In the Christian iconography, Christ offers man the possibility of salvation, as He sits in Judgement between Hell and Heaven. Atomic religion opens up the possibility of salvation but does not discount the alternative possibility, for those who have been judged and found wanting, of damnation. Christ is abraxas-like, a dual-natured deity who, so the iconographic depictions demonstrate, damns with one hand and saves with the other, having first weighed-up the ratio of sins to graces or graces to sins of those deemed eligible, in the Christian schema, for judgement. Being the Son of God (the Father), Christ, the second deity in the evolution of gods from the alpha-most to the omega-most, is perfectly entitled to behave towards the Damned in a manner owing something to the Father, Who is entirely negative and therefore indisposed to save anybody, and will accordingly curse those whom He damns. The Father, if He could curse, would curse with a capital 'C'. But Christ, being abraxas-like and therefore diluted, only curses with a small one, because the better half of Him, in the Christian iconography, is disposed to bless, albeit with a small 'b', and thus to save. The ultimate blessing or, rather, Blessing with a capital 'B', would only come from the Holy Spirit, yet not as a deity separate, like Christ, from those to be blessed, but as one compounded, as it were, of the Blessed in Spirit, whose very condition is blessed. Christ, however, is not that deity but, appertaining to the 'Three in One', merely a diluted Holy Ghost. Consequently He cannot offer man ultimate salvation, but only the relative salvation, still paradoxically couched in terms of the Father, of the Christian schema. This salvation is really fictional, though necessarily so for a given period of evolutionary time. Man cannot live with the whole truth about salvation when he is still subject to various illusions, as Christian man inevitably is. That truth must come with a post-Christian and, hence, post-atomic age.
Throughout the Christian era, however, there were still many men who could not identify with Christ and therefore didn't place much confidence in their prospects of salvation, not so much because they were more disposed towards a transcendental attitude to Christianity as because, being relatively pagan in their psychic constitutions, they were insufficiently evolved to properly relate to the 'Son of God'. A typical attitude of such men when on the point of death would have been one which emphasized the part they expected the Father to play in judging them in the Afterlife. They would have been preparing themselves for a return to their 'Maker', the Creator in whose image man had apparently been made, and, as such, they would have died with a pagan heart. Had they been true Christians, they would have looked forward to being judged by Christ in the Afterlife, confident, with what time remained to them, that they had done their best in this life and could expect the blessed hand of salvation rather than the cursed hand of damnation to fall upon them. The prospects for even a less than true Christian was at least 50/50, provided that his life had not been one long orgy of sin in a category approximating to the criminal. In a borderline case, Christ would be more likely to show compassion than vengefulness.
A man, however, who looks forward to returning to his 'Maker', meaning the Father, is not, objectively considered, one who can expect to be saved but, on the contrary, one who, in effect, passes negative judgement upon himself. For to return to the Father, assuming it were possible, would indeed be to suffer damnation, since, theologically speaking, the Father is at the opposite evolutionary remove from the Holy Spirit, corresponding, in essence, to the most cursed deity, an absolute negativity rather than a negative/positive compromise, as in Christ, the man-god. No man who looked forward to meeting his 'Maker' in the Afterlife could reasonably be considered a Christian, nor could he be regarded as a logical thinker if he expected to be saved in the process! Whatever he expected, he was effectively betraying a basic allegiance to the Alpha Absolute, and thus expressing a pagan orientation analogous to that upheld by certain tribes in pre-atomic America, whose braves practised the custom of turning towards the sun when death seemed imminent, in order to align their soul with what was considered to be a return to its source (in the Diabolic).
Of course, there is no return of the soul either to a 'Maker' - which is really a theological abstraction along the lines of the Creator, Jehovah, etc., from the First Cause, or literal root of the Galaxy, in the central star (the major star from which such minor stars as the sun 'fell', with the theological equivalent of the Big Bang at the root of Creation), nor literally to the sun, conceived as the source of all earthly creation, for the simple reason that, as id-like seat of emotions in the subconscious, the primitive soul is not eternal but decidedly temporal in constitution, and therefore couldn't return anywhere - least of all to a cosmic entity at a considerable remove from itself! At death, the instinctual soul dies, but so, too, does the spirit, or intellectual faculty of the superconscious, which, though potentially eternal, is unable to survive on an absolute basis without physiological support, because accustomed to a relative existence in conjunction with the id. Thus the man who supposes that, at death, his soul will return to its 'Maker', to be judged one way or the other, is deluded twice over, both as regards survival and judgement. And even if he lives in the Christian civilization, he is yet a sublimated pagan for whom the possibility of spiritual survival does not enter into account, since he is too wrapped-up in the prospect of his soul returning to its 'Maker' to have any thoughts to spare on the alternative prospect of his spirit, arising from the upper half of his psyche, being admitted to the 'Kingdom of Heaven', viz. the Holy Spirit, by an intermediate Christ in Judgement. Even the anticipated return of the soul to its 'Maker' would seem, in such minds, to be a matter requiring no reference to a negative judgement by Christ, but one which can by-pass the Christian Judge, as it speeds on a directly pagan course to its alpha-oriented goal! Not, assuredly, the kind of attitude that a genuine Christian would uphold. For he would never leave Christ out of account where the fate of his soul and/or spirit was concerned, even if, objectively considered, his spirit was no more likely to attain to salvation than the soul of the quasi-pagan ... to be damned.
