What happens to a society when it turns away from Christianity—and, worse, when it fiercely rejects Christianity?

Kristor advises us that Thomas Bertonneau “has just posted a brilliant essay about Voegelin at The Orthosphere.” Here is a key passage from the end of the essay:

When a society disavows the Gospel and goes boldly to its Post-Christian phase, it must find another morality than the Christian one to guide its organization. The only other morality being the Pre-Biblical, the sacrificial morality, the “new” principle will in fact be the old one of responding to crises by fomenting mobs and expelling or immolating scapegoat-victims. Contemporary mobs tell us precisely who they are—echoing the exculpatory claim of those who joined together to murder Jesus—when they boast of representing, or indeed of being, the “ninety-nine per cent,” whose utopia will appear when the scandal of the wicked, well-poisoning one per cent at last goes into liquidation. Voegelin rightly argues that the ideologies, including liberalism, resemble the ancient religions. Girard rightly argues that the ancient religions were invariably sacrificial.

Mr. Bertonneau’s idea of a reversion to the pre-Christian world and its sacrificial cults, including human sacrifice, reminds me of this, from W.B. Yeats’s great poem, “Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen”:

So the Platonic Year
Whirls out new right and wrong,
Whirls in the old instead;
All men are dancers and their tread
Goes to the barbarous clangour of a gong.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 07, 2012 10:20 PM | Send

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