Thursday, April 26, 2012

America's New Religion: Nihilism

If you want to know why American popular culture has become so strange and raunchy, it’s because we have a new popular religion that now also permeates public education: Nihilism, or Nothingism. Its holy scripture is Rolling Stone magazine, where writers use the “F” word and other similar repulsive expressions routinely in its pages.

Recently I happened to find a few back issues in one of those public library bins where people dump superfluous magazines that clutter up their coffee tables. Rather than toss them in the trash, they donate them to those of us who can’t afford to buy them. Which reflects the basic generous spirit that many Americans still have. Otherwise, I would have never considered reading the rag.

But what attracted me to the magazines were their articles bashing conservatives advertised on the front covers. I put them on my own coffee table, but didn’t read them until curiosity got the better of me. What a revelation! Their articles and attitudes were unabashed nihilism in all its obscene forms. They are supposedly written by socialists and progressives, and their hatred of conservatives, Republicans, and Christianity is visceral. Rolling Stone, of course, concentrates on the music scene, which in itself is nihilistic in its overall philosophy. Wikipedia describes Nihilism as follows:

[Nihilism is a] philosophical doctrine suggesting the negation of one or more putatively meaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value. Moral nihilists assert that morality does not inherently exist, and that any established moral values are abstractly contrived. Nihilism can also take epistemological, metaphysical, or ontological forms, meaning respectively that, in some aspect, knowledge is not possible, or that contrary to popular belief, some aspect of reality does not exist as such.

Nihilism is now the basic philosophy of public education. The progressives imposed humanism on the public schools, but in practice humanism has morphed into nihilism because teachers are supposed to be neutral on all aspects of morality. Neutrality means believing in nothing. By ridding the schools of biblical morality, they have created a vacuum that can then be filled with something else. But as G. K. Chesterton is reported to have wisely said: “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing — they believe in anything.”