From the theological point-of-view, a man's fate in the Afterlife could of course be determined by a Christ capable of weighing sins and graces on a mental balance, and passing judgement according to which way the scales tipped. Yet precisely because Christianity was not an absolute religion but a compromise between soul and spirit, will and intellect, there could be no possibility of anyone literally being either damned or saved. That may sound fairly obvious to us, but it wouldn't have been so obvious to medieval Christians. For, as a relative compromise, it can only follow that the mind of a Christian would have been damned to the extent it was composed of instinctual soul and saved to the extent it was composed of intellectual spirit. Being in itself split between Hell and Heaven, fire and light, emotions and awareness, Christianity could only offer a split judgement to the split humanity over whom it elected to preside. The Christ in Judgement between Hell and Heaven is indeed an apt reflection of the psychic constitution of Christian man. Every man would simultaneously have been damned and saved, although this is not, of course, the impression which Christian iconography strives to convey, since it functions on the theological basis of either/or, rather than both. But even there, the justification of Judgement can be questioned when scrutinized with a literal eye. For if the soul is temporal and the spirit, by contrast, only potentially eternal when intellectually housed in the same psyche as its great instinctual antithesis, one might be forgiven for adopting the line that the spirit alone would be eligible for judgement and that, as spirit, it must be a foregone conclusion for admittance to Heaven. However, as this and other such remarks will have demonstrated, the literal eye is not the most relevant one to apply to theology, least of all to a theology so closely associated with a medieval understanding of the psyche!
Getting back to the inability of so many men to come to terms
with Christ and the transcendental prospect which Christianity was intended to
demonstrate, it would be wrong of me to leave the reader with the impression
that only in medieval times was this actually the case. For although it was arguably more prevalent
then, the adherence of various men to sublimated paganism continued throughout
the Christian era and even into the twentieth century, which was scarcely an
archetypal Christian century but, rather, an incipiently transcendental
one. And not only among the ranks of the
lowly or with such paradoxical examples of alpha-oriented allegiance as Jehovah
Witnesses, who alone of Christian sects strive to reconcile Christianity with
Judaism. One of the most lethal
alpha-oriented people of all time was undoubtedly Adolf Hitler who, as anyone
familiar with writings about him will know, was far more disposed towards
references to Providence, or the Creator, the Father, and other such variations
on an alpha-oriented theme, than ever he was towards references to Christ (and
this despite a professedly anti-Semitic disposition which evidently had no
trouble accommodating Creatoresque monotheism).
Indeed, he scarcely ever mentioned Christ except in derogatory terms -
rather like Nietzsche - and never seems to have conceived of God in terms of
the Holy Spirit. For him, the only God
that existed and mattered was the Father, whose name he would evoke, in a
variety of guises, with the regular persistence of a monomaniac. If he escaped relatively unscathed from an
attack upon his life, as he did on more than one occasion, it was alleged that
the hand of
As a theological abstraction from the First Cause,
Politics wasn't the only field, however, in which an arch-pagan came to the fore in the twentieth century. My own field of creative writing fell victim to a quite formidable pagan in the person of John Cowper Powys, whose petty-bourgeois philosophy champions the cause of a kind of Rousseauesque return to nature, and emphasizes, in a number of publications, the importance, as he sees it, of psychological association with the root of all nature in the First Cause, which should be approached in an ambiguous fashion, depending on one's mood or circumstances, of either gratitude or defiance. Gratitude to the First Cause for all the pleasure in life, defiance of the First Cause for all the pain it entails - these are the alternating poles of Powys' paganism, a paganism which doesn't even express itself indirectly, through the medium of some theological abstraction, but refers directly back to the literal roots of the Universe in what, whether or not he realizes it, can only be cosmic energy. Treating this scientific term in a theological way, however, only confounds the issue, and we may be sure that Powys was as baffled as most of his followers must surely have been by the exact nature and location of this two-faced First Cause! If ever a man was the champion of the instinctual soul, wallowing brontosaurus-like in subconscious stupor, it was this latter-day Druid, this anachronistic heathen, this apostate son of a Welsh clergyman, this antithetical equivalent to Nietzsche, this revivalist of Celtic atavisms and arch-enemy of the spirit! I do not think his work will be greatly admired by future generations.
Neither, however, do I expect the work of D.H. Lawrence, Powys' literary contemporary and heathen counterpart, to serve as a vehicle of spiritual enlightenment for future generations, since it, too, falls heavily on the side of the Alpha absolute. As one of the few men of his time who could logically distinguish between soul and spirit, instinct and intellect, Lawrence yet chose to champion the former to an extent suggesting complete ignorance of the existence of its psychic antithesis. For his emotions counted for more than thoughts or abstract formulations to him - so much more, in fact, that he was unwilling or unable to grant credence to any intellectual formulation which couldn't evoke an affirmative response in his guts! In this respect, he was the opposite of a philosopher, but not on that account a great artist. Rather, Lawrence was an old-fashioned 'man of the people' for whom the spiritual life remained an enigma, to be guarded against in the interests of emotional fulfilment and sexual satisfaction or, more correctly, emotional fulfilment through sexual satisfaction. One might almost describe him as a composite of Wilhelm Reich and Albert Camus, two Continentals who should also be mentioned, en passant, as conspicuous for their lack of transcendentalism in a late, indeed very late, Christian age. With the rock of the Church crumbling to dust as the Christian civilization became increasingly decadent, one can't be surprised that so many neo-pagan worms should have emerged from beneath it, in the twentieth century, to bask in the sensuality afforded by an unobscured sun temporarily shining down between the dusk of one civilization and the future dawn of another ... in an interim night of religious anarchy!