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Reblogged:Delusion Rises Again in Asbury

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I have been seeing media mentions lately of a religious revival/marathon prayer session in Kentucky. This story about it at Bari Weiss's The Free Press is good for getting up to speed on it.

As I often do these days, I checked to see whether Ayn Rand might have predicted or commented on phenomena like this in the past. As usual, I was not disappointed in her perspicacity.

I am also not surprised: Our culture has been in a stalemate/slow decline for decades. Seeing history repeat itself is to be expected, and, barring a pro-reason turn of the tide, is a best-case scenario.

Consider the following passage from the print adaptation of her 1960 lecture, "Faith and Force: The Destroyers of the Modern World:"
In the light of what followed [the Renaissance] -- most particularly, in the light of the industrial revolution -- nobody can now take faith, or religion, or revelation, or any form of mysticism as his basic and exclusive guide to existence, not in the way it was taken in the Middle Ages. This does not mean that the Renaissance has automatically converted everybody to rationality; far from it. It means only that so long as a single automobile, a single skyscraper or a single copy of Aristotle's Logic remains in existence, nobody will be able to arouse men's hope, eagerness and joyous enthusiasm by telling them to ditch their mind and rely on mystic faith. This is why I said that mysticism, as a cultural power, is dead. Observe that in the attempts at a mystic revival today, if is not an appeal to life, hope and joy that the mystics are making, but an appeal to fear, doom and despair. "Give up, your mind is impotent, life is only a foxhole," is not a motto that can revive a culture. [bold added]
And here's an example of what I observed in the article:
coke.jpg
Some ways of seeking momentary relief from hopelessness are more obviously harmful than others. (Image by Colin Davis, via Unsplash, license.)
"I can see and feel the heaviness of the people around me," says [Asbury freshman Ava] Miller, who grew up in Wilmore. "You just feel that heaviness. As a believer, I've gotten to experience the freedom of getting to live in that hope, and I think hope is something that extinguishes that fire of darkness."

The past few years have felt extra dark, after two years of Covid disruptions and a life moved online even more than usual.

"There's just a lack of hope that seems to have been struck up with the younger generations," says Carter Hammond, a 23-year-old Asbury student, about the impact of Covid. "It just creates this environment that seems kind of desolate."

Hammond says he's used to seeing his peers pull out their phones at mandatory chapel services. "‚ÄčAnd to see the total opposite of that happening is really, really cool." [italics in original, bold added]
People often have no idea how well they have it -- both because they do not have a rational, pro-life philosophy to begin with as Rand argues and because so much human progress has been forgotten.

Without the former, there is no way to intellectually understand or emotionally appreciate the latter -- and so you see the people who in a sense never "picked up" their own minds put away their minds along with the phones they were misusing in the first place.

That last paragraph really is symbolic, but whether you see that as a good thing or not will depend on your view of man and the importance of reason to his survival: Calling this event a "revival" is quite ironic from where I stand on those matters, and for more than one reason.

-- CAV

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