It is often said that people should not be reduced to the worst thing they have ever done. With regards to religion, this is often done. From Rembrant to Avicenna, the secular left tends to ignore the cultural achievements of religion and emphasize and hyperbolize everything bad religion has ever done. It is a Rorsach Test for how they see the world. I am not only opposed to this believing in and worshipping an invisible sky-daddy, myself. My attachment to religions is only, partially, owing to my belief in one of them. It is also because religion is not merely a cosmology and system of supernatural beliefs but a rich cultural tradition.
My beliefs are sincere but my Christianity is as much endebted to my love of the cultural tradition of masterpieces, cathedrals, and symphonies as it is to my belief in the existence of the Christian God. If I left the religion then I would be a hypocrite since I would want other people to keep it going to keep the tradition going. I’m not going to freeload off of other people’s keeping the cultural machine alive, I have to participate. While it may be convienient that I believe in the religion I practice, my views are similiar toward other religions.
I want Islam and Buddhism and Hinduism and the rest to keep existing and people to practice a secular form of it as a cultural tradition if they no longer believe in it unless they sincerely convert to my religion. Ideally, they’d join my team but as long as they don’t, I want them to stay on theirs as opposed to leaving a religious tradition altogether. Even if they do convert to my religion, I don’t want them to abandon their traditions and would wish to incorperate cultural items from their native culture as opposed to Westernizing themselves.
For example, there are many Christian missionaries in India and I would want for them to use the aesthetics, rituals, and liturgy of the native Christian demographic to the extent possible. In India, those would be three groups, for the most part, the Saint Thomas Christians, the Portuguese-converted Catholics in the far south, and the Dutch-converted Protestants in the far-south. While the latter two were brought by Europeans, it was so long ago that their traditions have syncretized enough to be considered native. Furthermore, that native Hindu and Muslim traditions are secularized as much as possible and occasionally incorperated into Christian practice.
While the left is ostensibly against cultural “genocide” and “imperialism”, they have no real respect for native traditions. They are against Christian missionary work, oftentimes, decrying it as cultural imperialism but they would seldom ever, in contexts outside of Christianity, be against a Hindu becoming an atheist and de-converting. That hypothetical ex-Hindu’s atheism is also the result of Westernization and the secular left is just as much engaging in what they would term “cultural imperialism”. They mostly don’t see the value in Christianity and trying to keep a secular version of it for cultural reasons and they don’t do that with any other religion, either. If they really were against cultural imperialism, they would try to abate the cultural destruction their system causes.
As long as they remain in what Harlold Bloom termed “The School of Resentment”, they shall be unable to oppose the very “cultural imperialism” they decry the more Christian and more conservative Westerners of. I recently saw a Facebook meme characterizing the current cultural battle as a Star Trek future versus a Handmaid’s Tale one. Star Trek is an example of cultural pancide where all enriching cultural items are in a metaphorical museum and every culture’s traditions have been abolished in favor of a landscape of Scandanavian minimalism devoid of emotion, passion, ritual, then-contemporary high art, or anything jucier than cardboard-tasting boxy hypermodernism.