[A new statute with horns and tentacles erected in honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg on top of NYC Court house]
What are the causes of the ascendancy of irrational cancel-culture spirit in the colleges, the imposition of sexual policies which undermine the traditional family in wider society, the breakdown of social norms leading to eruption of violent street crime, and the ferocious hostility directed against Judeo-Christian values by the American elite and Woke activists in the USA today? I have for years tried to impress friends who asked me this question that there is no rhyme or reason to the tragic disintegration of what was once a great civilization – these are the symptoms of a “spiritual disease.”
At one level, my answer identifies the root problem. I am aware of the prescient warning given by the American Puritan, John Winthrop who charged his compatriots in 1630 to fulfill the responsibility being raised by God as “a city set on a hill” – “For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world…But if our hearts shall turn away, so that we will not obey, but shall be seduced, and worship other Gods, our pleasure and profits, and serve them; it is propounded unto us this day, we shall surely perish out of the good land whither we pass over this vast sea to possess it.” In other words, their failure to uphold their covenant with God will lead to them becoming a public spectacle for all the world to see.
However, as an observer living outside the USA, I found difficulties spelling out in a concrete manner what comprises the “spiritual disease” that is afflicting the American society. Hence, my answer remains unpersuasive because of its vagueness and lack of specificity. I was therefore pleasantly surprised when I came across an article by Naomi Wolf, “Have the Ancient Gods Returned” which offers a coherent and in-depth analysis of the cultural implosion and the social disintegration that is unravelling right before our eyes. Mind you, Wolf is a public intellectual with whom I least expect to agree with as she is one of the icons of feminism, and a left-wing activist working with the highest political leaders of the country. I have naturally assumed that she would be sympathetic to the anti-Judeo-Christian sentiments that are pervasive among the American elites. However, it seems that she had an epiphany of the dark forces that are energizing the activists who seek to destroy the Judeo-Christian foundations which made the West a great civilization. Her article is well worth reading.
Given below are some excerpts from the article.
In an essay last year, and in my book The Bodies of Others, I raised a question about existential, metaphysical darkness.
I concluded that I had looked at the events of the past three years using all of my classical education, my critical thinking skills, my knowledge of Western and global history and politics; and that, using these tools, I could not explain the years 2020-present.
Indeed I could not explain them in ordinary material, political or historical terms at all. This is not how human history ordinarily operates.
I could not explain the way the Western world simply switched, from being based at least overtly on values of human rights and decency, to values of death, exclusion and hatred, overnight, en masse — without resorting to reference to some metaphysical evil that goes above and beyond fallible, blundering human agency…
What we have lived through since 2020 is so sophisticated, so massive, so evil, and executed in such inhumane unison, that it cannot be accounted for without venturing into metaphysics. Something else, something metaphysical, must have done that. And I speak as a devoted rationalist.
I concluded that I was starting to believe in God in more literal terms than I had before, because this evil was so impressive; so it must be directed at something at least as powerful that was all good.
[Naomi Wolf then refers to the book by Jonathan Cahn, The Return of the Gods]
In The Return of the Gods, his improbable, and yet somehow hauntingly plausible thesis, is that ancient dark and metaphysically organized forces, “the Gods” of antiquity, have “returned” to our presumably advanced, secular post-Christian civilization…
Pastor Cahn makes the case that the ancient “gods” were initially, in essence, put on the defensive, as the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) recounts, first by Yahweh, and by the introduction of monotheism and the revelation of the Ten Commandments; and then that they were vanquished altogether and sent into outer darkness, by the arrival to humanity of the being whom he sees as the Messiah, Yeshua…
Cahn rightly points out that the Hebrew Bible refers to what in Hebrew is rendered “shedim” or negative spirits (in modern Hebrew, this word means “ghosts”). Cahn correctly points out that these spirits, powers or principalities were worshiped in the pagan world in many guises — from the fertility god Baal to the goddess of sexuality Ashera or Ashtaroth; to the destructive idol, Moloch. He rightly points out that the ancient world was everywhere consecrated to these dark or lower entities, and that worshippers went to the point of sacrificing their own children to propitiate these forces.
He correctly reflects the central narrative of the Tribes of Israel as alternately embracing Yahweh and his Ten Commandments and ethical covenant, and finding it all too taxing, and thus falling away to whore after these pagan gods. He notes that the gods of the Old Testament world descended in updated guise into Greco-Roman life, taking on new names: Zeus, Diana, and so on.
He correctly notes that the Septuagint, the early Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, rendered “shedim” as Daimones. This word is rendered also as “spirit personifications;” we receive this word in English today, as “demons.”
Having accurately traced the lineage of pagan worship and pagan forces, Cahn makes the case that they were never overcome by the embrace in the West of Christianity; but rather that they were pushed to the margins of Western civilization; weakened by our covenant with YHWH, or with Jesus, depending on whom we are.
He argues that these negative but potentially powerful forces have been dormant for two millennia, by the Western Judeo-Christian covenant. And that they have now taken this opportunity, of our turning away from God, and they have returned.
