I have commented at various points39 about the fact that the "Born-Again Christian" movement appears to fulfill Spengler's prediction of the rise of a "Second Religiousness" in the masses of the population. In his own time, Spengler did not find any religious group which he felt would fulfill that prediction. "Born-Again Christians" first appeared on the scene in early to middle 1960's, and at first appeared to be more of a Bible-study group, and a little later, an evangelical group in a fairly classical mode (i.e., the Billy Graham Crusades). However, such an assessment grossly underestimated both the power and the reach of the movement, and I believe that it is now safe to say this power is drawn from the underlying needs of the masses which Spengler asserts drive towards the "Second Religiousness." Let us first look at what Spengler said:
"Materialism would not be complete without the need of now and again easing the intellectual tension, by giving way to moods of myth, by performing rites of some sort, or by enjoying with an inward lightheartedness the charms of the irrational, the unnatural, the repulsive, and even, if need be, the merely silly. This tendency, which is visible enough, even to us, in the times of Mengtse (372-289) and in those of the first Buddhist brotherhoods, is present also (and with the same significance) in Hellenism, of which indeed it is a leading characteristic. About 312 political scholars of the Callimachus40 type in Alexandria invented the Serapis-cult and provided it with an elaborate legend. The Isis-cult in Republican Rome was something very different both from the emperor-worship that succeeded it and from the deeply earnest Isis-religion of Egypt; it was a religious pastime of high society, which at times provoked public ridicule and at times led to public scandal and the closing of the cult-centers.41 The Chaldean astrology was in those days a fashion, very far removed from the genuine Classical belief in oracles and from the Magian faith in the might of the hour.42 It was `relaxation,' a `let's pretend.' And, over and above this, there were the numberless charlatans and fake prophets who toured the towns and sought with their pretentious rites to persuade the half-educated into a renewed interest in religion. Correspondingly, we have in the European-American world of to-day  the occultist and theosophist fraud, the American Christian Science, the untrue Buddhism of drawing-rooms, the religious arts-and-crafts business (brisker in Germany than even in England) that caters for groups and cults of Gothic or Late Classical or Taoist sentiment. Everywhere it is just a toying with myths that no one really believes, a tasting of cults that it is hoped might fill the inner void.43 The real belief is always the belief in atoms and numbers, but it requires this highbrow hocus-pocus to make it bearable in the long run. Materialism is shallow and honest, mock-religion shallow and dishonest. But the fact that the latter is possible at all foreshadows a new and genuine spirit of seeking that declares itself, first quietly, but soon emphatically and openly, in the civilized waking-consciousness.
"This next phase I call the Second Religiousness. It appears in all Civilizations as soon as they have fully formed themselves as such and are beginning to pass, slowly and imperceptibly, into the non-historical state in which time-periods cease to mean anything. (So far as Western Civilization is concerned, therefore, we are still many generations short of that point.)44 The Second Religiousness is the necessary counterpart of Cęsarism, which is the final political constitution of Late Civilizations; it becomes visible, therefore, in the Augustan Age of the Classical . . . . In both phenomena the creative young strength of the Early Culture is lacking. But both have their greatness nevertheless. That of the Second Religiousness consists in a deep piety that fills the waking-consciousness - the piety that impressed Herodotus in the (Late) Egyptians and impresses West-Europeans in China, India, and Islam - and that of Cęsarism consists in its unchained might of colossal facts. But neither in the creations of this piety nor in the form of the Roman Imperium is there anything primary and spontaneous. Nothing is built up, no idea unfolds itself - it is only as if a mist cleared off the land and revealed the old forms, uncertainly at first, but presently with increasing distinctness. The material of the Second Religiousness is simply that of first, genuine, young religiousness - only otherwise experienced and expressed. It starts with Rationalism's fading out in helplessness, then the forms of the Springtime become visible, and finally the whole world of the primitive religion, which had receded before the grand forms of the early faith, returns to the foreground, powerful, in the guise of the popular syncretism that is to be found in every Culture at this phase.
