff: wars, global financial management, that sort of thing. The type of event that is so big and far away there no realistic chance you can ever alter or change the situation. My sense of powerlessness left me angry and cynical, but I was not yet black pilled. It would take an examination of my own personal core beliefs to finish the job.
From an early age, I would have described my core beliefs as follows: All-American patriot, pragmatics, supporter of the capitalist financial order, believer in the unstoppable advance of technological progress and proud secular humanist.
As a child of the 1950s, I grew up reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at school. My Uncle, who served in World War II as a Marine fighter pilot in combat, was our family hero. Actors John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart were my role models. With these factors in mind, I believed that serving in the military and doing public service was an expected and honorable duty. My parents taught me that pursuit of the “American Dream” was the right priority in life and that “getter done” was the best approach to work. My teachers, steeped in scientific materialism, insisted that science and technology had the answers to life’s problems. They further preached that only ignorant and backward people believed in the supernatural.
Long before my retirement, my over four year hitch as a hospital Neuro-Psychiatric Technician had largely eviscerated my schoolboy love affair with the military. Similarly, my early employment with a State Agency had tarnished my enthusiasm for government service, but, despite all of that, I was still a great believer in the American Dream, our market economy, secular science and I was still an atheist.
After my less than successful employment with the State agency, I transitioned to the private sector. I went to work for a large privately held engineering firm. Recognizing that my recent government employment failure was due to my refusal “to get on board and with the program”, my native pragmatism insisted I turn over a new leaf. I swore off red pilling any directive or policy coming from my bosses. I became a reliable blue pill man and this proved to be a great success. On those occasions when a boss ordered me to jump. My only question would be – “How high?”
My work at the engineering firm brought me into contact with many captains of industry and other movers and shakers. These were the people that made our market economy work and I was proud to be their servant. Admittedly, some of the things I was ordered to do, provoked uncomfortable feelings and pricked my conscience a bit, but the pay was good and I was seen as a great success.
During this period of my life I helped my clients build dozens of high rise office buildings, countless strip malls and many apartment buildings. My clients let nothing get in their way. We paved over pastures, tore down single family homes to make way for shopping centers and drove thousands of pilings into the Salish Sea for new boat moorage. The unspoken, but clear motto of the industry is “greed is good” just like in that old movie.
Property development, the building of commercial and residential space, is the bedrock of our growth oriented market economy. Without it, much of the finance industry would fade away. A wide range of construction material suppliers would vanish. This would be in addition to the 10’s of thousands construction related jobs that would be lost. But it must be asked; how can a society that defines its first business principal as… greed is good, be anything but cruel, self-absorbed, shallow, unjust and imbalanced?
Our market system has created the perfect implementer for this disordered condition, the public corporation. Public corporations seek no other goal than to maximize gains for their shareholders; it is forbidden by law to allow any other consideration, thus the corporation is morally bound to immorality. The world is now in the hands of the public corporations and we are at the mercy of its imperative: profit maximization. Ergo: Greed is good.
Left to their own devises, the public corporations will eventually denude the earth. Their infinite appetite for more resources will eventually collide with our planets finite resource supply. They ultimately will reduce the whole natural order to a desert; despoiled, ravaged, poisoned and profaned.
Upon reaching retirement age, I found myself sitting in tall cotton, as they say. My wife and I have a beautiful home overlooking the Salish Sea. We drive a modern electric powered car and we own all of the latest gadgets and gismos. We can travel the world when those in authority allow it. We have two grown daughters in happy and stable long term relationships and wonderful grandchildren to love. Is this not the American Dream fully realized?
Clearly, I think the answer to the question is yes, but if that’s true, why am I so depressed? Am I nothing but an ungrateful malcontent and curmudgeon… or perhaps is there something missing in the American Dream concept?
Having worked hard for fifty years in order to get all the neat stuff, I discovered that wanting is usually more exciting than having. My beautiful home comes with a nice view; however, it also comes with ever increasing property taxes and insurance premiums. In our current era of planned obsolesce, I must fight a never-ending battle replacing broken appliances and equipment. Long gone are the days when devices were built to last. Also gone were days when things could be repaired at reasonable cost. Now when the mother board on the microwave dies, it’s cheaper to replace the whole unit rather than repair it.
