What is wrong with man?
M. Mason (June 16):
I just came upon a comment by you from October 2007, in the entry, “The unreformable Islamitude of Muslims, and why Melanie Phillips doesn’t get it.” It is superb. In particular, your definition of the religion of man, bolded below, really hit me. I often speak of the religion of man and define it as making a god of man; but I think this definition is better.
… her liberal belief in what might be called the Religion of Man (i.e., faith in man and belief in the perfectibility of man apart from the grace of God and regeneration in Christ), a religion whose conceptual origin can be traced all the way back to Nimrod, and which under its various aliases today cuts across all denominational and even philosophical lines, and is now the de facto religion of the West.
Here is your entire comment:
M. Mason writes:
This is an excellent analysis. I will simply add here that all people—even atheists—have faith in something, and Melanie Phillips is no different. Therefore, it’s important to define what she does believe in to understand why she will not openly and strongly advocate for the removal of Muslims from Britain.. So let me restate your point from a somewhat different angle with a bit of further clarification. When you said that “the reason [Phillips] doesn’t get it is that she doesn’t get religion’, I believe it would be more accurate to say there (as, in fact, you later pointed out) that she doesn’t get it because she doesn’t understand—and apparently doesn’t want to understand—the imperatives of literal, fundamentalist religion.
Readers misunderstand Phillips if they think of her merely as a writer existing in some sort of detached, neutral or uncommitted state herself with regard to religion. Whatever her nominal religious affiliation or lack thereof, it is clear that her writing is animated by a set of deeply-held personal beliefs. In that sense, she has her own religion, all right—the question is: what is it? In the final analysis, it is her liberal belief in what might be called the Religion of Man (i.e., faith in man and belief in the perfectibility of man apart from the grace of God and regeneration in Christ), a religion whose conceptual origin can be traced all the way back to Nimrod, and which under its various aliases today cuts across all denominational and even philosophical lines, and is now the de facto religion of the West.
The reason why Phillips still clings to the fictitious construct of an extremist “Islamism” and condemns it as a “moral sin” [LA notes: “moral sin” was my way of characterizing Phillips’s view of Islamic extremism, she herself didn’t use those words] in such passionate terms, yet at the same time cannot bring herself to call for the expulsion of Muslims from her country is because both those things violate crucial tenets of that Faith. She is committed to the dialectic of the Religion of Man (regardless of whether she would call it that or not), and must therefore continue to believe in the possibility of humanistic reform of Islam itself into a more acceptable, syncretized form that can be integrated into the existing liberal order. This same commitment is also the explanation for President Bush’s spiritual blindness (rooted in his aberrant Methodist theology) that made him vulnerable to the deception that Islam is somehow similar to Judaism and Christianity—a “religion of peace” and “a noble faith” as he called it—while he continues to pursue a misguided concept of “freedom” as a universal value with missionary zeal to Muslim lands in his foreign policy.
Faith-based humanists like Bush, Phillips and multitudes of others like them today either see no real distinction between foundational religious texts or they don’t care. For them, the Bible and the Qur’an are incidental matters, open to interpretation and represent neither absolute truth nor absolute falsehood. They are merely bridges to a broader universal understanding of the diverse and colorful mosaic that makes up the ecumenical Global Family. That is their faith. But the true nature of things is distorted through the lens of this illusory, humanistic world-view, and particularly so when it comes to the followers of Mohammed. Even now, despite 1,400 years of Muslim history and the mounting, manifest evidence confronting them daily, these people still can’t seem to figure out which Islam is the true Islam. Yet in classic, irrational postmodern style, they continue in the delusional belief that the Islam they hope for will be the Islam they get.
[end of Mason comment from 2007, end of LA e-mail]
M. Mason replies:
I missed this email from you of two days ago; thanks for your kind remarks. You wrote (also quoting me):
- end of initial entry -
the Religion of Man (i.e., faith in man and belief in the perfectibility of man apart from the grace of God and regeneration in Christ)…
It is my belief that one of the most disastrous results of liberalism’s rebellion against God—and particularly of evolutionary theory as applied to man—is that it has led to an entirely false conception of what man’s true nature is. In the liberal schema, he is optimistically viewed as a being of almost limitless potential for good (at least as liberalism defines “good”). Though his “bad” actions are seen as something unfortunate, those are essentially due, it is claimed, to an outward lack of one kind or another and merely a temporary set-back that he will eventually grow out of if only what is lacking is provided.
But if the biblical account of man as a divinely-created being who fell from his original high estate into a chronic condition of sin (i.e. an acquired moral disease inherited by all men) is true, then his propensity for evil is due to another First Cause which is far, far worse than the liberal humanist imagines. Something has gone dreadfully wrong within man, something spiritually disruptive got in at the deepest root of his nature from the beginning and from which there is no possibility whatsoever of self-recovery.
This is precisely what the liberal humanist denies and is in rebellion against, the very sense of absolute finality about God’s verdict in the matter is offensive to him. And this is where the battle line is drawn against Christian conservatives when it comes to answering the question “What is wrong with man?” and in formulating an adequate system of government to manage the problem.
Ben W. writes:
With respect to M. Mason’s assessment of Melanie Phillips, I think we may have to consider every form of human activity these days—film making, journalistic writing, scientific inquiry, political administration, etc.—as a war against God. Every aspect of these disciplines works to destroy the Judeo-Christian ethic and world-view. That is why the apostle John said that love of the world is enmity with God (1 John 2:15). Sounds extreme but almost every act I read about these days is one way or another a nail in God’s coffin (so to speak).
One cannot be neutral about God. Neutrality about God or disbelief in God will produce an anti-God culture in all of its acts and expressions. Every breath of that culture will be an act of war against God. If as Paul said, “we move and have our being in God,” then any movement outside him will be a form of antagonism towards him.
Even science by trying to formulate non-theistic laws and principles will violate the order of the universe by factoring God out. He is the essential principle and fundamental particle. As Paul says, he through Christ holds the universe together. So even Christ is a formal aspect of physical law. As you have shown, science is becoming a foolish discipline these days breathlessly announcing idiotic findings. That shows how science has started to panic because its findings have come up short of its claims. Starting of as theistic (Newton), science becomes vaguely non-theistic (Darwin) and ultimately atheistic (Dawkins and Stenger). It has enlisted and joined in the war against God.
No wonder Obama refused to join in the National Day of Prayer. I shudder to think what will become of the US since this country has crossed the line in so many ways to war against God. Why would he bless this country any further? Even so-called conservatives refuse to speak of him…
It’s one thing to say that if the prevailing culture of a society is anti-God, then every particular activity in that society will tend to be anti-God. I agree with that.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 20, 2009 04:19 PM | Send
It’s another thing to say that every aspect and activity of society must be following God, or else it is anti-God. That is a recipe for a Christian theocracy.
However, while I’m against the idea, I will admit the possibility that the West is so desperately askew now, that only a Christian theocracy could save it. Theocracy has not been the rule in the Christian West. But there have been times when there was type of a theocracy—under the Carolingians, for example. And it’s questionable whether the Carolingian polity could have achieved what it did had it not been a theocracy.