The Church Has Been The Great Enemy Of Life
by Willian Gayley Simpson
from Which Way Western Man?
AND THIS IS the worst of the matter. The worst is not that the Church has perpetrated upon mankind a pious hoax, and turned the life and teaching of Jesus into a piece of hocus-pocus, an imaginary transaction to counteract imaginary sin to get people into an imaginary heaven. (For there is no such heaven as people picture, and the sins people labor under are mostly of man’s making, and the transaction never took place.) Neither is the worst that the Church has made promises that are utterly impossible to fulfill and that thereby people are lulled into a false sense of security.
It is rather that they are thus led to trifle with the only real Life, with their spiritual potentialities, with the comprehension, the instinct, the sensitiveness, intuition and living impulse, which alone can lift them to heights and hang rainbows over them, and give them stars — in short, give their days on Earth some meaning, some value, some significance.
It is the crime of the Church against Life not only that it promises a life it does not and cannot give, but that it takes away from men the real life they did have, and which might have gone no one knows how far. In the beginning they saw, but led by the Church to believe that doing is not necessary, that Jesus will “fix it up” with God, it comes about that they “see and do not” — as Jesus said of the Pharisees. (Matt. 23:3)
And presently they are not able any longer even to see. They “see and do not” and are not aware that they do not do. They are false and do not know that they are false. They are stone-blind, and it never enters their heads that they are blind. All sense of reality in their moral and spiritual existence has vanished. They live in an artificial world, a world of imaginary values, which cuts them off from all actuality, so that their organic spiritual existence slowly starves to death. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t eat. It doesn’t digest, assimilate, or excrete. Shut off from food and light and air, it languishes and dies. Dies because it never exerted itself, never kicked, or used its fists, or raised its voice, or got up and went anywhere.
It allowed itself slowly to be wound about with grave-cloths, over its eyes, and ears, and mouth, and around its arms and hands, and legs and feet. And now it’s a mummy. People walk around, talk and laugh, but within their breasts all the while is a mummy, a dead thing, a corpse. And presently it rots, and stinks, and infects, and poisons everyone who comes near.
Until today almost our whole society is poisoned — poisoned above all with false values, which make our whole direction false, and the sickness is so prevalent that it escapes notice and is looked upon as health, while the truly healthy man, instead of being recognized as the norm and held up for admiration, is regarded with suspicion and pressed to become sick like the rest.
And it is the Church, with its paralyzing conception “Christ,” that has done this thing. The Church has been the great enemy of the Life of man. In the parable, the sower sowed seed in his field, hoping that it would grow each according to its kind, in fulfillment of the shape and color and strength it bore within itself. But in the night an enemy came and sowed tares in the field. But the tares were not so bad as what the Church has done to the field. With the tares the seed could at least struggle. Some of it might come to be what it was meant to be. But the Church has sterilized the soil, so that nothing would grow at all — so that even the weeds grow sickly.
The Church has taken away man’s belief in his innermost self, which is his belief in Life. It has taken away his struggle, without which there is no growth, no fulfillment.
It has not, as it were, told the seed that it was a life- and-death necessity to struggle — to get its own roots deep down into the soil, to food and drink, and to force its tender shoots up towards the sky, to sun and air. On the contrary, it has told the seed that all this costly and painful labor has been done for it, by another, and that if only the seed would accept this as fact and rest in it, eventually it would be transplanted to another garden and be miraculously transformed into full-grown and perfect flowers. But there isn’t any other garden. Regardless of locale, all life is one. So that the net result is that the garden remains barren and bare. The seed, which might have come to every sort of flower and fruit, comes to nothing. It rots in the ground. And it was this that made Nietzsche to declare that the two greatest stupefiers of the Western world have been alcohol and Christianity.
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