My electric powered car is a technological marvel, it nearly drives itself. It has a sound system that could be used in a concert hall and no less than six cup holders. Unfortunately, when the main battery dies, I will be the proud owner of a big brick on four wheels. Like the microwave, the cost to repair my now dead car will exceed its value. The sensible thing to do when it dies will be to send it to the recycling yard and buy a new one. The story is the same with all my other gadgets and gismos. None of them can be repaired at reasonable cost and in some cases; repairs have been made impossible by the manufacturer. This marketing scheme is the product of evil genius.
For the first fifty years of my life, I was a committed to a semi-religious belief in the materialist concept of the inevitability of unstoppable “progress”. I believed that scientists and technologists could be counted upon to deliver a never-ending supply of new technical wonders, not to mention breathtaking advances in medicine and our understanding of human behavior. Our civilization was clearly marching toward a perfected future in the stars.
Like most students in the 1950’s, I had been thoroughly briefed on Mr. Darwin’s theory and assured that it provided answers to all questions about the development of the animal and plant kingdoms. With the later guidance of Mr. Hawking and others, I was assured that universe was created in a big explosion.
After retirement I started compulsively red pilling all of my previous beliefs. I first examined the materialist theories regarding the blind destiny of matter and the evolution of the universe and all life forms. Using the concepts of the “Intelligent Design” proponents, I concluded that Darwin’s theory has more holes in it than a slice of Swiss cheese. Upon further examination, Mr. Hawking’s Big Bang Theory is, to put it mildly, incomplete. Not content with looking only at these earlier ideas, I went after the current cutting edge concepts in theoretical psychics.
This was truly a descent into a rabbit hole. Science has marched a great distance since Darwin’s time. Astronomers now postulated that there are two trillion galaxies in the observable universe with as many as ten billion rocky planets capable of supporting life. Unfortunately, this new information has prompted the “Fermi Paradox” which asks “Where is everybody?” The tortured efforts of the scientific community to answer this question borders on the fantastic. At the other end of the size scale, is the wild world of Quantum Mechanics. Conditions in the submicroscopic atomic and molecular level are deeply puzzling and seem to be beyond the ability of classic physics reductionist approach. As a result, modern physicists have been very imaginative and devised schemes such as Causal Emergent Theory, the Uncertainty Principal and the Many Worlds Interpretation to explain things.
As we used to say in the military, this stuff is “above my pay grade”. I don’t have the educational background or the intelligence to really understand what these guys are talking about. However it seemed to me as I read the various explanations that their ideas lack confirmation and are waiting for some future scientific advance to validate the concept. Further, at the end of the day, it seems to me that most of their ideas rest in the metaphysical realm.
Back in my school days, I was also instructed in the “scientific method”. You know the process whereby one scientist conducts an experiment documents the results and then shares the new information with other scientists. If other scientists can duplicate the results then an advance, in theory, is proclaimed.
With the rise of a new thing called advocacy science, many scientists don’t bother sending their experimental findings around to other scientist for confirmation. They simply publish their results and declare they have advanced a theory. Some, however, are not satisfied with a simple advance in theory: they declare their finding are “settled science”, which really is the ultimate oxymoron.
Finally we come to my last core belief: secular humanism. I’m happy to report that at least some parts have withstood the red pill attack. I believe it is possible using reason, logic and natural law to devise a system that is ethical and moral without relying on religion or a deity. While it is true that people unassisted by any supernatural force have devised systems that are ethical and moral, many modern people tend to ignore the rules at their convenience. Looking at the amount of dishonesty, criminality and foolish behavior in the world today, it appears that secular authority lacks the horsepower to compel good behavior.
My previously held core beliefs have fallen one by one under my skeptical red pill attacks. When these defeats are added to my cynicism about government, the media and our financial outlook, I have been pushed into a black pill state of mind. Now armed with only my faith in reason, logic and the natural law, where do I go in my search for the elusive white pill?
Earlier in this story, I wrote a very strong condemnation of the concept, greed is good. I wrote this with the expectation that my readers would agree with me. This expectation is based on my belief that greed, like selfishness, trickery and exploitation is condemned by nearly everyone. Why do people around the world in different cultures and throughout history have such a similar concept of decent behavior? I continue to believe, even after red pilling the concept that it is due to an inborn belief in universal Natural Law.
