The Rise of Neo-Gothic Christianity and other new Western religions
Introduction: The Second Religiousness

Hello all,

I have been thinking about the prospect of new religious movements for a great while now, and my current study of Spengler has revealed to me his prediction of where we are headed religiously. In this thread I will expound upon his idea of the "Second Religiousness" and apply it to modern Western Civilization, to try and predict what kind of religious movements we can expect in the coming decades.

First, a description of the Second Religiousness, in Spengler's own words:

Quote:Correspondingly [to the elite Roman fascination with imported Asian mystery religions in the Late Republic], we have in the European-American world of to-day [1920] the occultist and theosophist fraud, the American Christian Science, the untrue Buddhism of drawing-rooms, the religious arts-and-crafts business (brisker in Germany than even in England) that caters for groups and cults of Gothic or Late Classical or Taoist sentiment. Everywhere it is just a toying with myths that no one really believes, a tasting of cults that it is hoped might fill the inner void. The real belief is always the belief in atoms and numbers, but it requires this highbrow hocus-pocus to make it bearable in the long run. Materialism is shallow and honest, mock-religion shallow and dishonest. But the fact that the latter is possible at all foreshadows a new and genuine spirit of seeking that declares itself, first quietly, but soon emphatically and openly, in the civilized waking-consciousness.

"This next phase I call the Second Religiousness. It appears in all Civilizations as soon as they have fully formed themselves as such and are beginning to pass, slowly and imperceptibly, into the non-historical state in which time-periods cease to mean anything. (So far as Western Civilization is concerned, therefore, we are still many generations short of that point.) The Second Religiousness is the necessary counterpart of Cæsarism, which is the final political constitution of Late Civilizations; it becomes visible, therefore, in the Augustan Age of the Classical . . . . In both phenomena the creative young strength of the Early Culture is lacking. But both have their greatness nevertheless. That of the Second Religiousness consists in a deep piety that fills the waking consciousness—the piety that impressed Herodotus in the Late Egyptians and impresses West Europeans in India and Islam—and that of Caesarism
[Western Caesarism now being prefigured by the Western Gracchus, Trump] consists in its unchained might of colossal facts. But neither in the creations of this piety nor in the form of the Roman Imperium is there anything primary and spontaneous. Nothing is built up, no idea unfolds itself—it is only as if a mist cleared off the land and revealed the old forms, uncertainly at first but presently with increasing distinctiveness.

The material of the Second Religiousness is simply that of the first, genuine, young religiousness—only otherwise experienced and expressed. It starts with Rationalism’s fading out in helplessness, then the forms of the springtime become visible, and finally the whole world of the primitive religion, which had receded before the grand forms of the early faith [for Western Civilization being Roman Catholicism], returns to the foreground, powerful, in the guise of the popular syncretism that is to be found in every culture at this phase.

But it is not the religious pastimes of educated and literary-soaked cliques, still less is it the intellect, that gives rise to the second religiousness. Its source is the naïve belief that arises, unremarked but spontaneous, among the masses that there is some sort of mystic constitution of actuality (as to which formal proofs are presently regards as tiresome word-jugglery), and an equally naïve heart-need reverently responding to the myth by means of a cult.

Oswald Spengler, Decline of the West (1920)

He goes on to briefly try and guess as to what it may look like in the West.

Quote:"It is perhaps possible for us to make some guess as to these forms, which (it is self-evident) must lead back to certain elements of Gothic [i.e. Early-High Medieval] Christianity. But be this as it may, what is quite certain is that they will not be the product of any literary taste for Late-Indian or Late-Chinese speculation, but something of the type, for example, of Adventism and suchlike sects."

