Dark Brightness

Bleak Theology: Hopeful Science

The pretty lies of Chultu [Jer. 7]

Our society has a series of pretty lies. I have two passages here — one from last August, and one from Jeremiah. Both talk about the lies of their time. In the first we must equalize the oppressed by making shit up. We have to emphasize the achievements of the weaker, and disavow the routine nature of these among the superior.

We must obey the lies of Chulthu: we must swim to the left. Be it social justice, global warming, or the whatever the moral panic of the day. Because we are good, we are in the congregation of those accounted as pillars of our society.


What has gone horribly wrong, however, is that societally we have come to “believe our own bullshit” as the saying goes. That is, what began is a kind of good manners—don’t rub women’s noses in the fact that men invented the automobile and everything else—has now reached absurd levels of denial and false counter-narrative. Now we are actually expected to believe the equality thesis even when our eyes see the opposite every day. (Again, this is a perverted idea of equality, but I won’t go into that now.)

The way this plays out in every day conversation and discourse is, we emphasize, exaggerate and even outright make up ways in which men are bad. And we deemphasize, downplay, and even outright deny the ways in which women are or can be bad. Tear down the strong, build up the weak. The initial impulse to do so is again good manners, coupled with the idea that our belief in the moral principle of equality demands as much. But naturam expelles furca, tamen usque recurret. No matter how much we try to equalize the sexes, natural inequality keeps reasserting itself. So before long it’s evident that it’s not enough for men to be a little deferential and to help out the ladies on the margins. No, we have to actively tamp men down and actively prop women up. And even that doesn’t equalize things. So the pressure is always on for more, more, more. More punitive actions against men, and more subsidies and AA and so on for women. What Dalrock calls the “massive pumping operation” to level the waters. Even with the pumps running 24/7, the waters still don’t even out fully.

Jeremiah gets us on a different place. Because we belong to a congregation that has a history, where good things have happened, and mighty works have been done over the last century, it does not mean that we will continue.

God destroyed Shiloh. He let the Romans demolish the temple, and there are many megachurches that are now in ruins. What matters is that we are faithful: that we obey the commands of God.

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Stand in the gate of the LORD’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the LORD. Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.’

“For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever.

“Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations? Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the LORD. Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it because of the evil of my people Israel. And now, because you have done all these things, declares the LORD, and when I spoke to you persistently you did not listen, and when I called you, you did not answer, therefore I will do to the house that is called by my name, and in which you trust, and to the place that I gave to you and to your fathers, as I did to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I cast out all your kinsmen, all the offspring of Ephraim.

(Jeremiah 7:1-15 ESV)

I know I am repeating myself: however I consider repetition useful. It hammers points home. We need to reform our lives. The pretty lies are there, and we get infected by them as surely as I managed to get the fresher’s bug last week.

We start believing we can make people better. We forget we are limited: we have a biology that means we break — our span is 70 years, 80 if we have the strength and a good GP, and we probably will max this out among the elite at around 90 — 100 (after then dementia or prostate cancer gets all the men). In the same way, the bell curve for talent is broader among men than women: although I am skeptical about “G” intelligence I am quite aware that there are a lot more geniuses and morons who are male.

We try to blame each other for what is merely good luck. We believe that we are in control. We are not.

And we try to deny that God is living, active. We are afraid that God will interfere: we would rather believe that the world is mechanical and meaningless than consider what it means to fall into the hands of a living God.

Moreover, we believe that we can keep reality at bay. That the world will wax progressive: (we may despise “Whiggish history” but Marx believed in progress with a zeal they did not share) while we try to destroy the foundations of a functional society.

At present, the elite call out their credentials. Believe them as much as Jeremiah believed those who put their faith in a building. Chulthu Lies. Believe him not.

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