"Every "Age of Enlightenment" proceeds from an unlimited optimism of the reason - always associated with the type of the megalopolitan - to an equally unqualified syncretism. The sovereign waking-consciousness, cut off by walls and artificialities from living nature and the land about it and under it, cognizes nothing outside itself. It applies criticism to its imaginary world, which it has cleared of everyday sense-experience, and continues to do so till it has found the last and subtlest result, the form of the form - itself: namely, nothing. With this the possibilities of physics as a critical mode of world-understanding are exhausted, and the hunger for metaphysics presents itself afresh. But it is not the religious pastimes of educated and literature-soaked cliques, still less is it the intellect, that gives rise to the Second Religiousness. Its source is the naive belief that arises, unremarked but spontaneous, among the masses that there is some sort of mystic constitution of actuality (as to which formal proofs are presently regarded as barren and tiresome word-jugglery), and equally naive heart-need reverently responding to the myth with a cult. The forms of neither can be foreseen, still less chosen - they appear of themselves, and as far as we are ourselves concerned, we are as yet far distant from them.45 But already the opinions of Comte and Spencer, the Materialism and Monism and the Darwinism, which stirred the best minds of the nineteenth century to such passion, have become the world-view proper to country cousins.46"
cautionary note which I must add to my observation that "Born-Again
Christians" appear to fulfill Spengler's prediction is the apparent
widespread existence of "numberless charlatans and fake prophets" as
leaders of certain well-known Charismatic Christian movements. Names
like Jim Bakker, Oral Roberts, and Jimmy Swaggart leap immediately to
mind. None of those would survive an honest inspection for "a deep
piety that fills the waking-consciousness."
And I have personally met far too many "Born-Again Christians" who would not hesitate to commit some victimization of their fellow humans. Such people cannot actually possess that kind of piety. Instead, their "Born-Again Christianity" is mere "mock-religion shallow and dishonest. But the fact that the latter is possible at all foreshadows a new and genuine spirit of seeking that declares itself, first quietly, but soon emphatically and openly, in the civilized waking-consciousness." While many adherents see their "Born-Again" status as an excuse to commit whatever sins they wish, so long as they are able to make it to church next Sunday, perhaps their children will be honest and faithful believers in "Born-Again Christianity" as an enjoyable and ultimately worthwhile religious experience.
Perhaps the conclusion should be that the "Born-Again Christians" are now too reliant upon conversions to fill their ranks; thus both the leaders and the faithful are too likely to represent people who do not honestly hold the views that they espouse. Perhaps when another generation, or two or three, takes over the leadership and promotes the kind of honest and spiritual belief of which so many of the current members are capable, then will "Born-Again Christianity" represent the true "Second Religiousness." Only time will tell, and time will also tell if we get ourselves a Cęsar-figure at about that same time.
39 Specifically, see Book II, Section H.
40 Callimachus (b. about 305 b. c.; d. about 240 b. c.) was appointed as cataloger of the Royal Library in Alexandria by King Ptolemy Philadelphus of Egypt. He was also an accomplished poet and scholar. One important poem was the "Aetia" (or "Causes," written about 270 b. c.), explaining the legendary origin of obscure customs, festivals, and names.
41 Spengler's footnote at this point remarks that such closing "was ordered no less than four times in the decade 58-49." That decade was just prior to the three year war begun by Julius Cęsar which ended with his military, political, and economic conquest of the entire Roman Empire.
42 One might very well argue that Astrology is, today, a fashion, in that the newspapers and other media outlets present it as entertainment.
43 More recently, we have the Indian gurus, including the Maharishi Yogi, who led the Beatles down a path towards filling his coffers with gold.
44 From my viewpoint, roughly three generations later, it appears to me to be here, and it also appears to me to be fostering the movement (currently known as "The Christian Coalition") which has the best potential for producing the Cęsar-figure of our future.
45 Spengler's footnote at this point states: "It is perhaps possible for us to make some guess already as to these forms, which . . . must lead back to certain elements of Gothic Christianity. But be this as it may, what is quite certain is that they will not be the product of any literary taste for Late-Indian or Late-Chinese speculation, but something of the type, for example, of Adventism and suchlike sects." Yes, indeed. And "Born-Again Christianity" fits this description to a tee.
46 In particular, Darwinism is under continued attack from "Born-Again Christians" and their fellow travelers. This is also properly part of an anti-scientific movement in the population at large, which is yet another trend which tends to confirm the overall thesis.
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