Considering that we are now over a century after the publishing of Spengler's seminal masterpiece, I think that we can look at our own society and more reliably observe which social movements show the promise of eventually blossoming into the West's Second Religiousness. Here is a list of a few recent cultural trends which I believe prefigure the emergence of Western Second Religiousness:
  • A continual growth in the population of primitive and simple forms of Christianity (primarily Evangelical and Fundamentalist groups) along with the continuing decline of the mainline, moderate churches
  • A resurgence in interest in the extremely primal and primitive pre-Christian religious forms in the form of the various Norse pagan/Asatru revival movements
  • A rejection of traditional materialistic Western science, including its authorities, methods, presuppositions, and conclusions, e.g. Flat Earth, mountains are fossilized giant trees, Young Earth creationism, essential oils and other "holistic medicine" stuff, anti-vaccine fears
  • Rising anti-intellectualism in general, particularly among religious types
  • A revival of openly symbolic and spiritual thinking, first initiated by Jordan Peterson and escorted from its purely metaphorical and psychological stage with him to its emerging stage of genuine spirituality by Jonathan Pageau and his ilk

One of my own observations which I will add to Spengler's is that I believe that, when the resurrected primitive Second Religiousness of an old and declining Civilization happens to coincide with the newborn primitive First Religiousness of a nearby young and rising Culture, the religious forms of the latter may influence, profit from, and even colonize the spiritual energies of the former. The classic example of this is how Early Magian Christianity appealed to the Second Religiousness of the Late Classical Romans. As such, I will discuss four possible faiths: one authentically and purely Western, and the other three formed by the contact between the West and three rising young cultures - the Springtime Russian Civilization and the proto-cultural zones of Mexico and the Afro-Atlantic.

The Authentic Western Revival: Neo-Gothic or "Inkling" Christianity and The Faith of the Forest
The core form of the Western Second Religiousness will be a return to the Gothic Christianity of the Early and High Middle Ages, before the solidification of the impressive religious forms of Roman Catholic doctrine, theology, and imagery. I see the seeds of a Christianity which is simple, medieval, Gothic, rural, primordially Western, mythic, and almost pagan in parts in the writings of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, which is why I call this movement "Inkling Christianity" after the name of their literary circle, along with the more proper name of "Neo-Gothic Christianity." Both Lewis and Tolkien are extremely popular among modern Western Christians of all ages and denomination (at least in America), and their words hold great power there. The myths of both writers inspire the soul, they speak to something at the core of the Westerner, and the simple but powerful theology of Lewis helps to tie these new European mythologies into a Christian theological framework.

I believe that Evangelical Protestants and many Catholics will converge into Neo-Gothic Christianity, either explicitly or simply through convergent doctrines, imagery, theology, and worship. Expect a revival in chivalrous Christian folk heroes and folk saints, of small and simple roadside shrines carved into rock, and importantly of the reemergence of The Forest, which is the spiritual home of the Western Man. In much the same way that the Faustian spirit of Western Civilization first emerged simultaneously in both the theology and visions of the Christian South as well as in the poems and sagas of the pagan North, I believe that you will also see a continuation of the Norse Asatru revival in the West. The Asatrists and Inkling Christians shall argue and fight over creeds and doctrines and whatnot, but their fundamental sensibilities and guiding Spirit shall be the same: simple, mythic, unwaveringly faithful, intuitive, manly, heroic, and loving of nature. Therefore, I believe that a form of mutual respect and tolerance will develop, especially as the simple and intuitive Faith of the Forest overcomes the dying and decaying hold of haughty and complex doctrines and dogmas on both sides.

