It’s not looking so great for the future of the world right now, is it?
The machinations of Vladimir Putin to stir up nativist and racist sentiments in the UK and US have led to disastrous results: the Trump election and Brexit. Both are systematically destroying the liberal democratic traditions of these countries and threatening spillover into other places like the Middle East.
Meanwhile, China is playing go, calmly and methodically placing its stones throughout Africa, Asia and South America to claim resources and subvert democracies in those places…all the while committing its own domestic genocidal campaigns against Muslims, Tibetans and Uighurs.
And, of course, there is climate change.
These are bad times, no doubt about it.
And as Atheopagans, we’re not going to kid ourselves about that. It’s not “the will of the gods”. It’s not “what is meant to be”.
It’s a particularly bad time in history. People and wildlife and entire ecosystems are suffering and dying as a result.
It’s 1938, all over again. And it is almost certain to get worse before it gets better, just as it did then.
So what are we to do? How do we face this mess, and work to solve it, and keep ourselves as safe as possible in the process?
Well, first of all, we must ask ourselves: in my situation, is it safe to publicly resist?
Racist nativists, homophobes and other right-wing ideologues can be dangerous. Many of them reflexively choose violence and “might making right” as their way of confronting difference. And the likes of Trump and Boris Johnson encourage this behavior.
If your life context exposes you to violence if you visibly resist the rising tide of the right, it is perfectly legitimate to go stealth. For the sake of your loved ones and your communities, it may well be the right thing to keep your head down, do what you can without drawing attention to yourself, and wait for things to change.
On the other hand, it may be the time to band together with other vulnerable people and make some noise. To stand up for immigrants and brown and black people and LGBTQ folks, and be loud about it. As ACT UP had it back in the 90s, SILENCE = DEATH. If you’re visible and noisy, it’s a lot harder to ignore you or your concerns.
But while we are resisting, we also have to build. And that’s where Atheopaganism comes in.
We’re about a new kind of culture: one where reason and kindness and inclusiveness prevail. And we can help to make it happen by living it ourselves, in our lives.
Collapse of various kinds is coming. It’s unavoidable. Modern industrial capitalism cannot and will not sustain itself, and it will crash the planet’s ecosystems badly as it goes.
But people are ingenious, and adaptable. We survived the last glaciation period and we will survive what is coming as well.
And that is what the new culture is for. Because humanity really is completely screwed if what survives into its next era is might-makes-right and bigoted tribalism and casual cruelty to the Other.
So play the long game. Know that your Principles, your rituals, your community-building, and the values you propagate through your families and interactions are like little viruses worming themselves into the future of humanity.
Yes, the times are bad. Likely to get worse.
But they can get better again. And that’s what we’re about: a better world, a better future for all of us.
So yes: resist where and when you can.
Carry forward those cultural memes and traditions, those ways of looking at the world, that understanding that we are all connected in deep and very real ways. Teach your kids, be a model to your friends and colleagues.
Be the better world we want to see. Hard though it is in these times.
Keep calm, and play the long game.