It is my understanding that natural law is a moral and ethical system based on close observation of human nature. Further, it is based on values intrinsic to human nature independent of laws enacted by the State. These moral teachings have been authored by secular and religious authorities since the beginning of written records. The ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks, Romans, Native Americans and modern Secularists have all devised lists. What is striking is how similar the lists are to one another. Murder, theft, greed, double dealing and the like have been condemned by all cultures and at all times.
Why should cultures separated by vast amounts of time, geography and culture agree on basic human decency? I believe it is because it has been hardwired into our consciousness. But that leaves open the question: how did it get there? History informs us there are a number possible explanation for the universal moral and ethical norms.
First, there is the materialist view. Based on Darwin’s Theory of evolution this view postulates that over the immense amount of time, random particles of matter have coalesced into the known universe. This blind process has further organized themselves into all of the environmental systems like air and water and then created plants and animals. Mankind is an advanced product of mutilation and natural selection process. The universal sense of morality and ethics is one of the instincts natural to man given his biological nature.
Next are the Life Force Philosophies: The overall view is that an agent with no morals or mind is responsible for all creation, it is therefore somewhat related to the materialist view. First we have the Emerging Evolution. Here believers see the evolution of plants and animals moving from relatively simple forms to advanced forms due to an unconscious but purposeful and positive striving action. Second, we have the Creative Evolution approach which states that an impersonal but intelligent force guides and brings life into existence and to its eventual perfection. This is the concept underlying “The Force” in the Star Wars saga.
Lastly we have the religious view which envisions a personal creative force behind the universe is something like a mind. It is conscious; it is purposeful and prefers one thing over another. While much of the purpose of its creation remains obscure, one purpose clearly was the creation of mankind. The religious view comes in many variants and is the dominate view held by mankind. While the materialist and various life force philosophies have increased in popularity in recent decades and are thought by many to be something new, they have existed in various forms throughout history.
How does one chose between the competing alternatives? After much thought and internal debate I rejected the materialist and life force explanations because they lack a credible explanation for the tremendous diversity and complex nature of the universe. These explanations are based on a kind of insane simplicity where everything is existence is derived from some simpler form and ignores the many examples of complexity arising without apparent cause. For example, they lack an adequate explanations for the rapid development of the new body forms which occurred during the “Cambrian Explosion “ and for the simultaneous development of complex and interlocking body parts. Related to this, I also reject the emerging evolution explanation because it relies on blind and random force as the motive power for creation. A weakness it shares with the materialist view. Finally, I differ with the creative force advocates thinking that the “force” is impersonal
So having eliminated the materialist and life force explanations, I found myself in the theist camp trying to envision a creator that is personal. It seems to me that the universe must be the product of a force which is intelligent and has a purpose. Further, I believe that the creative force processes a mind that is in some way similar to our own and that mind is responsible for implanting our inborn sense of right and wrong.
Having decided which explanation made greatest sense to me, the next problem is which religious camp I should join. If one takes a global view of the religious landscape you can easily become overwhelmed. The religion of the Vikings, some Buddhist monks, Imams, Native Shaman and Christian Ministers along with many others, all have a personal god or gods. These gods are creative, purposefully and dispense justice. The justice of the Buddhist is subtle and relies on karma and downgrades in reincarnation, while the Jews, Christians and others have places that are either blissful or hideous for eternity. Some of the tribal religions have dead people wandering around as hungry ghosts visiting the living.
While I am certainly not a Theologian or even a knowledgeable amateur, I did my best to study the beliefs and practices of a number of different religious traditions. My first impulses lead me to an exploration of Mahayana Buddhism. I joined a meditation group and attended a number of lectures to learn about the belief system. Perhaps because the religious imagery in Buddhism and Hinduism seemed “foreign” or because I found I wasn’t very good at meditation, I failed to bond with these eastern traditions. However, my greatest reason for rejecting these belief systems was the realization that the ultimately destination for an adherent was personal annihilation.
After my flirtation with religions of the east, my next port of call was to the Swedenborgians. This very liberal and open Christian sect recognizes and embraces other religious traditions and encourages independent thought regarding belief. The bedrock of their theology comes from the writings of an 18th century seer named Emanuel Swedenborg. Like the Mormons, Swedenborg has a very unique vision of Christianity. The sect’s uniqueness proved to be my undoing after reading C.K. Chesterton’s book, Orthodoxy. His basic argument was that religious belief should have many authors and that spiritual claims should be vigorously tested. This insight along my affinity for the writings of C. S. Lewis led me to choose to follow the teachings of the Traditionalist Christians.