Since the Second Religiousness is to the Spiritual as Caesarism is to the Political, we can expect such a Faith to be empowered by a new monarchical state - a Western Emperor may make very conspicuous and public pilgrimages into the woods of his country, or may commission and fund the creation of new roadside shrines or vast neo-Gothic cathedrals. If Tolkien and Lewis' influence holds strong enough, we may see such shrines and temples adorned with images of Christ as Lion and Satan as White Witch, or Aslan and Eru Ilúvatar being adopted as new titles for Christ and the Father. I feel like this faith will do very well in Finland, finally providing that nation's late adoption into the West.
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The Russian Syncretism: Alaskan Orthodoxy
Spengler identifies Russia as a young Culture in its springtime period, and I agree with this assessment. As such, I believe that Russian Christianity (if it remains the primary religion of Russian Civilization, which is very likely but not completely assured due to the presence of numerous new religious movements in Russia - itself a sign of that Culture's youthfulness) will continue to gain more and more traction among disaffected and religiously-hungry Westerners. I use the term "Alaskan Orthodoxy" because Alaska is the home of the oldest Russian Orthodox Churches in the New World, and a new Russian-style Orthodox movement may very well grow out from there. We will likely see more and more Jonathan Pageau-type converts in the core nations of Western Civilization, who may eventually grow numerous enough to warrant the creation of new Orthodox churches in the Russian style in Western countries. This may lead to some curious visual oddities - English churches with Russian "onion" domes, American churches with painted icons of St. Washington and St. Trump, and so on. We may also see a "Russian faction" working within the halls of power in the (probably) American Empire which will dominate the Caesarist West, lobbying for military aid to assist the Russian in fulfilling his eternal crusade to march into his Holy South and claim Constantinople and Jerusalem. If the aforementioned Neo-Gothic Faith of the Forest fails to take hold in the Catholic margins of the West in Eastern Europe (e.g. Poland, Croatia, Hungary, etc.), then Russian-style Orthodoxy (which will certainly grow and evolve into something as unique and different from the original, Magian, Byzantine-style Orthodoxy as Western Catholicism quickly became) may also simply spread westward in full. On that note, I also believe that Central Asia will become fully Russian (if not explicitly in language and ethnic self-identification, then in all other meaningful cultural measures) and Orthodox, as Islam already has an extremely weak hold there - most of them go so far as to outright ban the wearing of hijab.
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[EDIT: I now also think that the same will happen with Shi'a Muslims, due to historically good relations between Russia and Shi'a states and militants as well as increasing hostility from puritanical Sunni Muslims. Russia will also likely take up the mantle of defending the Orthodox Christians of the Middle East, whose practices will probably shift to being less Magian and more Russian in admiration of their newfound patron. Turkey, with its cultural and linguistic brother states and its southern regional neighbors now under the sway of Russian civilization, will probably eventually shift into Russianness, finally giving the Russians beloved Constantinople.]

The Afro-Atlantic Syncretism: Pentecostal Animism
I believe that there exists an emerging loose proto-cultural zone in the black-inhabited lands around the equatorial Atlantic, including of West Africa, Eastern Brazil, the Caribbean, and the American South. My beliefs regarding the nature of the prime symbol of this emerging proto-cultural zone derive mostly from the essay "The Spiritual Physiognomy of African Man" (found on page 14 of Aidan Maclear's Setting the Record Straight), which states that "the prime symbol of the African soul is the demonic possession." This can be observed most directly in the paranoid and fearful animism of West African culture, in the witch-doctors and evil spirits and bad juju which rule there and are typified in the religion of the Yoruba people. However, it can also be seen permeating African diaspora culture, not just in the African diaspora religions such as Voodoo, Hoodoo, Umbanda, Santeria, and so on, but also in the subtle, day-to-day aspects: the lionization of passionate inspiration and outbursts, how black music centers on improvisation (whether in jazz or in rap), in the black churches with their emotional sermons and cries for the spirit (the Holy Spirit recast as good juju) and the random outbursts of "Amen!" - everything centers around being possessed by a spirit of power, and also on banishing evil spirits (nowadays, the spirit of racism which possesses blacks to make them fail tests, commit crimes, etc.)

