It took me a while before I realized the words of Hozier’s famous song Take me to church.
Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life
If I’m a pagan of the good times
My lover’s the sunlight
To keep the Goddess on my side
She demands a sacrifice
There is no sweeter innocence than our gentle sin
In the madness and soil of that sad earthly scene
Only then I am human
Only then I am clean
This is a concise expression of what I call atheist religion. The reversal of Christian values is cunning. Truth is replaced by a shrine of lies. The protagonist doesn’t want to be saved or forgiven but sacrificed (doesn’t identify with Abraham but with Isaac). He wants a deathless death, not the lifeless life of heavenly bliss.
Of course the value of innocence and sin is also reversed, and the common metaphor of angelic cleanliness is now applied to the soild of that sad earthly scene.
This is informed paganism, executed in a precise way as a clean reversal of the standard Christian story, and in that dialectical way it is of course itself profoundly Christian.
Here is that wonderful clip with ballet dancer Sergej Polunin:
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