For the first fifty years of my life I lived as a secular humanist and scientific materialist. The transition to a Christian lifestyle has proven to be very difficult. Many of the things I routinely did as a secularist were now in the “sin” category as a Christian. Explosions of temper or nasty comments directed at others were verboten. What is worse, I’ve was told that most of my priorities were wrong. I’m no longer encouraged to get rich or strive for more power. I’m supposed to learn to hate the things of the world and focus on the world to come. Most difficult of all, I’m supposed to put myself in the hands of God.
In exchange for making all these changes, I’m promised that I will find hope, but not only hope, but also joy and even laughter. Those are some of the things I want restored after red pilling world affairs and my own core values, which has turned me into a complete pessimist. In order to secure the promised benefits, I must be willing to turn away from my former lifestyle, change my priorities and focus on the world to come, but can I abandon my habitual skepticism and reliance on hard facts. My now habitual doubting undermines the Christian narrative and belief system and my fear of not being in control prompts in me a lack of trust.
Clearly, I have a problem with trust. There are over 7.8 billion people on planet earth at this time and there is only one person on the planet I trust implicitly, my wife of 55 years. The idea of abandoning my self-defense and surrendering to some unknown and unknowable entity is terrifying.
The Church tells me that my reluctance is due to my pride (a serious sin) and that I must take a “leap of faith” into the hands of God in order to receive the promised happiness and hope. I desperately want to regain my sense of hope and to enter the elusive state of being white pilled, but for now, I am a man standing on the edge of the cliff afraid to leap.
For the past decade I have been attending Catholic Mass with my wife. She was born into a Catholic family and received much of her education in parochial schools. As a result her acceptance of the tenants of the faith was seamless and easy. I on the other hand, came to the Church as an outsider and skeptic and I continue to be plagued by doubts. I have succeeded in amending my life to the point that I don’t have much to talk about at my annual trip to the confessional but, I still feel like an outsider looking in.
The church tells me I must take a “leap of faith” in order to get the promised renewed hope that I so desperately want. You must take Jesus at his word, “Be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you and he will provide you with all these other things” (Matthew 6:33). However, when you look more closely at the requirement, it is not really a single leap, but a whole series of leaps. To fully commit to the Christian view of reality you must accept what amounts to a very large interlocking story. It is not as simple as, “accepting Christ as your personal savior”, in my opinion.
In order to move forward in my quest, I decided to take a systemic look at the Christian story from beginning to end. The basic red pill analysis rests on deductive logic. Sometimes called top/down analysis, this way of analyzing things relies on quantifiable, verifiable facts to establish proof. It’s the Joe Friday of Dragnet way to looking at things…”the facts, Mam, just the facts”. So let’s look at the long list of leaps associated with the Christian story.
Leap of Faith #1
There exists a supernatural realm in addition to the natural realm.
Analysis – There is no proof of a supernatural realm beyond the assertions made in the Bible and the other theistic religious literature. The atheists answer the question is, no, agnostics answer the question is, maybe, and theists and pagans answer the question is, yes.
Leap of Faith #2
The supreme force in the supernatural ream is an entity referred to as God.
Analysis – There no proof there is a supreme conscious force in the universe other than the assertions made in theist and pagan literature.
Leap of Faith #3
God exists outside the rules and norms of the material realm.
Analysis – There is no proof there are any other rules other than those found in the material realm as discovered by scientific inquiry.
Leap of Faith #4
God through some mysterious means is the creator of all things seen and unseen.
Analysis – There is no proof that God was the agent that created all things seen and unseen. Belief is based on theist and pagan literature.
Leap of Faith #5
Before God created the natural order he created a supernatural order which includes nine ranks of angels. At the top are the Seraphim and at the bottom are the Angels who are sometimes in communion with humans.
Analysis – #5 – No proof there are nine ranks of angels or any angels at all. However, belief in angels and other otherworldly spirits is widespread both now and throughout history. Reports of angelic visitations are also common.
Leap of Faith #6
After God created the angels he created the universe. A bit later he created the planets including Earth and made it habitable for life.
Analysis – There is no proof God created the earth as a special environment. Belief is based on theistic and pagan literature.
Leap of Faith #7
After God created all the plant and animal life of earth he decided to create a new creature that was a composite angel and animal which we call mankind.
Analysis – No proof that God created man as a special creature. Again, the source of this belief is theistic and pagan literature.
