That’s roughly Gregory Hood’s title, for an article making the case for a return to paganism. As his point of departure, Hood examines, unflinchingly, the indications of an Occidental desire for enslavement or destruction by Islam. “It’s a kind of ethical exhaustion — liberal Whites are weary of the moral responsibility of existence and survival.” (The diagnosis seems hideously plausible to me.)
Islam is Nature’s solution. Like the Architect from The Matrix Reloaded, it is Nature’s way of saying that “There are levels of survival we are prepared to accept.” It is stultifying, depressing, and tyrannical. It is an enemy of real culture, with the most militant variations smashing the tombs and shrines not only of other religious traditions, but of their own. Modern Wahhabism is funded by Western decadence, enabled by Western weakness, in many ways a product of Western postmodernism and self-hatred. […] And lest what I say be misunderstood, it is obviously, laughably, and comically false. It is sustained by the protective cordon it has created around criticism. Yet believing that a pedophiliac illiterate transcribed the literal word of God still makes more sense than believing all men are created equal. Islam’s refusal to allow critical analysis of itself is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Islam is the first term in Hood’s tetralemma. It’s the executioners blade for a civilization that has lost all cosmic purchase upon existence. A disgusting way to die, begged for by the broken, in the end (which is already) — because at least it’s a way to die.
The remaining three terms entertained by Hood are the “god of our grandfathers, the White Christ upon whose image the West was built” which “is dying”, faithless liberalism (including modern Christianity), and paganism. Among these options, he declares, “The Old Gods are my own choice.”
Much of this analysis — down to its grimmest conclusions — is highly compelling, even when abstracted from the flow of Hood’s vigorous prose. The proposed remedy, however, is by far its weakest component.
To make a choice among Gods, is that not the final expression of liberalism, and therefore of degenerated Christianity? If we have learnt anything from the manifold failures of multiculturalism, it is that religious freedom is downstream of religion. ‘Freedom of conscience’ lies at the furthest remove from a genuinely secular conception, if any such thing is even possible. If it now seems imaginable to shop for different gods, it is because of the way a distinctive religious tradition has worked out. If political considerations seem to occupy a position of meta-religious authority, the descent has been deeper still. Choice is internal to religion, even if the decayed image of religion serves to obscure this fundamental fact. Contemporary Occidental paganism remains dissident Christianity. There is no decision that could alter that.
As Hood himself states: The very fact that I frame this identity as a “choice” is itself proof of decadence — a vibrant metaphysics simply is and has nothing to do with a rational actor listing pros and cons. Ironically, those who profess the Old Gods are weakened because what they profess is so obviously new and a product of innovation and modernity. Few would even call it a real faith that actually expresses literal belief in personalized divinities. […] The new pagan cults that preach fanaticism and virility owe too much to reason and deconstruction.
A God that is not the very principle of destiny is no God at all. Are we, then, destined to rediscover the Old North European Gods? The impossibility of answering such a question with confident affirmation says everything necessary about it. The Old Gods manifestly failed against the challenge of the new One. There is no reason at all to suspect that this outcome has been rescinded by the subsequent calamities befalling the new faith.
Religions are providential. They are units of fate. The claims they make far exceed rational controversy or personal decision, in the abyss of their decadence no less than at the apex of their flourishing. If Christian Modernity is a process of escalating nihilism, as Nietzsche conceived it to be, it is nevertheless a road without turn-offs, that can only be followed to the end.
ADDED: Second long (italicized) quote has been grafted in, thanks to Irving (in comments below), who pointed out its clearly indispensable relevance to the topic. Just in case it is not already obvious, the Hood essay is a superbly crafted masterpiece — its quality only enhanced by its supple self-ironization. It deserves to be a landmark reference whenever this question re-arises, as it will continually do.