We, thus, are the house that has been cleaned — by the covenant with the Judeo-Christian commitment. But we subsequently abandoned the house, he maintains, and left it vulnerable; open, for negative energies to reenter. [This is a reference to Matt. 12: 43-45]…
In the Old Testament, it is not “ha-Satan” who is the most fearsome, treacherous, dangerous of figures. It is rather, “the Gods” who are the seductive abominations — that is to say, the ancient, pre-YHWH, pre-Mosaic, pre-Christian gods: our old adversaries in the Hebrew Bible — YHWH’s adversaries: Baal, Moloch (or Malek), and Astarte or Ashera.
Those are “the Gods” that traduced, lured, hounded, bedeviled, and seduced my people — again and again. Those are “the Gods” about whom this extraordinary innovation in the human story — the monotheistic God of all – continually, specifically warns us; warns the Children of Israel…The sheer amoral power of Baal, the destructive force of Moloch, the unrestrained seductiveness and sexual licentiousness of Astarte or Ashera — those are the primal forces that do indeed seem to me to have “returned.”
Or at least the energies that they represent — moral power over; death-worship; antagonism to the sexual orderliness of the intact family and faithful relationships — seem to have ‘returned,’ without restraint, since 2020.
There may well indeed be negative forces reappearing, or emerging into daylight from out of their less visible domains, who we, after two millennia of Judeo-Christianity, have literally forgotten, at least in Western civilization, how to identify. It may well be that these negative forces are highly complex, extraordinarily powerful, and stunningly well-organized.
It may indeed be the case that they have swept themselves back into our “house” in the West, and emerged visibly in the past two years.
I do believe that they were able to do so because we dropped our own end of upholding a basic covenant with God.
After having gone back to the Old Testament, it is clear to me that YHWH warned us that this could happen — that we could easily lose his protection and break the Covenant…
God’s covenant has in fact largely protected the West, and that we have had His blessing for so long that we have taken it for granted; and that in the last few years, we have released our hold of God’s covenant – and that God has simply, as He warned us in the Old Testament that he could — withdrawn; and left us to our own devices — so we can see for ourselves how we will do when we depend on humans alone. In the absence of God’s covenant and protection in the West, great evil is flourishing…These dark forces now freed into the world around us, feel like the way the world must have felt before Moses ascended Mt Sinai; before a baby was born in a manger.
They feel again like the pre-monotheistic past; like the world the Hebrews confronted, when the Word of God was first revealed to them. It feels again like the ancient world that continually tempted the Hebrews away from the hard, rigorous, daily, demanding practice of morality and of adherence to the Ten Commandments. It feels again like the ancient world felt, being as it was under Baal’s, Moloch’s and Asherah’s dark, inexorable, complex and antihuman rule…
That is to say: it was — and now it is — a world in which humans did not, do not matter. It was – and now is – a world in which children can be slaughtered by their parents, or by the Authorities. It was – it now is — a world in which slavery had and now has no moral valence. Lust and greed were — and now are again — everything. God was not then fully present — and now I argue, as Pastor Cahn argues, God has withdrawn.
The commitment to Judeo-Christian norms and values, which have been the hallmark of the West for two millennia — even when we fell far short of them — has fallen apart altogether…
All of that changed seemingly overnight.
Pastor Cahn notes that Jesus identified Satan alongside the “Daimones.” Pastor Cahn refers to these ancient gods, powers, as well as the more modern “Satan,” together, as the “anti-God” forces.
As such, I do feel that this is with what we are grappling and terrifyingly so. Since 2020 the world, I feel, has been bathed, infused, bombarded even, with intensely powerful energies that are totally unfamiliar to us in this generation, but that may derive from a pre-Christian, pre-solidly-Jewish time, a time when early Judaism was struggling with the seductive and oppressive entities that always sought to seduce the Children of Israel away from the monotheistic truth, the One God.
The ancient “shedim” are the only “principalities and powers” I can imagine that are capable of manifesting a national, and now a global, network of policy advocates, social workers, graphic designers, Members of Parliament, who are all on board with an escalating euthanasia death cult. The ancient “daimones” are the only entities I can imagine powerful enough in just two years and a bit, to destroy families, to ruin sexuality and fertility, to make a mockery of human rights, to celebrate the end of critical thinking, to march us all in lockstep to worship of technocrats and technocracy; medical cultism and an orgiastic cult of self- and other-annihilation. [This brings to mind Paul’s references to “Principalities and Powers” in Eph. 6: 12 and Col. 2: 15]
And — I must notice — if these “shedim” or “daimones” are powerless — why are their symbols reappearing everywhere? I used to see fundamentalist Christians who warned of Satan lurking in rock and roll, as fanatics. But what I myself am seeing around me, I cannot unsee. [Note the photos of the ceremonies of contemporary Western official events given in the article which confirms the rebirth of pagan gods and “shedim” in the West today.]
And that this — the absence of the protection of our God – the ascendancy of a realm on Earth of us doing it all ourselves; regarding ourselves; worshiping ourselves, whoring after only human works; releasing ourselves from all lawful constraints, embracing all lusts and all obedience to non- divine authorities; rejecting mercy; celebrating all narcissisms; treating children like animals whom we own, treating the family like a battlefield; treating the Churches and Synagogues as marketing platforms — this is, indeed what the realms of pagan darkness; or of Principalities and Powers – look like.
This may, indeed, be what Hell itself looks like.
[Post-script – Shall we expect Naomi Wolf to be cancelled anytime soon?]