Maclear's insights here can be further synthesized with Carl Jung's observations of how negrified much of even nominally "white" American Protestantism was, with the "Holy Rollers and other oddities." We can see in Pentecostal Christianity (which is growing very quickly) a thoroughly Africanized and negrified Christianity, of white men and women reverting to West African-style ritual dancing and chanting of gibberish and summoning of spirits (or Spirit, singular, in this case). Speaking in tongues, faith healing, dancing and flailing and rolling on the floor - this is the Western man who has fled the dried-out rationalist materialism of his aging civilization into the flabby black arms of the wise, clay-eating, good juju-summoning West African village mammy, so to speak. I also see the ravings of Alex Jones and similar paranoid populist-right Christians, speaking of a vast conspiracy by evil gay Nietzschean Nazis to exterminate Africans and sterilize people with various types of bad juju (5G, vaccines, flouride, etc. - these theories also often fixate on a decrease in manhood, eerily reflecting how often African superstitions involve tales of how this or that natural thing or this or that invention of the white man will specifically make your penis shrink) and how the white man's computer is possessed by a demon, as being cut from the same cloth here. It will be interesting to see where this movement goes as Africa becomes more nominally "Christianized" while parts of Western Christianity also become more thoroughly Africanized.

The Mexican Syncretism: "Quetzalcoatholicism" and the New Aztec Death-Cults
Finally, we get to the fourth rising faith which may draw in followers from among the Secondly Religious of the aging West: the Death-Cults of Mexico. Mexico has a very distinct and often bizarre culture, and in many ways does not fit in with the rest of Latin America to its South, which are more distinctly Western in many ways. Although nominally Catholic, Mexico still retains a strong Aztec heritage, and has many unique cultural oddities which often intrude onto the spiritual domain. For the most part, at least from my observation, the parts of Mexican culture which are the most unique and exclusive to it all seem to revolve around death and the dead.

Spengler mentions a "Mexican civilization" in passing in his writings, but never expounds upon its exact nature. If I could try my hand at identifying the prime symbol of Mexican civilization (in which I include the Aztecs, Mayans, and similar contemporary cultures, but not the far older and quite dissimilar Olmecs), I would say that it is the hungry and ever-shifting fractal jungle. Imagine the constant terror of living in the jungle, all of the tropical biomass mixing in and intertwining and intruding onto itself and pressing in on you, potentially hiding a jaguar which could appear and eat you at any time - now you understand the Mesoamerican mindset. Mesoamerican mythology is full of transformations, of constant birth and death, as the jungle is constantly eating, digesting, regenerating and reshaping. Not only was human sacrifice an extremely regular occurrence (in a way that it was absolutely not in any other advanced civilization, or even any primitive tribe), but ritual bloodletting was also mandated for building dedications, marriages, births, funerals, etc. The gods, who are thought of as incomprehensible jaguars of the next dimension, constantly demand blood. The Mesoamerican step pyramid was merely an extra large sacrificial altar. Aztec and Mayan art is always greatly convoluted and complex, to an almost grotesque degree, where everything almost looks like thick, twisting, gore-splattered jungle foliage as seen while on intense psychedelics.
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The imperial Aztecs, the Romans of Mesoamerica, were thoroughly defeated by the Spanish, who ended Mesoamerican civilization in doing so. However, the uniqueness of the area remained, and is now expressing itself once more. This time, however, with the old jungle having been usurped by the concrete jungle and so much of the cultural center of mass of Mexico having shifted northwards into the deserts due to the importance of America and the drug trade, I believe that the prime symbol of the emerging post-Aztec and post-Spanish Mexican proto-culture may indeed simply be death itself. Perhaps it is less so simply death and more so a sort of ever-present Hades (we may even call this worldview Hadean in a Spenglerian fashion), a view of life as a battlefield with significant crossover and intersection with a Tim Burton-esque land of the dead. It is less concerned with the little spirits and juju of Afro-Atlantic culture than it is with the appeasement of various powerful forces and folk heroes in order to wrestle control over the forces of death and to secure victory for oneself.

