Unresolved guilt and shame can kill. It can also bring down a great civilization.
Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali Muslim turned atheist observes that the Western intellectual is actively rejecting his own traditions – perhaps a twisted form of atonement:
- Liberals in Western politics have the strange habit of blaming themselves for the ills of the world, while seeing the rest of the world as victims. To them, victims are to be pitied, and they lump together all pitiable and suppressed people, such as Muslims, and consider them good people who should be cherished and supported so that they can overcome their disadvantages. The adherents to the gospel of multiculturalism refuse to criticize people whom they see as victims. Some Western critics disapprove of United States policies and attitudes but do not criticize the Islamic world, just as, in the first part of the twentieth century, Western socialist apologists did not dare criticize the Soviet labor camps. Along the same lines, some Western intellectuals criticize Israel, but they will not criticize Palestine because Israel belongs to the West, which they consider fair game, but they feel sorry for the Palestinians, and for the Islamic world in general, which is not as powerful as the West. They are critical of the native white majority in Western countries but not of Islamic minorities. Criticism of the Islamic world, of Palestinians, and of Islamic minorities is regarded as Islamophobia and xenophobia.
Why are the Western liberals indulgent of certain groups at the expense of their own proven traditions? Does this self-deprecating posture help them deal with their unresolved guilt and shame? CatholicNewsAgency.com reported that in 2006:
- A significant number of Italian lawmakers, politicians and intellectuals, led by the president of the Italian Senate…has presented a manifesto in which they attribute the confusion and fear in Europe over Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism to “a moral and spiritual crisis” that prevents the continent from finding “the courage to react.”
Here’s what their manifesto concluded:
- The west is “under attack from the outside by Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism” and is “incapable of responding to the challenge.” “We feel guilty for our well-being, we are ashamed of our traditions, and we think terrorism is a reaction to our mistakes…“Europe is sick…The birth rate continues to fall, as well as [Europe’s] competitiveness, unity and action on the world scene. It hides and denies its own identity and thus fails to provide itself a legitimate constitution of its citizens. It determines relations with the United States are broken and makes anti-Americanism its flag.”
Self-atonement! Why do “we feel guilty for our well-being?” Certainly, we have a God-given responsibility to share with those in need, but this shouldn’t preclude our own well-being! Why then does the unresolved guilt continue?
If your fuel-line is clogged, it will not help you to sample every gas pump in town You have a deeper problem.
The Western intellectual is running around to every gas pump in town in order to be as multi-cultural and self-denying as he possibly can be. However, the guilt is never resolved. Its source is deeper.
King David realized that, fundamentally, sin is an affront to God, above all else:
- Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you…have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight. (Psalm 51:1-5)
Until we address the source of our guilt and shame, we will find no rest.