Monday, October 30, 2006

Dr. Tomislav Sunic on Paganism

Can we still conceive of the revival of Pagan sensibility in an age
so profoundly saturated by Judeo-Christian monotheism and so
ardently adhering to the tenets of liberal democracy? In popular
parlance the very word "Paganism" may incite some to derision and
laughter. Who, after all, wants to be associated with witches and
witchcraft, with sorcery and black magic? Worshiping animals or
plants, or chanting hymns to Wotan or Zeus, in an epoch of cable
television and "smart weapons," does not augur well for serious
intellectual and academic inquiry. Yet, before we begin to heap
scorn on Paganism, we should pause for a moment. Paganism is not
just witches and witches' brew; Paganism also means a mix of highly
speculative theories and philosophies. Paganism is Seneca and
Tacitus; it is an artistic and cultural movement that swept over
Italy under the banner of the Renaissance. Paganism also means
Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Charles Darwin, and a host of
other thinkers associated with the Western cultural heritage. Two
thousand years of Judeo-Christianity have not obscured the fact that
Pagan thought has not yet disappeared, even though it has often been
blurred, stifled, or persecuted by monotheistic religions and their
secular offshoots...Abraham and Moses may be dethroned today, but
their moral edicts and spiritual ordinances are much alive. The
global and disenchanted world, accompanied by the litany of human
rights, ecumenical society, and the rule of law ---- are these not
principles that can be traced directly to the Judeo-Christian
messianism that resurfaces today in its secular version under the
elegant garb of modern "progressive" ideologies?

And yet, we should not forget that the Western world did not begin
with the birth of Christ. Neither did the religions of ancient
Europeans see the first light of the day with Moses-in the desert.
Nor did our much-vaunted democracy begin with the period of
Enlightenment or with the proclamation of American independence.
Democracy and independence-all of this existed in ancient Greece,
albeit in its own unique social and religious context. Our Greco-
Roman ancestors, our predecessors who roamed the woods of central
and northern Europe, also believed in honor, justice, and virtue,
although they attached to these notions a radically different

Who knows, with the death of communism, with the exhaustion of
liberalism, with the visible depletion of the congregations in
churches and synagogues, we may be witnessing the dawn of
neopaganism, a new blossoming of old cultures, a return to the roots
that are directly tied to our ancient European precursors. Who can
dispute the fact that Athens was the homeland of Europeans before
Jerusalem became their frequently painful edifice?

Great lamenting is heard from all quarters of our disenchanted and
barren world today. Gods seem to have departed, as Nietzsche
predicted a century ago, ideologies are dead, and liberalism hardly
seems capable of providing man with enduring spiritual support.
Maybe the time has come to search for other paradigms? Perhaps the
moment is ripe, as Alain Benoist would argue, to envision another
cultural and spiritual revolution-a revolution that might well
embody our pre-Christian European Pagan heritage?

-- Dr. Tomislav Sunic
TOMISLAV SUNIC is the author of AGAINST DEMOCRACY AND EQUALITY: The European New Right (Newport Beach, CA. Noontide Press 1990/2004) ISBN 0-939482-63-0

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