III. Restoration Of The Culture

      I’m generally not (i.e. never) one to see the devil lurking behind every corner, animating every bad act, and tempting every soul. However, I can’t help but ask a few questions about the devil’s involvement in human history, specifically during the period known as the Enlightenment, and its atheistic anarchistic aftermath.  We can all agree that the father of lies and original revolutionary cannot win many converts by revealing himself as he really is, and that he must and does so by alternatively portraying evil as good and good as evil, or by convincing us that he doesn’t even exist.  Scriptures tell us that he fell because of pride and rebellion (Ezekiel 28:17; Isaiah 14:12-15), and now disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).  His given name “Lucifer” even means “light-bearer”. So what on earth does this have to do with a period in history, a revolution against God and His Church that out of unbridled pride called itself “the Enlightenment” and dubbed the age of faith before it the “Dark Ages”? Am I suggesting that the angel of light, the lying Light Bearer had anything to do with “enlightening” these prideful, immoral, malformed, anti-God free-thinkers, who sought to start a revolution to overthrow Christianity, it’s theology, morality, culture, philosophy, tradition and authority, in order to remake the world in a man’s sinful, fallen, image, where man would be like gods deciding for himself what is good and what is evil (Genesis 3:5)? That would be ridiculous. Just because the devil has been fighting an eternal war against God, and us, the seed of the woman, “who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17). Just because he was the first revolutionary, trying to elevate himself to be “like the Most High” and has been purveying this big lie to humanity, since Eden and Babel, and fomenting revolutions against the Catholic Church, established authority, and Christian culture ever since. Just because he obfuscates and inverts the whole light darkness, good evil thing, demonizing the good and elevating the evil, and filling man with the false, vain thought that if he simply, but violently tears down the very foundations of Christendom, that he can create a better society without God and religion. Just because the devil was the single greatest beneficiary of secular humanist thought, in terms of poisoning minds, hearts, and souls, along with the entire once-Christian culture, enslaving millions of souls and dragging them down to hell, doesn’t mean he had anything to do with it – it just could be a coincidence.

        So who do you trust? Who would you follow? Who is best equipped to create and maintain a just society? On the one hand we have some of the secular enlightenment thinkers. People with seemingly dimly lit consciences, and dubious moral compasses. People with a disdain and often hatred for the objective truth, for objective beauty, for objective goodness. People whose twisted theology vacillated between pantheism and mantheism. Mental contortionists who didn’t do, but merely criticized and deconstructed all those who did and created the greatest civilization the world had ever seen. People whose pride and arrogance knew no bounds, believing even that they, not Christ, His Church, and the accumulated wisdom of the ages, knew best and their untested, godless theories should be the basis and foundation in creating a perfect utopia on earth.

      I’m also not suggesting (actually this time I’m really not suggesting it) that all of the thinkers, historians, and philosophers of the so-called Enlightenment were anti-God, anti-religion, and anti-tradition, for many were seemingly sincere Christians, whose desire was not to violently overthrow Christendom and severely damage Christianity. I’m also not implying (again, truly not implying) that every fruit of the Enlightenment, was rotten. Yet, as often happens, especially in the absence of a counterbalance like the Church, once the proverbial genie, here the prideful spirit of revolution, was let out of the bottle, it became impossible to control, let alone put back. Christopher Dawson noted "The liberal movement in the wider sense transformed the world by an immense liberation of human energies, but liberalism in the narrower sense proved incapable of guiding the forces it had released." It’s the sad, familiar story of our decline as a civilization. Call it gradualism, desensitization, inertia of evil, the exception becoming the rule, or allowing the camel to get its nose under the tent, except that instead of the camel it’s immorality, hubris, revolution, and instead of the tent, it’s our Christian civilization.  Regardless of how unartfully it’s described, we all can see and agree that becoming a relativistic culture that fails to hold on to its truths, that tolerates, changes, and compromises its principles thereby allowing the exception, that gives the small, immoral minority a foothold, which, in time, the loophole becomes the norm, the deviant becomes normalized, as the culture becomes desensitized, beaten down, and demonized for its intolerance. Without the foundations of our faith and reason, without the overarching moral authority of the Church boldly and zealously speaking the truth, the worldly spirit of the age will continue to spread her errors across the globe. 


      Face it, these people were philosophers. Would you trust your civilization, your family, your eternal soul to some secular philosopher today? You know the nerdy, balding, overweight, middle- aged man (or woman) with an unkempt beard, coffee breath and a sweater vest that’s just a bit too tight, spouting out non-conformist, nonsense in an attempt to impress young impressionable co-eds. No offense (too late?), but how many of these people would be gainfully employed outside of academia? Does anyone even listen to philosophers anymore? And how valuable is a degree in Philosophy these days. Who would follow a philosopher today who claimed he could build a perfect utopian society by rejecting our history, traditions, culture, religion, our entire Christian civilization, because he has some unproven, secular, neo-gnostic theory that makes sense only in the unhallowed halls of academia.  They couldn’t even plan a tolerable party in the Philosophy Department to celebrate Nietzsche’s birthday, and somehow we’re supposed to believe they have a plan for the deconstruction and re-formation of the entire world. Really?

      Yet that is exactly what happened a few hundred years ago, not all at once, but over time, gradually spreading like a virus, weakening our defenses, making our culture a feeble shell of its former vibrant, creative self. I don't know about

you but I’d rather put all my chips behind Christ, His Church, the great saints and martyrs, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, the holiest, wisest, most-inspired men and women who actually formed, built and sustained a great civilization (not a theory) upon Scriptures and Tradition, revelation and reason, theology and philosophy. Remember we’re the ones with the great, proven track record, and they’re the ones, intentionally or unwittingly, who have unleashed a spirit of rebellion across the former Christendom, rejecting the known truths, starving the soul through socialism and resulting in the decay and decline of a civilization which Pope Francis recently likened to an old infertile granny. Until some Enlightenment Aquinas produces a secular Summa Theologica, I’m placing all my trust in God and the Church He protects. The sad fact is whatever the underlying cause, and wherever to place the blame, we as a people drastically altered the trajectory of our great Western Christian Civilization, rejecting the Truth and severing her Catholic roots providing the lifeblood to a culture enabling her to experience a complete human flourishing (in heart, mind and soul) never before or since seen, because of the sheer suppositions of secular humanists. Shame on us.

      We rejected not only the Truth, but the Way and the Life as well. Two troubling aspects, in the area of religion at least, that have resulted from the Enlightenment: a decline in religious belief and practice, and an increase of faith in man’s ability and capacity to act without God. This second aspect is more troubling and had at least some effect on the first. Yet what we see, now a few hundred years later, is that man is coming to realize that in every arena, this human-directed activity, untethered to God and Faith, has made the world far worse. Providentially, in response to this realization, this pessimistic view of a worse, immoral, nihilistic, utilitarian, disordered, and divided society, many people are returning to God, in the hope of a restoration of morality, the family, tradition, that can only be established by a divine authority. The time is now to reclaim our great Christian heritage, our great works of art, music, literature, architecture, the accumulated wisdom, common sense, reason, our faith, our customs, morality, traditions, and culture, the timeless treasures of Christianity, and restore all things in Christ.  


The Enlightenment: Enlightened By Whom?