Hellfire and Brimstone
In the December 1982 issue of National Vanguard, a letter-writer asks Dr. William L. Pierce whether an evolutionary morality, that is, a morality based on race, is capable of being embraced by our people. Christianity, after all, has the threat of eternal damnation of one’s soul if he or she does not believe. What punishment, if any, can a race-based morality provide to those of our people who’ve given up on the Christian faith? Dr. Pierce’s answer is provided below.
IN THE OCTOBER issue Dr. Pierce has, indeed, shown that his “A New Morality for Us” is more unequivocally on the side of our race than is Dennis Whiting’s “One Morality for All,” but one must wonder if his appeal to an “underlying purpose of all life” is less of a theological concept than Whiting’s Christian deity. Most people of our race, after they have lost their Christian faith, are not ready to be bemused by any notion of evolutionary purpose; rather, they quickly devolve to the kind of mad-dog individualism, extolled by libertarians, which is as much to blame for failure to defend our race as is misplaced altruism.
Christianity, at least, was brutally blunt in its reason for commanding faith: Believe or your soul will endure eternal torments in hell. What threat (or promise, for that matter) can be presented to those who do not see why they should care about the fate of their race now or ten years from now, much less, say, a hundred years after their deaths?
Little Rock, AR
William Pierce’s Reply
Two interesting points are raised: To what extent has the Christian theology of punishment and reward been responsible for the moral behavior of Whites in the past, and how can a new morality be imposed without a similar theology?
It is true that a century ago, when the West was almost entirely Christian — and most Christians were White — a generally higher standard of personal conduct was met than today, when Christianity has lost both its status as a predominantly White religion and a substantial portion of its former White adherents.
It is also true that many of those who have shucked off the old Christian superstitions today are worse-behaved than their contemporaries who still adhere to Christianity. Everyone has observed those unlovely individuals who have used their liberation from Christianity as an excuse to “liberate” themselves from every moral restraint on their behavior and every responsibility to anyone but themselves. Most of these call themselves “libertarians” or “elitists,” but, unfortunately, some have attached themselves to our camp, where they clearly do not belong.
I do not believe that this problem is primarily one of theology, however. In the past, fear of fire and brimstone may have had some effect, but it was almost entirely restricted to ritual. That is, visions of hellfire may have helped church attendance a bit on Sunday morning and persuaded believers that it was important to memorize the Lord’s Prayer or to know when to genuflect. But it was not the principal determinant of their behavior.
Morality was much more strongly supported by social rather than by religious sanctions. A man felt it was important to keep his word because he wanted self-respect and the respect of his neighbors, not because he feared eternal damnation. Sexual behavior was more discreet for the same reason: A girl valued her virginity, not because she thought it would improve her chances on Judgment Day, but because she was concerned for her reputation in the community and her marriageability.
The same principle holds today: It is social custom and peer pressure, not Christian doctrine, which directly determine the morality of Christians; doctrine acts only indirectly.
As an example, consider the U.S. tobacco industry, which is centered in the Bible Belt. No Christian theologian can sincerely condone the production and sale of a habit-forming, carcinogenic drug, knowing that such activity condemns tens of thousands of other Christians to an agonizing death every year. Yet I would bet that close to half of the tobacco company executives who lobbied vigorously to keep cancer warnings off the cigarette packages they sell are churchgoing Christians. I know that most of the farmers who grow tobacco and sell it to the cigarette producers are.
These people, many of whom consider Playboy magazine sinful, go about their deadly business with apparently untroubled consciences. They do so because the community, primarily for economic reasons, tolerates it, and the churches, unwilling to buck long-established custom, have not explicitly condemned it. Fear of hellfire might keep a lot of them from spitting on a Bible or wearing hats in church, but not from earning a living in a way which is enormously harmful to the health of their fellow citizens.
One may condemn them for moral obtuseness, but that misses the point. Most men are and always have been morally obtuse.
The point is this: Morality suffers today, not because many Whites no longer believe in the heaven and hell of Christianity, but because the social order is crumbling under the impact of “pluralism.” A religion may supply the basic moral imperatives to a society, but it is the society itself which translates them into the behavior of ordinary men and women. If Western society were still racially and culturally homogeneous and the social order strong, people would guide their behavior according to the accepted social norms, whatever they happened to be, with or without the threat of hell.
Likewise, until a new social order is established which institutionalizes a race-based morality, many who pay lip service to such a morality will, in fact, not actually guide their lives by it, but instead will continue to live amorally. Once such a morality has been institutionalized, however, theology will play a relatively minor role in determining behavior.
In conclusion, religious doctrine is of fundamental importance in determining which values, beliefs, and behavioral norms become institutionalized in a society, but social instincts are much more important than any theology of reward and punishment in compelling men and women to lead moral lives.
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From the December 1982 issue of National Vanguard magazine, edited by Dr. William L. Pierce