The most blatant expressions of Mexican death-culture are in the well-known Day of the Dead and the cult of Santa Muerte (lit. "Saint Death" or "Most Holy Death"), a literal death-goddess whose cult has garnered the worship of tens of millions of Mexicans both in Mexico and abroad and led to significant conflict with local Catholic authorities. I think that you can also see the Mexican soul's obsession with death, having shifted from the eternal hunting, killing, and eating of the merciless Jungle to the dry and harsh brutality of the Desert and Hades, in the brutalities of cartel violence and the ease by which Mexicans accept such things. We can also see the distinct uniqueness and brutality of this emerging Mexican culture and its faiths in the veneration of such folk saints as the drug-trafficker Jesús Malverde or Juan Soldado, a Mexican soldier who was executed for raping and murdering an 8-year-old girl and to whom "natural conservative" Mexican "Catholics" pray in order to aid them in crossing the border into the US.

[EDIT: Coming back to this post, in hindsight I now doubt that Mexico represents an emerging young culture. While their relationship to American does bear some superficial similarities to that between the Early Magian Jews and the Late Classical Romans, an impoverished imperial border people does not a Springtime Culture make. I think that most if not all of the aspects of the Santa Muerte cult can be found in Latin Catholicism - Marian Mother-Goddess veneration, memento mori death imagery, Gothic styles, etc. - and lack enough distinctly un-Western core ideas and spirit to be called un-Western. Mexicans also definitely lack the rebellious and exuberant Springtime Zeal characteristic of the Jews of the first century, the Western Crusaders of the eleventh, and the Russian Brotherhood of the twenty-first. To quote Thomas777: "Mexicans got kind of a raw deal. Good Aztec blood got miscegenated with good Spaniard blood, and the end result was a race of drywallers who are kind of perpetually low key and disengaged from life. Its a living rebuttal to theories of hybrid vigor."]

I doubt that these emerging Mexican death-cults and the embryonic Mexican Death-Culture as a whole will garner many Western converts outside of those of Mexican descent or the criminally-inclined, but I think that it will provide a great mythic adversary to the Neo-Gothic Christians of the Caesarist West. I can see young and zealous Western Christian men viewing themselves as inquisitors and crusaders while in actuality being used cynically by the Western Imperium as secret police and enforcers (the popularity of WH40k may indirectly aid in the normalization of this) being motivated primarily by opposition to Mexican death-cultists. Numerous hordes of violent, squat, mean-faced goblinoids, swarming into the Holy Woodlands of the reborn Goth from the cursed southern desert and secretly worshiping foul demons and death-gods in the dark depths of the mighty cities of Caesar's Imperium make too perfect an enemy for the Faithful of the Forest. But of course, given that the dynamic here is analogous to that of the Romans and the Christians, the Death-Cultists will likely endure this persecution and even be strengthened and emboldened by it, if the rising generator of Inquisitors and Crusaders under the West's Caesar fail in their mission. But that is another fight for another age.
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Fantastic thread friend, maybe even the best on this whole forum. You've hit the nail on the head on what I've been seeing for a long while. I've had many a discussion with my girlfriend and her parents, all very traditional catholic types, on why Catholicism needs to become more 'pagan' to succeed (much to their confusion), and you've just come out and explained it.

What are your thoughts on Warhammer 40k? I feel it speaks, just like Tolkein does, for the need of a violent high middle ages neo-catholicism, along with the need of a 'Caesar'.
(02-17-2023, 12:51 AM)Verl Wrote: Fantastic thread friend, maybe even the best on this whole forum. You've hit the nail on the head on what I've been seeing for a long while. I've had many a discussion with my girlfriend and her parents, all very traditional catholic types, on why Catholicism needs to become more 'pagan' to succeed (much to their confusion), and you've just come out and explained it.

What are your thoughts on Warhammer 40k? I feel it speaks, just like Tolkein does, for the need of a violent high middle ages neo-catholicism, along with the need of a 'Caesar'.