Leap of Faith #8
God’s creation of mankind infuriated many of the angels and one Seraphim, named Lucifer lead a revolt that resulted in a third of the heavenly hosts being evicted from heaven and banished to Earth as devils.
Analysis – There is no proof there was a rebellion in heaven. No proof there is a high ranking evil spirit named Lucifer or that he leads a large army of devils on earth. This belief stems from the writing in the Old Testament used by Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Leap of Faith #9
Once on earth, Lucifer enticed the first humans to disobey God.
Analysis – Once again this is a story from the Old Testament of the Bible. No other proof exists for this claim, but it is the lynchpin for all that follows in the subsequent story, generally referred to as “the fall”.
Leap of Faith #10
Because the first humans disobeyed God they were banished from their earthly paradise and were estranged from God.
Analysis – There is no concrete proof there was an early paradise or that humans suffered banishment, but there are many tales from diverse cultures that talk about a golden age of humanity. The estrangement of God from humans is the reason that Jesus Christ appears later, according to the New Testament of the Bible.
Leap of Faith #11
After a time, God decided to reopen communication with humans and selected the Jewish people as his “Chosen People”. Angels and God himself would from time to time appear to the Prophets of the Jews and provide instruction. As a result, the prophets foretold the coming of a King at some future date.
Analysis – Yes, there is historical proof that there was a small desert tribe called the Jews. Further, their written tradition in the Old Testament attests to their belief in their special status and their communications with Yahweh, their name for God.
Leap of Faith #12
Christians believe the Jewish prophesy of a future King, was fulfilled by the birth of Jesus Christ. Further, they believe that his mother Mary, was free of the sin of first humans
Analysis – Yes, Christians do believe that Jesus Christ is the promised King. There is however no proof that Mary was free of original sin or that the sin ever existed. Documentation in the New Testament and “Deposit of Faith” discuss these issues.
Leap of Faith #13
Jesus is both fully God and fully man. As God he was capable of performing miracles and providing divine instruction and as man he joined human existence and reality.
Analysis – There is no proof that Jesus possessed a dual nature which was both human and divine. However, there is historical proof that a Jewish Rabbi named Jesus did live and preach in first century Palestine. The New Testament states he was a miracle worker.
Leap of Faith #14
Jesus revealed the purpose of his incarnation was to redeem the sin cause by the disobedience to God of the first humans. This redemption involved his voluntary execution.
Analysis – There is no proof concerning his mission beyond the New Testament and Deposit of Faith There is a connection to earlier disobedience of the first humans cited in the Old Testament (Leap of Faith # 9).
Leap of Faith #15
Jesus was executed as he prophesied but rose from the dead after three days. He was seen by many and gave further instructions.
Analysis – Independent documentation from Roman sources regarding his execution do exist. The New Testament and the Deposit of Faith attest to his resurrection.
Leap of Faith # 16
After a brief period, Jesus ascended into heaven and now sits on the right hand of God the Father. Further, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit or Ghost would visit mankind after his departure. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost constitute the Holy Trinity or Godhead. God is therefore a single entity under three aspects without difference or separation.
Analysis – There is no proof beyond biblical sources for the ascension or for the visitation of the Holy Spirit. The concept of the Trinity is exclusive to Christians and not shared by the two other related desert religions, Judaism and Islam.
Leap of Faith #17
At the end of the earth (end of time) Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead. Some people will go to heaven and some will go to hell. A person’s ultimate destiny is a matter of their behavior on earth and their faith.
Analysis – There is no proof that there will be a final judgement or that a supernatural code of conduct exists.
For someone who has spent most of his life using deductive logic for personal guidance these largely baseless leaps of faith are a formable obstacle. I need hard factual data to overcome my doubts, not narrative from ancient literary sources. What are the actual “facts” in this long list of leaps? Answer, they are few and far between. The Christian belief system rests on the assertions made in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible and the very large amount of writing from other religious sources known by Catholics as the Deposit of Faith. Aside from the information developed by the historical Jesus movement there are no other sources.
Unfortunately, it seems that by utilizing my usual method of analysis, I have made the atheist’s case for disbelief. My hoped for relief promised by Christianity has evaporated like a mist. My mental and emotional condition is once again in a black pill state. The leap of faith has now been replaced by a leap into the abyss.
