From liberalism to eternity
I was listening to Obama speaking during the Kennedy funeral. Said Obama, “Ted is now back with his brothers in eternity in the care of God.”
Consider these words carefully. Obama did the following:
1. Affirmed the existence of God (isn’t that a little above his pay grade)?
2. Affirmed the existence of the afterlife.
3. Affirmed the existence of eternity.
4. Affirmed the resurrection of the soul.
5. Denied the validity of the Darwinian world-view.
Now either Obama was being hypocritical because he really doesn’t believe what he said, or his statements reflected his deepest (subconscious) beliefs.
I have never heard Darwin intoned at any funeral, it is always God. In that case God comes out the winner and Darwin the loser. I have never heard a eulogy that says, “Our beloved has reached the end of the evolutionary process and now his cells are in the care of the process of random selection.” [LA replies: but how many atheists’ funerals have you been to? I’ll bet that committed atheists do have things like this said at their funeral.]
Obama affirmed the resurrection of the dead in his eulogy for Ted Kennedy. How does a Darwinian explain the resurrection of the dead? If Obama publicly stipulates that the resurrection of the dead happens, he is rejecting the theory of Darwinian evolution that precludes and cannot account for the resurrection of the soul. [LA replies: But when has Obama ever said he believes in Darwinism?]
One way or another this country must either accept Darwinian evolution whole heartedly (and quit intoning God and the soul) or reject Darwinism because God is a very real part of our public ceremonies.
If the end of our road is the care of our souls eternally in the hands of God (as Obama affirmed), then there is a very real teleology to our birth and death.
“One way or another this country must either accept Darwinian evolution whole heartedly (and quit intoning God and the soul) or reject Darwinism because God is a very real part of our public ceremonies.”
I’m not sure it has to make such a choice. Because what you’re describing as an unsustainable contradiction in fact perfectly fits Fr. Seraphim Rose’s description of Liberalism, the first stage of the four stages of Nihilism.
Liberal society, Rose says,
may be principally characterized by its attitude to truth. This is not an attitude of open hostility nor even of deliberate unconcern, for its sincere apologists undeniably have a genuine regard for what they consider to be truth; rather, it is an attitude in which truth, despite certain appearances, no longer occupies the center of attention. The truth in which it professes to believe (apart of course, from scientific fact) is, for it, no spiritual or intellectual coin of current circulation, but idle and unfruitful capital left over from a previous age. The Liberal still speaks, at least on formal occasions, of “eternal verities,” of “faith,” of “human dignity,” of man’s “high calling” or his “unquenchable spirit,” even of “Christian civilization”; but it is quite clear that these words no longer mean what they once meant. No Liberal takes them with entire seriousness; they are in fact metaphors, ornaments of language that are meant to evoke an emotional, not an intellectual, response—a response largely conditioned by long usage, with the attendant memory of a time when such words actually had a positive and serious meaning.
Thus, in Liberal society, when things really matter, like the time of a person’s death, there is a need, automatically understood by everyone, to invoke those higher or eternal truths which the liberals themselves don’t really believe in any more, and certainly wouldn’t defend intellectually when attacked, but which are felt to be emotionally required by the gravity of the occasion.
No one today who prides himself on his “sophistication”—that is to say, very few in academic institutions, in government, in science, in humanist intellectual circles, no one who wishes or professes to be abreast of the “times”—does or can fully believe in absolute truth, or more particularly in Christian Truth. Yet the name of truth has been retained, as have been the names of those truths men once regarded as absolute, and few in any position of authority or influence would hesitate to use them, even when they are aware that their meanings have changed. Truth, in a word, has been “reinterpreted”; the old forms have been emptied and given a new, quasi-Nihilist content.
Also, that is funny what you said about Obama invoking God, after declaring during the primaries that matters of ultimate truth are beyond his pay grade.
Ben W. writes:
I didn’t mean to imply that Obama believes in Darwinism—the real thought behind my statement is that whatever Obama believes, he made statements that by implication rejected Darwinism (he probably doesn’t realize the significance of his statements since they are probably a rhetorical exercise for him for ceremonial ends). However he did make a statement about ultimate ends.
Since he affirmed that Ted is now together with his brothers JFK and RFK in eternity in the hands of God, we have a president who whether he likes it or not has denied Darwinism. Now I’m sure that if pressed, and asked just exactly where JFK and RFK are, he would say, “I don’t know.” But in an intimate, public moment he said he DID know where they were. Perhaps that was just a public display of sentiment and diplomatic gesture, but the fact is that he affirmed the ultimate objective of human beings.
I have attended funerals of atheists (two) and neither of their families characterized the dead as collections of cells managed by the process of natural selection. There is nothing poetic about Darwinism to enlighten a ceremony. In fact the funeral services were quite parasitic borrowing elements from religious ceremonies. They replaced the hope of spiritual eternity with the promise of eternal memory.
“Perhaps that was just a public display of sentiment and diplomatic gesture, but the fact is that he affirmed the ultimate objective of human beings.”
Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 29, 2009 02:30 PM | Send