Thank you for your kind words my upside-down friend, it does mean a lot.

The Imperium in 40k does indeed speak to the West's rising spiritual desire for a Caesar, an Imperium, and a Second Religiousness of sort, whether the affection for 40k is couched as merely being for a fun product or "cool" lore (the more dishonest case) or is explicit and open in its assessment of the Imperium as "BASED and REDPILLED," edits of Trump as the God-Emperor (the more honest case).

I don't think, althoughever, that the West's Second Religiousness will look like Catholicism. High church Roman Catholicism is the West's grand form of the summertime peak, which Spengler says will melt away with the coming of the Second Religiousness. I don't see much of a future for stuff like the Latin Mass, the grand orders of bishops and cardinals, or doctrines such as transubstantiation or the immaculate conception of Mary. We must look to the primitive, simple, and earnest Christianity of the Franks, Charlemagne, and Boniface. Although I can certainly see future Western Caesars building immense and extremely impressive high-tech cathedrals in Neo-Gothic style, I see the soul of the West's Second Religiousness being centered on the forest shrine.
Have you read Arnold Thronybee? I have heard his work is an interesting derivation of Spengler's ideas, and would be nice to see how your theories stack up against his changes.
How can we play an active role in fostering this movement? I don't know if I agree with your analysis. I seriously doubt Russian orthodoxy will have any influence on the west. I do see the becoming more forest oriented things as a more likely possibility. Yet I don't think it'll just happen- people like us will have to try and steer it. Which brings me back to my original question.

How does one go about steering the energy of the religious? I go to an ethnic orthodox church- there's lots of families but very few people between 19-35. All the young people seem to be at evangelical style mega churches. I'm thinking about joining one in my city. I am involved in a small evangelical prayer group, but it's dominated by some of the most longhoused, banal, geriatric-nursing home minded folks, who'd rather spend hours every day talking about how we need to be obedient to God. That in and of itself is not a problem but it betrays a lack of imagination. This seems to be the primary difference between /our-thing/ and everything outside of us. I say all this to highlight some things:
- our desired demographic - young whites, seem to be in at evangelical mega churches
- the people leading said movements are humdrum

How would one go about building power, and introducing ideas that they've never heard to this demographic?
Starting a 5th column in every church with a sizable population of young men. Go to your church and start an outdoors sporting group. Doesn't have to be male exclusive, but most people drawn in will be men anyways. Activities will be hiking, fishing, shooting, playing sports focus on AMERICANA hobbies. There doesn't have to be an age limit, but it's important to keep the geriatrics church mammy types out. If you start with your friends it shouldn't be hard to keep norwoods out (intimidated by our youthful vitality). Based boomers can tag along if needed. Focus on bringing in as many right wing friends as possible. From here you get your Kóryos, young vital men away from the watchful eye of mammy. Do based bible studies, focusing on our ideas, encourage fitness, reading based books, talking about taking over the world. If the group grows and becomes notorious in the church it is only a matter of time before it becomes disbanded (not inevitable but possible if organizers aren't smart and God fearing). They can try to stop you but the important step has already happened- the Kóryos is formed. Continue to foster the group outside of the church if needed.

The main purpose of this is to have able bodied people who believe in our youthful energetic passionate Christianity. From here focus on individual pursuits of art, fun, and pursuing power in the real world. Using your Kóryos as means to network and coordinate when you guys do your outings. Protestants used to use their churches in this method for coordinating, Jews still do it.

Do not do clownish rallies expressing overt political interests. This will lead to infiltration and subversion of you groups. Be smart! Keep it simple like the boy scouts, and early German scouting movements. From this separation from the mainstream, and colonization of an owned space (outdoor hobbies) we can foster the creation of a new culture. Music, art, writing, stories, philosophy etc. Christianity will be reborn, closer to its intended perfection.

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