After painting myself into a corner with all my red pilling, I decided it was time to seek some help. I paid a call on a Theologian at the local Catholic University and told him about my doubts and need for more proof to support my fledgling belief.
He was understanding and observed that my dilemma was very common in today’s materialist world. He made the statement that since the advent of Enlightenment Movement about 400 years ago; most people have come to devoutly believe in the ideology of scientific materialism. They believe that they alone are the only people in all of history to understand the world correctly and that everyone else down through the ages is just plain wrong. The name he gave to this state of mind was “modern hubris”.
He then went on to say that since the advent of modern science, the use of deductive logic has been the dominate mode of problem solving, but that in the past inductive logic or bottom/up logic had played a much greater role. He told me that the ancient philosophers had decreed that even without definitive proof, questions can be decidable philosophically.
He recommended that I familiarize myself with the scholastic writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Saint Thomas was one of the most influential thinkers of the medieval period and devised a synthesis of Aristotelian Philosophy and Christian Theology. He wrote voluminously and for me, persuasively on all of the leaps of faith I was having trouble accepting. The Saint’s master work is called the Suma Theologica, and is a tour de force of inductive logic, blending Greek Philosophy with the tenants of Christian faith. My opinion is that his work leads to believable hypotheses about the various leaps.
After digesting some of the Saint’s considerable work, I thought I had found my key for taking the leap. According to the ancient experts, faith is defined as trusting something you cannot explicitly prove and involves two aspects: intellectual assent, and trust which is in agreement with facts. The authority of Saint Thomas gave me both of those things. Unfortunately, as I continued my research I discovered that near the end of the Saint’s life, a strange event occurred.
As he was putting on the finishing touches on his great analytical work he fell into a deep and long lasting state of ecstasy. He described this ecstasy as a supernatural experience of God and a vison of the supernatural realm. After the ecstasy he abandoned work on the Suma explaining that, “all that I have written seems like straw to me”.
This struck me like a thunderbolt. If a man like Saint Thomas, who had spent his entire life writing closely reasoned and logic analysis of the tenants of Christian faith came to believe that all of his work was inadequate to the task of explaining the supernatural … what chance did I have!
After this, I found myself down once more on the canvas, this time perhaps this time for the ten count. Thankfully I found the energy for one more thought. What if Saint Thomas was really saying that logic, be it deductive or inductive, even philosophical discourse is not the right way to learn the truth about supernatural things. When his colleagues asked the Saint more about his ecstatic experience, he said that what he experienced was beyond his ability to explain much less put into writing. Monumental, extravagant, awe inspiring and beautiful were some of the words he used to describe his experience. This brought to mind the bizarre descriptions in the Book of Revelation attributed to the Disciple Saint John.
Like Saint Thomas, Saint John was also given an experience of direct revelation and was shown the future couched in supernatural terms. The result was the nightmarish and obscure visions contained in the last section of the New Testament. I find the imagery and allegorical references in this section of the Bible disturbing and once again above “my pay grade”. As such I have no desire to become a mystic; however I think the information contained in these visions points to just how otherworldly the supernatural realm must be.
With this in mind, I think now there are only eleven leaps of faith that must be taken in order to believe the Christian story. If you can come to belief the first eleven then the trailing six falls automatically fall into place if you are a Christian. The eleven mandatory leaps are as follows:
- There is a supernatural realm in addition to the natural.
- There is a supreme creative personal force in the universe we call God.
- God exists outside the rules and norms of the material realm.
- God is the creator of all things.
- There is a supernatural order of angels.
- God created Earth as a special environment.
- God created mankind as a special creature.
- There was a revolt in the supernatural realm and some angels were banished to Earth.
- Lucifer, the leader of the banished angels, caused the “fall” of mankind.
- God banished humans from paradise due to their disobedience.
- God reopened communications with the Jewish prophets.
I think it’s interesting that all of the Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity and
Islam – subscribe to these eleven leaps of faith as described in the Old Testament. It is the remaining six that separate them. The Jews do not believe the last six because they do not think Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of the coming of a King. The followers of Mohammad consider Jesus to be a prophet but not the son of God. Both Judaism and Islam disbelieve in the Trinity and maintain God is a single entity
So the debate between the three desert religions boils down to the nature of Jesus. I’ve read the New Testament and it tells a surreal and improbable story from a materialist perspective. It is the story of miracles performed, faith healings, the casting out of demons, amazing predictions and, strangest of all, a central character who was born to die for the sins of mankind.
