When religion goes, other religions take its place. They mimic the forms and formalities of it without the substance. They are faiths without any gods, but ourselves, and without any devils, but ourselves.
Confronted with the religious terror of Islam, the post-religious faiths of the free world act out a
godless religious drama in which they take turns playing all the old religious roles without the religion. The most pernicious of these is the martyr to the morally superior high ground of humanism.
Faced with sectarian violence, they retreat into a universalism that no one else shares. "We feel your pain," they cry. "Our children are just like your children." If that feeling were reciprocated, it might mean something. But it isn't. Instead it's another act of pointless humanistic martyrdom.
A morally superior society doesn't clamber onto some universalist moral high ground. It isn't infinite restraint in war that makes one society superior to the other. That's a recipe for the eventual extinction of everything that society has to offer, to itself and to the world.
The elements that make one society superior to another are to be found in its culture, its arts and its sciences, in its religious inspirations, its engineering feats, its medical research, its poems and songs, its roots to the past and its vision to the future. A morally superior society protects these things by protecting them against invaders and enemies.
Charity begins at home. So does morality.
A society that is too moral to protect itself is immoral because it is incapable of protecting the sources of its morality.
A moral society does not put its people in harm's way rather than protect them. If it does so, in the name of some warped sense of ethics toward the enemy, it is not a moral society.
It is an immoral society.
Moral societies make it possible for their people to be moral by taking on the burden of protecting them. A society that abandons this burden and demands that its people be moral by accepting suffering, whether it comes from crime or terrorism, is a society that gives its people a choice between becoming monsters or martyrs.
This is not the behavior of a moral society, but a self-destructive society that glories in the empty martyrdom of the moral high ground.
A government that will not protect the people and will not let the people protect themselves is not moral, it is destructive. It demands that the people embrace martyrdom in the name of a self-nullifying set of ethics that will ultimately result in the martyrdom of their extinction or their transformation into monsters who are forced to reject all human norms in order to survive.
A moral society does not embrace martyrdom for any purpose other than the perpetuation of itself.
The traditional Jewish martyr who died for the sanctification of the Name of G-d was choosing physical death for the perpetuation of a religious idea that was also a national identity. He was choosing a form of death that would keep his religious and national identity alive, over a living death that would enable him personally to live, while wiping out his people.
The new Jewish martyr dies for an irreligious humanistic martyrdom. He perishes to prove the moral high ground of his people. It is a martyrdom with no point and no future. It echoes Gandhi's call that the Jews voluntarily go to the gas chambers without resisting in order to make an ethical point.
Gandhi's bit of genocidal madness has now become mainstream in Jewish circles.
One of the Satmar rabbis was met with furious anger when he called the murders of three Israeli teenagers a divine punishment. But where was the anger when Rabin called murdered Israelis, "Korbanot Shalom" or "Sacrifices of Peace".
If the Satmar Rebbe is at least clear on who is doing the killing and why, what is the theology of the sacrifices of peace? Why do Israelis continue to be murdered in the name of some abstract idea of peace that never comes? What diplomatic deity are they being sacrificed to? What is this strange theology that has come into the house of religion and sanctifies the needless death of children?
The Satmar Rebbe knows why Jewish children must die. Hamas theocrats know why Jewish children must be killed. But Israel's leadership is in thrall to a humanistic Moloch that demands that they die to prove our moral superiority to the world. Only by allowing our children to be brought up on the altar of liberalism as burnt offerings to the dead god of universal ethics, will we be redeemed.
Perhaps if Tel Aviv is nuked and the flames of a new Holocaust rise into the sky, the world will finally realize that Israelis did their best to be nice to their enemies. And if not, there are always millions more to be offered up on the universalist pyre to the man-made god of our own morality.
There is a perverse sadism and masochism in this faithless faith whose disciples scourge themselves like the pagan priests of old. No sooner do the Israeli police announce a few arrests than all the enlightened thinkers rush to call for harsher and stricter measures, even the death penalty, a thing that isn't even levied on Muslim terrorists. Having pathetically tethered their identities to the conviction of their own moral superiority, always a shaky thing in human affairs, they will kill their own brothers to protect this cheap delusion of their own national martyrdom.
Having created our own faith in our own moral superiority, we must be willing to die and kill each other in its name. These are not sacrifices of peace. They are the martyrdom of a moral superiority that can only be proven through victimization and our own mass murder. They are a perverse deviation from both our religion as Jews and from Zionism as a political movement.
For Israel and the Jewish people to survive, this masochistic creed has to die. Instead of sacrificing our children to Tikkun Olam, universalist ethics and a conviction in our own moral superiority, let us sacrifice these things on the altar so that our children may live. Let us pile them up on the altars of our hearts and burn them up. Let us take the ideas and the books, and most of all, the false sense of superiority that we are better because of our martyrdom, and watch them go up in smoke.
Only when these things perish, will we be able to be Jews or Zionists. As long as they live within us, what we believe and what we worship is the Stockholm Syndrome that says we must allow ourselves to be abused and killed to prove to ourselves that we are good people and thereby disprove the results of that abuse on our psyche. The more we are abused, the more certain we become that we deserve it and the more we welcome that abuse, to disprove that we deserve it.
It is a vicious cycle in which we allow ourselves to be murdered to disprove that we deserve to be killed, in which we hate ourselves to prove that we do not deserve to be hated.
Instead of proving our morality through our self-hatred, let us prove it by instead protecting our worth. Our enemies are willing to die because they have nothing to offer but murder. It is natural for them to choose death because they are worthless in every sense of the word.
Let us choose life.
This twisted attitude is not unique to Israel and Jews. It has engulfed the entire West. Against the Islamic cult of death, we have constructed our own cult of death. The dysfunctional relationship is that of the abuser to the abused. They know that they are morally superior because they kill us. We know that we are morally superior because we accept their abuse and allow ourselves to be killed.
This is the great spiritual sickness that is bringing entire civilizations down into the grave. It is a sickness born out of self-hatred and an abiding sense of worthlessness. The abuser and the abused both have a deep conviction that they are worthless. The abuser hides it through abuse. The abused accepts it and transcends it through abuse.
If we do not learn to take pride in our civilizations, if we do not learn to love our accomplishments, then we will die. If we continue to eat away at ourselves, to act as if our moral and ethics are inferior to those of our enemies, then they will destroy us and then destroy themselves and the darkness will fall.
Let us choose life, light and love. Let us learn to love ourselves and hate our enemies, not out of some reflex or petty jingoism, but because we have come to value what they seek to take from us. Let us drive out the self-hatred. Let us take apart our own cult of death and replace it with a religion of life.
Only when we destroy our own cult of death, will be able to defeat the cult of death of our enemies.
"I have yet before you life and death, the blessing and the curse," G-d tells Israel. "Therefore choose life that you may live, you and your children."
If we do not choose life, then we cannot live.