My favorite piece of the day is by Naomi Schaefer Riley. Reviewing a new book — The Triumph of Faith, by Rodney Stark — Riley makes the point that not only is the demise of faith greatly exaggerated, secular societies don’t always replace religion with reason:
For the champions of the secularization thesis, such a development is nothing to complain about: Empty churches are a sign of reason’s progress. Mr. Stark offers some amusing evidence to the contrary. Drawing on the Gallup poll, he notes that Europeans hold all sorts of supernatural beliefs. In Austria, 28% of respondents say they believe in fortune tellers; 32% believe in astrology; and 33% believe in lucky charms. “More than 20 percent of Swedes believe in reincarnation,” Mr. Stark writes; “half believe in mental telepathy.” More than half of Icelanders believe in huldufolk, hidden people like elves and trolls. It seems as if the former colonial outposts for European missionaries are now becoming more religious, while Europe itself is becoming interested in primitive folk beliefs.
American secularists aren’t immune from their own bizarre beliefs. I remember when we lived in Philadelphia some of the reliably liberal mothers who rolled their eyes at my wife’s evangelical Christianity described their own kids as “indigo children.” And what is an indigo? Here’s Wikipedia’s dry description:
Indigo children, according to a pseudoscientific New Age concept, are children who are believed to possess special, unusual, and sometimes supernatural traits or abilities. The idea is based on concepts developed in the 1970s by Nancy Ann Tappe and further developed by Jan Tober and Lee Carroll. The concept of indigo children gained popular interest with the publication of a series of books in the late 1990s and the release of several films in the following decade. A variety of books, conferences and related materials have been created surrounding belief in the idea of indigo children and their nature and abilities. The interpretations of these beliefs range from their being the next stage in human evolution, in some cases possessing paranormal abilities such as telepathy, to the belief that they are more empathetic and creative than their peers.
Or, if you want a more colorful description, feast your eyes on this:
The indigo child is here to bring us closer to our true essence. We think our minds are separate because of our bodies. These children know differently. A true indigo travels comfortably between worlds usually at night when we think they’re asleep.
Our thoughts and feelings are not our own. The truth is, we have forgotten who we are and how our minds are connected to each other. Indigos remember and have an inner knowing that far exceeds our psychic abilities.
Having said this, not all children born since about 1980 are indigos. Many brought major challenges from previous lifetimes they’re still working through. But once the lessons are learned and the patterns forgiven, they will join the ranks of the cosmic caring indigo.
And this nonsense came from highly educated (or, I should say, highly credentialed) women. Spend much time in liberal strongholds, and you’ll come across this kind of silliness and more. I’d never seen a witchcraft store until I lived in Cambridge, Mass., and I once attended a wedding in Beverly Hills where the guests were invited to “send their energies” to the wedding rings.
God set eternity in the hearts of men, and when they reject Him they often end up trying to fill that hole with all manners of incandescent craziness. The opposite of religion isn’t reason. It’s often just simple superstition.