I think the miracles of Jesus and his mission can be believed, if you accept that he is God. We are told by the ancients that God is not constrained by the same set of materialist rules as the rest of us. Further, they tell us that God is the author of the supernatural history only partially known to us. Jesus said, “This is impossible for human beings, but for God everything is possible” (Matthew 19:26).
But, what about Jesus’ claim that he is the son of God, “Before Abraham was born, I am” (John 8:58). No other important prophet or philosopher or sage – Mohammad, Confucius, Buddha, Brahma, Zoroaster – ever made such an outrageous claim. It seems there would be three possible explanations regarding a person that made such a claim: the person is a raving madman, the person is not a heavenly representative but hellish demon, or simply the person is what he claims to be.
When I read the New Testament, I see a man that is clearly intelligent, highly complex and contradictory. Sometimes he is Jesus, “meek and mild”, and on other occasions he is the enraged reformer in the Temple casting out the money lenders. Often he makes beautiful speeches like the, “Sermon of the Mount” (John 6:11), but also makes ironical replies and falls into enigmatic silences when his followers ask questions. Many of his mysterious statements seem beyond this world and our reality.
The story in the New Testament regarding Jesus is clearly very odd, but at the same time also very human. His story is not simple or straightforward, his character is not one dimensional. He is often the saintly philosopher, but at the next moment a prophet of doom for unbelievers. He is a miracle worker that can bring people back from the dead but also a man on a personal fatalistic mission. But as I look at the whole complicated story, remembering my nearly five years of experience as a Neuro-Psychiatric Technician in the military, I conclude he is not a madman or a megalomaniac or an egomaniac.
Concerning the second option, there seems to be too much goodness in Jesus to be an agent of the devil. Evil according to the church is the absence of good. I have observed that if a person follows the rules laid down by Jesus their life will be generally positive and constructive; however if a person does the opposite, their life will be largely unpleasant. As the Bible tells us, “A healthy tree does not bear bad fruit nor does a poor tree bear good fruit” (Luke 6:43).
This left me with the last option, acceptance of Jesus as God.
First, I accept as my authority for my belief the logical and rational work of theologians like Saint Thomas. Their rigorous analysis reveals what seems to me to be the truth. While their analysis does not rest on concrete “facts”, their work does meet the test that some questions can be decided philosophically.
Second, when I think about two strange biblical predictions and a series of seemingly unbelievable stories in the New Testament, I am left with a very strong feeling of supernatural truth.
The first biblical prediction was made by God to the Jews when he promised that they would exist to the end of time. It seems to me the chance that a small, even insignificant desert tribe surrounded by huge powerful enemies, bent on their destruction, would survive to the end of time is highly unlikely. In modern times, these same people have been subjected to ghettoization, suffered vicious pogroms and a holocaust sponsored by the Nazi’s. Yet they are still here and are leaders in the worlds of finance, entertainment and the professions.
The second biblical promise was made by Jesus who said that the church he was establishing would endure until the end of time, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew, 24:35). The church of the Nicene Creed has had many near death experiences. It has been attacked by – the Caesars, the Arians, the Albigenses, the Anti-Popes, the Humanists, the Sceptics, the Scientists and the Modernists. All of these enemies eventually seem to fade away into degeneracy and decay. The church confronts its enemies, defeats them and then soldiers on.
Finally, we have the improbable but apparently true stories contained in the, Acts of the Apostles. Here we are told that a group of poor, rural, uneducated fishermen and a tax collector were suddenly transformed into fearless and supernaturally powerful preachers. This unlikely group, having mysteriously acquired the “gift of tongues” goes on to evangelize a very large number of people and start a movement that has impacted the world for over two thousand years.
The Christian story is in reality the greatest but at the same time the most unlikely story ever told. The audacity of the act of faith demanded by the church is breathtaking. The church and Jesus himself calls all the difficult mental leaps necessary to enter the Kingdom, “The Mystery of Faith” (John 6:54). There is I think, a subconscious assumption for most people that there is a meaning and direction in the universe. This leads me to believe there is something marvelous behind the cosmic curtain which cannot be denied.
Lacking a better or more complete explanation of this mystery, I stand nervously at the edge of the cliff called the, “Leap of Faith”. I hope I don’t land at the bottom with a thud and that I finally find that elusive white pill. Here goes…..Geronimo!
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