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Margaret Atwood and the myth of atheism

It’s often said that the West is “post-religious”, “secular”, or “atheist”—but that’s not true. This idea is an illusion. It’s like a bicycle tyre, you can stand on the rubber and force the air into a bulge but you can’t remove all the air from the tyre—not without a true vacuum.

All you can do is redistribute the air so that the tyre no longer functions as a tyre—there’s no such thing as an “airless” tyre. It’s the same as nature: man is nature knowing itself, man cannot stand outside nature—it’s a misconception that we can do so, an illusion. The same pertains to hierarchy—man is hierarchical, even if you’re an egalitarian you’ll end up using hierarchy to achieve egalitarian aims (KGB, Labour Party) because to do anything you have to have a hierarchy.

Certain people who use a scientific perspective grasped that the West is still religious quite a while ago—if you look at neoreaction, it correctly argues that “atheism” is really a heresy from Christianity, if looked at in “cladistic” terms.

In other words, there are people who suffer from the delusion that they have no religion—but this is also a religion; and that’s because reality requires you to make certain metaphysical assumptions and requires you to use instinct and intuition just to live. For man, life as lived is not rational and scientific—hence his responses, even if he presents them as “secular rational”, will be religious. Man is a religious animal as such.

So there can only be perverted religion, never an absence of religion.

You see this very clearly in Margaret Atwood with her The Handmaid’s Tale (1985). You might think Atwood is an atheist or secularist—but she isn’t, she’s a Christian (of a very particular type).

As related, in that story Atwood portrays the “Christian fundamentalist republic” of Gilead as a cynical ploy—the men who founded it did so on the basis of Darwinian evolutionary concerns, to save the white race. They just dressed up their scientific thought with marketing techniques (the then-current televangelists) in order to bring the bulk of the population with them, that form of popular Christianity being familiar to them.

By contrast, Atwood portrays Quakers in particular as heroically engaged in an “underground railroad” to smuggle “handmaids” (products of the quasi-polygamous system in Gilead) to Canada. The implication is that “Quakers are the true Christians”.

The sincere Christian, not the cynic motivated by racial survival and Darwinian concerns, is a feminist and a pacifist and an equalitarian.

Conclusion: Atwood is a Christian—she regards herself as a “true Christian”, a true Christian being one that practices such self-abnegation that they wouldn’t even say “I’m a Christian”. This is contrasted to false Christians who are hypocrites—being, in fact, concerned with “the first shall be first” (white men) and waging war (Gilead is engaged in multiple wars). Obviously, if “the last should be first” nobody in history has been more last than women—ergo, the true Christian is a feminist.

So, as you can see, it is not exactly that we live under materialism (in the acquisitive sense) and secularism—for example, our societies are materialistic because we’re influenced by America, and America was founded by people who had a religious doctrine that hard work and material wealth “proved” you were saved, were “among the elect”.

So it is not quite true to say “Americans worship the mighty dollar”—although its metaphysical component has been lost or faded into the background, Americans believe that to be rich proves you are “saved” and “among the elect” (this is why Americans accuse each other of being “poor” with recrimination—they have an implicit belief that the poor will go to hell; and this is why Trump is venerated, especially by right-wing Americans).

The basic point is that man is a religious animal—“secular man” is itself a myth, and there can only be perverted religion. Hence it is accurate to say that the contemporary West constitutes an AntiChrist religion—it is still very religious, albeit in a perverted way.


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